Rome

Over 2,000 looted artefacts seized in 2012

Rare armor, excavated jewelry, Greek vases among haul

Over 2,000 looted artefacts seized in 2012

Rome, April 23 - Carabinieri police seized more than 2,000 pieces of illegally obtained artifacts in 2012, as well as six antique paintings, an yearly report revealed Tuesday. Confiscations fetched an assessed worth of 35 million euros and brought to light unprecedented treasures, such as an extremely rare set of Samnite armor - complete with helmet - from the 5th century B.C. The Samnites lived in southern areas of the Italian peninsula, and were subjugated by the Romans after a series of wars that ended in 290 B.C. Other recoveries included a bronze bucket with Etruscan incisions, a decorated pot cover from the 7th century B.C., precious excavated jewelry and ancient Greek vases. Six important 17th- and 18th-century paintings were also seized by the Carabinieri's special unit for cultural assets in 2012. The operations led to charges filed against 13 people for receiving and possessing illegal archeological material. Among the defendants is the owner of a small interior design business who, in addition to furnishing various villas in Rome with precious, antique marble, also provided clandestinely excavated archeological materials for mosaic floorings. A large quantity of tiles and marble flooring from Ancient Rome were found crammed in two containers, ready to be deployed in private homes, probably abroad as well as in Italy.

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