Another Smuggling Attempt Thwarted

Have to give my spiders a #fail on this one … they totally missed it, but it seems it’s all over the twittersphere. From Novinite:

The Bulgarian Customs Agency has bestowed upon the Regional History Museum in Burgas a statue of a Roman goddess or a female aristocrat that they captured at the Bulgaria-Turkey border.

The Roman statue is dated to the 2nd century AD; it was seized during a customs check at the Lesovo border crossing point from a Volvo truck with Turkish license plates transporting clothes from Turkey to Belgium via Bulgaria.

The statue was formally received as a donation Wednesday by Tsonya Drazheva, head of the Burgas Regional History Museum in connection with the European Cultural Heritage Days.

Under the Bulgarian legislation, the Roman statue will be kept in the Black Sea city of Burgas until the respective authorities figure out its origin and whether it has been stolen and searched for by Interpol.

The ancient statue seized from the international treasure hunters and antique trafficking mafia bears no marks from any museum, which means that the valuable archaeological find will probably be kept permanently by the Burgas museum.

The Roman statue in question probably used to decorate the forum of a large city in the Roman Empire, according to Drazheva. It is made of Mediterranean marble.

The head of the statue from the late Antiquity period was probably removed during the age of early Christianity, which was a common practice at the time.

Thanks to the Burgas Customs, the local history museum is the only one in Bulgaria outside of Sofia, which has an entire collection of ancient artifacts and finds captured from traffickers of antiques.

The original article has a nice photo which reminds me of a question I’ve long pondered about these tombaroli types:

This is yet another statue which seems to have it’s head missing (not uncommon), but also its hands. Whenever I’m browsing through auction catalogs, I’m always seeing hands and feet from statuary being offered for sale. I wonder if tombaroli and the like actually hack the things off to increase their return?

Circumundique ~ September 14-15, 2011

Seemed to have missed a day again: