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Stolen Νeolithic artifacts returned back home October 30, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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A collection of 94 Neolithic-era artifacts that had been stolen from the central Greek city of Larissa in 1985 have been returned to Greece, the Culture Ministry announced on Tuesday.

neolithic_artifacts1.jpg  The heads of Neolithic figurines dating back more than 7,000 years. The artifacts are part of a stolen collection of 94 Neolithic works returned to Greece from Germany. Archaeologists said the “expressive” figurines may have been modeled on real people.

neolithic_artifacts2.jpg  The antiquities have been temporarily stored at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens while awaiting transfer to the Archaeological Museum of Larissa. The archaeological treasure was stolen 22 years earlier during an armed robbery at the house of collector Constantinos Theodoropoulos in Larissa and was then sold to a Museum in Munich. They include stone and clay seals, stone tools and vials and some 63 marble and clay figurines. According to the National Museum’s curator, these last stand out because depictions of the human form “were special in the Neolithic era”.

Commenting on the return, Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis stressed that dealing with theft and the illegal trade in antiquities remained at the centre of the Culture Ministry’s policies and said he was satisfied with the outcome in this specific case.

The Minister also read out a message from his predecessor George Voulgarakis, who was unable to attend the ceremony for the handover of the antiquities. “An effort that had remained outstanding for about 20 years has been completed and brought to the surface a huge political issue: the inefficiency that exists in public affairs when there is no continuity in the state and its functionaries” Voulgarakis’ statement stressed.

Liapis particularly concurred with a statement by Voulgarakis that “Greek successes in the area of stamping out antiquities smuggling create and reinforce a new climate in Greece and abroad for a new approach to the great moral problem of illegal trade in cultural treasures”.

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