ROME, JAN 23 – A total of 60 archaeological finds were repatriated from the US to Italy where they had been marketed by international art traffickers. The works, worth over 20 million dollars, are returning to Italy thanks to the collaboration between the Carabinieri for the Protection of Cultural Heritage (TPC) and the New York County District Attorney’s Office (DAO). Among the finds recovered is a Pompeian fresco depicting the proceeds of clandestine excavations in the Vesuvius area: the Child Hercules with snake, dating back to the 1st century AD. “It is a great success against illicit trafficking,” comments Minister Sangiuliano. The recovered assets are in fact the result of the looting of Italian archaeological sites fueled by unscrupulous traffickers: works that remained for years in museums, private homes and foreign galleries without any property rights. Some finds had ended up in private US collections, such as that of one of the largest collectors of ancient art in the world, who has now been imposed, an unedited fact, a lifetime ban on buying antiquities. In order to unmask the criminals, in addition to the investigative work of the weapon and the competent US authorities, the technical-scientific contribution of the experts of the Ministry of Culture and the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for judicial and police cooperation were also needed, at the basis of the identification, recovery and return of the finds, the result of the collaboration provided by the American institutions to the Italian ones. (HANDLE).
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