Martedì, 23 Ottobre 2018

Police recover stolen ancient urns of 'exceptional value'


Rome, June 27 - A large number of beautifully
decorated Etruscan urns, more than 2,000 years old, have been
recovered by Italian police whose two-year investigation covered
the entire peninsula, authorities said Thursday.
At least 23 urns from the Hellenistic period, which ran
from the third to the first century BC, were recovered by
officers in a special culture branch of the Carabinieri military
The investigation also uncovered a new site for
archaeologists to excavate near the Umbria city of Perugia, in
central Italy.
Italy's minister of cultural heritage says the find will
contribute to a better understanding of the ancient Etruscans,
whose culture was swallowed up by the Romans.
"It is a recovery of exceptional value," perhaps the most
important in recent decades, Massimo Bray told a news conference
in Rome, where some of the recovered urns were displayed.
It is believed the urns were among as many as 3,000 pieces
stolen from a large subterranean burial ground known as a
Hypogeum belonging to the aristocratic Cacni family.
The Hypogeum is now being carefully explored.
Many of the urns are said to be intact and made from white
Umbrian travertine, partly decorated with high reliefs of battle
scenes and other ornaments.
Authorities say they believe construction workers stumbled
upon the ancient tomb as far back as a decade ago.
But they did not report the find, including the urns and
other archaeological pieces that were uncovered, so they could
sell these to unscrupulous collectors.
Police were tipped off when they caught a known dealer with
photos of the finds as well as a small white travertine carved
Police were also able to recover as many as seven ancient
urns that had already been sold in Perugia, and managed to
pinpoint the site of the discovery where archaeologists and
federal government researchers are now working.

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