Purloined Kouroi Recovered

Getty Images via ABC

Kouros-style marble statues, dated to the 6th century BC, are displayed on Tuesday at the National Archaeological Museum in central Athens.

The priceless artifacts were recovered by authorities three days ago during a sting operation in the Corinth prefecture of southern Greece, and specifically near the village of Klenia, which is located in vicinity of ancient Nemea. Two local men, identified as farmers, were charged with antiquities smuggling, while another is wanted.

The wanted man is allegedly the mastermind of the ring and has a previous criminal record with antiquities smuggling offenses.

According to reports, the two statues were dug up in the area eight months ago. The emblematic kouros, kouroi in the plural, were presented to the press during World Museum Day.

Speaking at the museum, Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Geroulanos and Greek Police (EL.AS) Chief Eleftherios Economou detailed the efforts made by authorities to apprehend the suspects as well as an ongoing probe into possible overseas buyers.

The sculptures, 1.82 and 1.78 meters tall, are considered unique works dating back to the late 6th century BC. According to archaeologists, the fact that makes them unique is that they are almost identical works sharing the same facial characteristics.

The damage observed on them, cut limbs and a head is recent and probably caused by excavation machinery, although archaeologists said the statues will be restored in full.

via Priceless ancient statues recovered by authorities.

Plenty of press piling up on this one (I’ll add some more later) … a thought that just occurred to me was that these are probably depicting Cleobis and Biton, no? One or both of them were victors at Nemea and statuary of them might be appropriately found in that vicinity …

Addenda: the Cleobis and Biton claim comes from a paper by M. Miller; see, however: Sophocles S. Markianos, “The Chronology of the Herodotean Solon “Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, Vol. 23, No. 1 (1st Qtr., 1974), pp. 1-20, esp. the discussion in note  66 (sorry! had 23 there before … reading on a small screen) (The Miller paper is referenced there as well).

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