Antiquities Seized in Macedonia

The AP is reporting on a seizure of “dozens” of antiquities yesterday in Macedonia:

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — Authorities have seized dozens of stolen ancient artifacts after raiding the homes of two suspected antiquities smugglers in southern Macedonia.

Police confiscated about 70 archaeological items, including coins, terracotta figurines, pieces of silver and bronze jewelry and amphora dating from the Hellenistic and Roman periods in the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C., police spokesman Ivo Kotevski said Wednesday.

They are believed to have been stolen from Isar, one of Macedonia’s largest archaeological sites in the south…

Macedonia has some 6,000 registered archaeological sites. Experts warn that since the country gained independence from Yugoslavia 17 years ago, the antiquities have become increasingly vulnerable to looters who use sophisticated navigation and excavating equipment.

I think the interesting aspect may be the difficulty the new Macedonian republic has had policing its archaeological sites. These former Yugoslav republics have had to dramatically ramp up their heritage protection after their independence. One wonders perhaps if they might begin to make calls for repatriation of objects?

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