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Sarcophagus from Aquino

Source: Omniroma
I am grateful to Livius (of the History Blog) for seeking clarification of the link between Robert Hecht and the recovered sarcophagus stolen from the church at Aquino.

Antonino Grincia, the mayor of Aquino, reported on the discovery in mid-November 2011 ("Sarcofago romano rubato ad Aquino e trafugato all’estero, ritrovato dalla Guardia di Finanza", Il Punto November 14, 2011). He did not disclose the details but said:
Mi era stato chiesto di mantenere il riserbo ancora per un pò data la delicatezza della fase di recupero ancora in corso, ... ma dato il momento particolarmente adatto, e dato anche che il sarcofago è ormai recuperato anche se non ancora in Italia perché il ritrovamento è avvenuto all’estero, ho ritenuto opportuno annunciarlo in questa occasione.
Robert Hecht's trial in Rome expired in January 2012, and he died in February 2012.

A press release about the sarcophagus was released in July ("Torna in Italia il sarcofago delle quadrighe; capolavoro romano recuperato da GDF, era in lista dei ricercati", ANSA July 19, 2012). It reviewed the theft of the sarcophagus in September 1991. The report noted that the presence of the sarcophagus in London had been identified in the summer of 2011 ("avvenuto l'estate scorsa a Londra"). It appears that Hecht had negotiated to return several objects, including the sarcophagus ("Hecht aveva cominciato a trattare per la restituzione di alcune delle opere in suo possesso, tra cui il sarcofago"). Hecht was also reported to have purchased the sarcophagus in 1991 ("Pare che il collezionista l'avesse comprato, proprio nel '91, pagandolo oltre un miliardo di lire"). The final phase of negotiations continued between the Italian authorities and Hecht's executor (who delivered the sarcophagus to the Italian embassy).

This report suggests that more ex-Hecht material will be handed over to the Italian authorities in due course.

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