From the Daily Mail, it seems Italian police have recovered 12 marble reliefs depicting Roman gladiators. USA Today picks up an AP story as well, available here. The panels were discovered buried in a garden near Fiano Romano. The reliefs, made of Carrara marble, are thought to date to the 1st century BC. The images are stunning, as David Nishimura rightly points out. Officials say the pieces will be studied, restored, and then displayed at the Villa Giulia in Rome.
The Prosecutor, Paolo Ferri, says individuals have been charged, but their names have not been released. One thing I would like to know is, what archaeological context was destroyed in the process of removing this from the decorated tomb? How will the raiders be punished? I wonder as well, why the investigation took three years. That’s a very long time; I imagine they were waiting to catch the raiders trying to sell the pieces to a dealer or international buyer.
(Image by Plinio Lepri, AP)