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Tomb raiders lead to new archaeological find

19/10/2012

Votive offerings to Juno from 4th to 2nd century BC

Tomb raiders lead to new archaeological find

(ANSA) – Rome, October 19 - Investigations into the activities of four tomb raiders in the Alban hills near Rome have led to the discovery of a previously unknown site containing ancient Roman votive offerings. The ex-votos date from the fourth to the second century BC and include life-sized statues and depictions of parts of the human anatomy in terracotta offered to the ancient Roman goddess Juno. Police caught the tomb robbers in action as they were stealing the devotional objects from a natural cavity in a tufa wall near Lanuvio and Genzano that did not appear on archaeological maps of the area. The cavity appears to be linked to a nearby sanctuary dedicated to Juno the Saviour via a network of caverns and tunnels. The discovery is considered important as it testifies to the existence of a workshop once producing prestigious terracotta objects in the area. Investigators believe the stolen ex-votos were destined for the international collectors' market. Police found other ancient artefacts including sepulchral items mostly dating to the Etruscan era during their search of the tomb raiders' homes. photo: statue of Juno in Quirinale Palace