Friday 17 February 2012

Museum at Olympia Robbed in Daring Raid

The news that is guaranteed to send US antiquities dealers into paroxysms of delighted 'gottcha' - excitement is that about 7:30 this morning, the Museum of the History of the Olympic Games in Ancient Olympia (a UNESCO World Heritage site) in southern Greece was robbed. Two (?) masked artefact thieves armed with Kalashnikovs and reportedly speaking "broken Greek" ambushed and overpowered a 48-year old female museum guard starting her morning shift having previously knocked out the alarm. The criminals demanded that she tell them where the "golden wreath" (the museum has no such object) was kept. Before she had time to summon help, the intruders tied her up and gagged her and then set about smashing the reinforced glass fronts of selected cases with a hammer and stole dozens of items on display. The robbers are believed to have escaped in a car driven by an accomplice. It is reported that an inventory of the missing items was not yet available, but local authorities and police said about 68 bronze and pottery artefacts are estimated to have snatched, they were apparently mainly figurines, but the thieves also took a gold seal ring dating to Late Bronze Age Mycenaean times. Greek state television has reported that culture minister Pavlos Geroulanos immediately tendered his resignation after learning of the robbery and was at the scene soon afterwards. Police have set up roadblocks in an attempt to prevent the thieves leaving the area.

Associated Press
Daily Mail (updated)
Al Jazeera
New Europe
Savvas Hadjigeorgiou, 'Thieves Break Into Ancient Olympia Museum In Greece', CyprusNewsReport 17/02/2012.


Photos: Objects from the Museum, some of which may have been among those taken. Aerial view of site of robbery from the BBC.


kyri said...

sad sad news,its true that greeks have gone treasure hunting mad over the last year.i read somewhere that over 3000 metal detectors have been sold in greece over the last few years and there have been a growing number of people being caught looking for antiquities[i even read an article in the greek press about a preist in thesalonika diging up the church grounds as he heard the church was built over an ancient temple]
paul things are realy bad in greece at the moment.the press over hear dont show anything of the hardships the ordinary greek on the street is suffering.i get greek tv satelight in my home and on the news all i see are hundreds of soup kitchens popping up in evey town and city,the last time i saw scenes like these in greece was in old black and white newsreels of the 20s-30s.the greek people are proud and they must be desperate to practicaly beg for food handouts.the church is doing all it can to feed the poor,we have billions for the bankers but it is the poor who are paying the price for the bankers actions.
your right about certain people being happy about the situation in greece,the usual suspects are posting thing i find strange is one article i read said "according to the fbi the antiquities trade is worth more than $6 billion",i think that is a bit of an exageration.
i can see more things like this happening im afraid.

Paul Barford said...

Yes, I know things are bad in Greece and that's why it disgusts me that these dealers and collectors who claim they "care about the past" are gladly spitting in the face of the Greek people (draft post about this will go up tomorrow) instead of rallying their fellow history lovers to try and HELP. All take and no give.

SAFE has its 'causes', ACCG has what?

For what it is worth, I suspect it will turn out that the criminals in this case were not Greeks, but from a neighbouring Balkan organized crime group. There was a post about the "Serbian connection" a while back. At present I see this in that context.

kyri said...

richard ellis says that the serbian mafia are at the forefront of most antiquities/art smuggling at the moment.they use art as a sort of currency.serbia,being in the heart of the balkans is certainly well placed for it.

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.