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Stolen statues returned to Albania February 9, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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Two ancient marble statues of Artemis and Apollo stolen from southern Albania in the ’90s were officially returned to Albania by the Greek state on Thursday, in a special ceremony held at the New Acropolis Museum. The two statues are to be returned to their natural environment in Butrint, southern Albania next week following an initiative by Greek Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis.

The marble statues had been found and confiscated by Greek authorities in 1997, when they were discovered in the hands of two private owners in Koropi, Attica. They were then handed over the Archaeological Museum of Piraeus, which traced their origins to the artifacts stolen from Butrint. The four-foot (1.2 metre) statues of a young male and a woman believed to be the ancient Greek hunt goddess Artemis.

09-02-08_statues.jpg The two ancient marble sculptures of Artemis(R) and Apollo

The statues were found in Koropi, a rural area a few kilometres south of Athens in the possession of two Greeks who were jailed in 2004. The presumed Artemis statue, which dates from the second century BCE, shows the goddess in mid-stride and probably carried an arrow quiver on its back, the ministry said in a statement. The male statue dates from the second century AD. 

Inhabited since prehistoric times, Butrint was a Greek colony, a Roman city and a Byzantine bishopric, and was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1992. The two statues both date to the 2nd century B.C. when Butrint was a Greek colony known as Bouthroton – which is still the Greek name for the southern Albanian town today. Both are missing their heads and both finds have been published, the female form in 1924, while the male form has a catalogue number from the Butrint Museum and has also been published.

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