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Author Topic: Italy Police Find Pensioner's 'Museum'  (Read 79 times)
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« on: October 25, 2007, 07:09:00 AM »

Italy Police Find Pensioner's 'Museum'

By ROBIN POMEROY, Oct. 22, 2007

Officers from Italy's financial police sit in front of a table of artifacts seized from a pensioner in Venice October 22, 2007. Italian police said on Monday they had discovered a huge stash of archaeological artifacts which the pensioner had illegally dug up to create his own private museum.  (Guardia di Finanza, Handout/ Reuters)

   Italian police have discovered a huge stash of archaeological artefacts that a pensioner had dug up to create his own private -- and illegal -- museum, they said on Monday.

   Police in the Venice region were stunned to find 12,000 items ranging from bronze age combs to jewellery, weapons and pottery from down the ages -- many in display cases in the man's home.

   "We found this guy who was doing his own excavations, a kind of dilettante archaeologist," said Colonel Pier Luigi Pisano of the Venice finance police, which made the raid.

   "What we found has incredible value because it covers the whole history of the region from the 18th century BC to the 18th century AD -- 3,600 years of history contained in the pieces."

   Italian law requires anyone who makes archaeological finds to declare them to the state. But police constantly investigate 'tomb raiders' who defy the law and dig for artefacts that are then often traded on the black market.

   Pisano said it was unclear whether the man was a trader or whether he was just building up a collection for his own gratification, but added the collection -- most of which was stored in boxes and not on display -- was priceless.

   "There were little combs made of deer bone from the 13th century (BC), there were belt buckles, arrow tips, renaissance swords and very many pieces of renaissance pottery that our experts said had a great market value," he said.

   "There were hundreds of pieces of pottery that were intact. In total, we seized 12,000 pieces," he added. "It could be worth millions of euros."

   The man, whom police have not identified, was a local pensioner who confessed to being an amateur archaeologist, Pisano said.

   Italy has clamped down on illegal art trafficking in recent years, pressuring big U.S. museums to return priceless pieces that it believed were smuggled out of the country. New York's Metropolitan Museum, Boston's Museum of Fine Arts and the Los Angeles-based Getty have all returned disputed art works.



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« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2007, 06:38:19 AM »

Sounds like a "brave and galant outlaw" to me!

I feel for the bloke, based on what was presented here of course.

Perhaps Italy should revisit their amateur archaeologists laws.


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