Friday 6 April 2012

Bulgarian Police Bust Artefact Hunters

More disturbing news for artefact hunters and collectors:
The Sofia Police Directorate for Combatting Organized Crime related to historical valuables and their colleagues from the same unit in the Region of Sofia have busted yet another illegal treasure hunting group. Three men have been caught red-handed at the archeological and historical site “Kalo” near the village of Popoviyane and the town of Samokov. They were in the middle of conducting illegal digs. All three have criminal records for crimes other than illegal treasure hunting such as robberies, theft, and embezzlement. The search of their car yielded three metal detectors while one of the men had four antique [ancient] coins on him. Police have also raided their homes and found spare parts for metal detectors, maps, a notebook listing their illegal finds, and 14 antique coins. The three are being held behind bars for 24 hours. The investigation of the case is ongoing. 
The reader will member that US dealers insist that the coins they sell "never" come from the looting of archaeological sites (yet time and time again we are able to report cases from all over the ancient world which proves the converse - unless you believe that these men had done a deal with the coin fairies to hand over any they find so they can be spirited away to a magical crime-free never-never world). Let us also put this report alongside the calls of the same coin collecting milieu that instead of stopping US dealers and collectors buying smuggled coins, the Bulgarians should "regulate metal detecting". Here we see the Bulgarians not only "regulating" metal detector users, but arresting them for doing it.

How nice though ("a notebook listing their illegal finds") that the criminals were recording their activities, would this be for the museum authorities, or their organized crime paymasters so they know how to split the proceeds?

 'Bulgarian Police Bust Illegal Treasure Hunters',, April 6, 2012

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