Italy Recovers 1,700 Looted Antiquities

The AP is reporting that Italian authorities have uncovered a looting network which raided tombs outside Naples and Venice.  The objects were then illegally exported to market nations like the United States.

During more than a year of investigations, authorities recovered nearly 1,700 statues, vases and other artifacts dating from pre-Roman times to the heyday of the empire. Police flagged 19 people for possible investigation by prosecutors.  The artifacts were mainly dug out from tombs in the areas around Naples and Venice and included a bronze bust of the emperor Augustus, customs police in Rome said.  Part of the loot had been smuggled to the United States to be sold to collectors, they said.  The Italians said they worked with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in New Haven, Connecticut, to recover 47 ceramic and bronze statutes that had been looted from a tomb in southern Italy dating between the 6th and 5th centuries B.C.

  1. The Associated Press: Italian police recover hoard of looted artifacts, Associated Press, December 11, 2009.
Questions or Comments? Email me at derek.fincham@gmail.com

1 thought on “Italy Recovers 1,700 Looted Antiquities”

  1. Derek- Doesn’t this suggest US and Italian police forces have the ability to crack down on looting without recouse to import restrictions that require the importer to establish an artifact was outside of Italy as of 2001 for Classical Antiquities under the MOU with Italy? And doesn’t the existance of a licit market within Italy that has no internal “provenance requirement” also suggest that import restrictions do little more than penalize importers who want to do things “by the book?”

    Peter Tompa

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