Dutch Tourist Steals Pompeii Roof Tile …

… but it gets better: he intended to sell it on eBay to cover the cost of an iPhone.

According to the various reports, a sixteen-year-old Dutch tourist took a roof tile from a domus on the Via dell’Abbondanza but was spotted and turned in to authorities by another tourist. He was later arrested, charged with attempted theft,  and handed over to his angry mother. All reports also include variations on a ‘dealer’ quote:

“A simple terracotta tile actually has a very low value, we don’t even trade them,” Carole Elena, a dealer in Roman artefacts, told The Local.

“Being a tile from Pompeii, its provenance might have given it some extra value, but I’d say it’s worth a maximum of €400… but obviously items like this are priceless in terms of their historical value.”

For the record, as of today there seem to be two examples available on eBay … one is a fragment of a Roman Roof Tile, which is less than a Euro; there is another OLD ARAB OR ROMAN SPANISH TILE ROOF which doesn’t look Roman at all and which is priced over 1000 Euros (or best offer). In either case, it seems unlikely he would raise enough to pay for an iPhone.

As for the purloined tile, it was returned, but no one knows which domus the little idiot took it from…

Sources:

Treasure Hunters Blow Up Rock Cut Tomb in Olba

I’m a bit confused by this one from Hurriyet:

A 12,000-year-old tomb made of rock in the southern province of Mersin’s Silifke district has been blown up with dynamite by treasure hunters.

The assistant head of Olba archaeological excavations, Murat Özyıldırm said during a visit to the ancient city with his students on March 5, 2011, that he had found a dynamite mechanism in the tomb and saved the tomb by informing the gendarmerie. But treasure hunters finally succeeded in blowing up the tomb this time, after three years, on April 26. In the explosion, a large part of the tomb received great damage.

Gazi University Archaeology Department member and head of the Olba excavations, Professor Emel Erten said the Uzuncaburç gendarmerie station, which had been closed, should be reopened. She said they had been fighting against treasure hunters and have tried to make their voice heard with scientific publications, conferences and through the media.

“For years we have been telling officials, including the Gendarmerie General Command, that the closure of the Uzuncaburç gendarmerie station has helped treasure hunters in Olba. The ancient city has had a watch guard for the last eight months. But this last event proves that it is not enough. Our fears came true and one of the most precious pieces in the ancient city of Olba was damaged greatly,” she said.

Özyıldırım said the closure of the gendarmerie station was an unforgivable mistake. “The Kırobası gendarmerie station, which is half an hour away from Olba, is not able to protect the ancient city,” he said.

via: Treasure hunters destroy tomb

… as far as I’m aware, this is all Seleucid territory and I had always thought these (famous) rock cut tombs in the area were either Hellenistic or Roman. Is that 12 000 years b.p. date correct?

Statue of Demeter Found/Recovered

Brief item from Greek Reporter:

A statue, believed to be the ancient Greek goddess Demeter, has been unearthed at an illegal excavation in Simav, western Turkey. The statue, weighing in at 610kg and standing 2.8 meters tall, was discovered by two Turks, Ramazan C. And Ismail G, 26 and 62 years old respectively, who are alleged to have been conducting illegal excavations in the wider area where the statue was found. The two men were taken into custody by the Turkish police and sent to court.

The head of the statue and the altar, missing during the raid, were later found in a house in the city centre.

In Greek mythology, Demeter, one of Zeus’ sisters, so the story goes, was the goddess of agriculture, nature, abundance and seasons, and mother of Persephone, wife of Hades.

The original article is accompanied by a photo of a statue; it isn’t clear whether this is the statue they found or not …

First Classical Cultural Casualty of the Crimean Crisis?

Tantalizingly brief item from the Kyiv Post:

The director of the Hermitage Museum, Mikhail Piotrovsky, is concerned about the fate of the Scythian gold exhibition, which got lost on the way from Europe to its home – the Museum of Kerch in Crimea.

(Kyiv Post)

That’s all it says … not sure if there’s more behind a pay wall, but an identical piece is up at the Israel Foreign Affairs site. Remember Schliemann’s gold? Hmmmmmmm …