Greek police recover 'priceless' statue
|Greek police arrested two men after they allegedly tried to sell a 2,500-year-old statue for 500,000 euros, officials said Wednesday, describing the nearly intact find as "priceless" [Credit: Associated Press]|
Although dozens of examples of the kore statue and its male equivalent, the kouros, are displayed in Greek and foreign museums, the type is considered very important in the development and understanding of Greek art. New discoveries in good condition are uncommon.
Archaeologists who inspected the find estimated its market value at €12 million ($16 million), a police official said.
“They told us that this is a unique piece,” the official said on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak to the media since the investigation is still ongoing.
Still bearing traces of soil, the statue has the hint of a smile on its lips, elaborately braided hair and an ankle-length gown.
Police said it had been concealed in a goat pen near the village of Fyli, in the foothills of Mount Parnitha on the northwestern fringes of Athens. The 40-year-old goat herder and another Greek man aged 56 were arrested.
Detectives are seeking to determine where the statue was excavated, which could potentially lead archaeologists to a previously unknown 6th century BC sanctuary or cemetery.
The archaeological remains of civilizations stretching back thousands of years are spread all over Greece. By law, all antiquities are state property. But pillaging is a highly lucrative business.
The police official said the suspects arrested Tuesday had put out feelers to potential buyers in Greece, and “would have sold it for a relative pittance, €500,000, given its market value.”
In another major success two years ago, police in southern Greece recovered a pair of twin kouros statues, and arrested two suspected looters.
Dozens of illegally exported finds have been returned to Greece over the past few years, including masterpieces from the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
Author: Nicholas Paphitis | Source: Associated Press [March 28, 2012]
Labels Ancient, ArchaeoHeritage, Breakingnews, Europe, Greece, Heritage, More Stuff, Southern Europe