Stolen and smuggled part of sarcophagus to be repatriated in Greece after 30 years

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Stolen and smuggled part of sarcophagus to be repatriated in Greece after 30 yearsManhattan DA returns the fragment which dates back to 200 A.D. and was stolen and smuggled from Thessaloniki in 1988

A part of a marble sarcophagus that was stolen in 1988 and was found and confiscated from a gallery in Manhattan, New York, where it was displayed will return to Greece, the District Attorney’s office announced on Friday.

The sarcophagus dates back to 200 AD and depicts a battle between Greek and Trojan fighters and it was smuggled abroad and transported through Europe before finally ending up in New York.

The official repatriation ceremony as well as the relevant protocol took place in the office of District Attorney of Manhattan Cyrus Vance Junior.

"Often smuggled antiquities acquire a facade of legality over the years or the change of ownership" noted Vance stressing that "Galleries, auction houses and collectors should be on alert because my office and my associates are closely monitoring the catalogues and the sale of objects of suspicious origin". 

Sadly, in the past, our country has suffered from cruel and continued smuggling of its antique artifacts, and even to this day, a very important part of our heritage remains scattered throughout the world,” consul general of Greece Dr. Konstantinos Koutras added.

The DA’s office went into a gallery in Midtown Manhattan and seized the fragment - whicht was on display as a centerpiece - while, according to reports, once presented with evidence that it had been stolen, the Manhattan-based gallery handed the item over willingly.

According to cbslocal.com, the Manhattan DA’s office has recovered and returned several ancient artifacts as part of criminal investigations and prosecutions as follows:

  • In August 2014, five coins dating as far back as 515 B.C. were returned to Greece after coin collector Arnold Peter Weiss was charged with and later convicted of attempted criminal prosecution of stolen property, the DA’s office said. He had several coins he believed had been stolen dekadrachma and tetradrachma from the Sicilian cities of Agrigento and Catania.
  • In April 2016, a 2nd century Buddhist sculpture worth more than $1 million was returned to Pakistan after the investigation and prosecution of Tatsuzo Kaku, who had been selling stolen antiquities smuggled from South Asia.
  • In May and June 2016, two bronze statues and four carved artifacts dating to the 10th and 11th centuries A.D., valued at several million dollars, were returned to India as part of a series of seizures of stolen antiquities.

The marble sarcophagus fragment  will be displayed for public view and research at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

 

 

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