Man with metal detector and digging tools arrested for illegal excavation in ancient Greek site of Amphipolis

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Man with metal detector and digging tools arrested for illegal excavation in ancient Greek site of Amphipolis10 bronze coins going back to the 4th century BC until the early 19th century, two other bronze items, as well as 15 lead objects were found in his possession. Photo Source: Greek police

 A 68-year-old man was found with a metal detector and digging tools in his hand and has been arrested for illegal excavations in the archaeological site of Amphipolis in northern Greece.

 In his possession in his car, as well as in his two homes in the cities of Serres and Thessaloniki, valuable ancient objects were found, according to a police press statement.

Archaeologists of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Serres identified 10 bronze coins going back to the 4th century BC until the early 19th century, two other bronze items, as well as 15 lead objects.

They have been all confiscated along with two metal detectors and digging tools, while the suspect was charged with violation of the law on the protection of antiquities and cultural heritage.

The first remains of the ancient city of Amphipolis where Alexander the Great, a king of an ancient Greek kingdom, prepared for his campaigns to the East, were discovered in the 19th century.

In 2014, Greek archaeologists discovered remains of five persons and impressive marble sculptures, mosaics, and drawings dating back to the 4th century BC inside a big tomb at a hill in Amphipolis.

Greek experts said that the monument was most likely built for a high-ranking official close to Alexander the Great. The identity of the tomb's occupants remains a mystery, but archaeologists found clues showing that the tomb had been looted several centuries ago.

The Abduction of Persephone by Pluto, unearthed in Amphipolis, Greece Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons License: CC-BY-SA Copyright: Yann

The area in Serres is known to hold a wealth of archaeological treasures and the site, which contains the renowned Kasta Hill Tomb, was an ancient Greek city in Macedonia. Located on the Strymon (Strimón) River, it is about three miles away from the Aegean Sea.

From antiquity a strategic transportation center, Amphipolis controlled the bridge over the Strymon and the route from northern Greece to the Hellespont, including the western approach to the timber, gold, and silver of Mount Pangaeum in Thrace.

The Lion of Amphipolis, in northern Greece Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons License: CC-BY-SA Copyright: Jean Housen

Originally a Thracian town called Ennea Hodoi, or “Nine Roads”), it was colonized by Athens in 437–436 BC but it actually remained independent, despite Athenian attempts to regain control in 416 and 368–365.

Philip II of Macedonia occupied Amphipolis in 357 BC, and it remained under Macedonian control until 168 when Rome made it a free city and the headquarters of the Roman governor of Macedonia.

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