Wednesday 24 February 2021

Roman legal document recovered in Madrid

Spanish police officers in Madrid have recovered a fragment of a Roman legal document that was spotted while monitoring the internet for stolen antiquities just as it was going to be auctioned  (Rare 2,000-year-old bronze Roman legal document recovered in Madrid Murcia 22/02/2021). It is the record of a decree by the Emperor Tiberius regulating soldiers’ and veterans’ privileges and funding, which was issued immediately after Caesar Augustus’ death.

Investigations began when officers learned that an important Roman item was to be auctioned in Madrid. Initial enquiries revealed that the archaeological piece had been acquired by the owners of an antiques shop in Seville. The shop owner didn’t have any paperwork to prove its legal provenance, and after further enquiries, investigators discovered that it had not been included in the archaeological assets inventory as established by the Historical Heritage Law. The bronze plaque is an important Roman legal document, as such items, of great legal, historical, and archaeological significance, are rarely found on the Spanish mainland. The piece has been confiscated and the Ministry of Culture’s General Office for the Protection of Historical Heritage has been asked to collaborate on studies of the plaque to determine the most suitable location for it.
The most suitable place for it was in the archaeological context in which it had lain for 2000 years before (no doubt) some artefact hunter dug it up.

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