Ancient Roman Artifact Seized

Posted on October 24, 2012


On Thursday, Italian Military police officers announced the recovery of the head of an ancient terra-cotta Roman statue. According to a recent article in The New York Times, the statue itself dates back to over 2,000 years ago, and is believed to have been plundered from Italian soil.

Authorities confiscated the head from a 62-year-old man from Parma who failed to produce convincing documentation of ownership. Previously, the man delivered the antiquity to an antique furniture restorer in Piacenza. He asked the furniture restorer to sell it “for many thousands of euros,” according to lead carabinieri officer Rocco Papaleo. The rest of the statue has yet to be identified.

The man from Parma told carabinieri officers that he had owned the artifact for the past thirty years. Archeologists, however, believe that the artifact had yet to be unearthed thirty years ago. Based on testing the dirt still attached to the head, culture ministry official Filippo Maria Gambari believes that the statue was unearthed “no more than ten years ago, perhaps even less.” Archaeologists will further test the artifact to determine a more precise date.

Archeologists are also hoping that further testing will reveal the geographic origin of the statue. According to Gambari, “Votive sculptures like this were common in Republican sanctuaries found in both Lazio and Campania and even farther south.”

Posted in: Archaeology Law