Monday, March 1, 2010

Antiquities seized in northern Greece

There is a report in the Greek press that a number of antiquities have been seized in northern Greece (Costas Kantouris, "Greek police arrest 2 with valuable antiquities", AP February 28, 2010). The objects include a bronze statue of Alexander the Great (h. 65 cm), two male bronze heads (one of the Roman period), and two rare copies of the Quran.

The items were handled by a businessman from Thessaloniki and a farmer. The pair were apprehended near Kavala and the objects were found in the boot of their car.

Police sources in Thessaloniki stated that the suspects had been trying to sell the objects for about one year. They were seeking 7 million Euros (US$ 9.5 million) for the Alexander and 4-6 million Euros (US$ 5.43-8.14 million) for the bronze head of a boy.

There is a suggestion, perhaps influenced by the presence of the copies of the Quran, that the haul was smuggled over the frontier from Turkey. However it seems likely that the original contexts for these items will have been lost.

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