Culture And Media

Italy: Ancient treasures 'sold on E-bay'

Cosenza, 31 July (AKI) - A man from a southern Italian town is being investigated for allegedly auctioning archeological treasures worth millions of euros on the Internet's world-famous E-bay website, police said on Friday. The man is a 40-year-old from Lamezia Terme, in the Calabria region and has no previous criminal convictions, according to magistrates in the town who are coordinating the "Archeoweb Calabria" judicial probe.

More than 13,000 artefacts were recovered during the probe, which began in November, 2008, according to police.

The finds included antique gold and silver coins, china from the ancient Greek and Roman eras, antique jewels, fragments of Roman mosaics, glass vials, columns and friezes dating dated between the 4th-5th century BC and the 7th-8th century AD.

The treasures do not only come from Italy but also from countries as far afield as South America.

The complete estimated value is of the treasures is around three million euros.

Search and seizure operations are progress in 35 cities in Calabria and other regions across Italy. These include Piedmont, Lombardy, Liguria and Veneto in the north, Lazio, Marche, Umbria and Tuscany in the centre, and Basilicata, Sicily, and Puglia region in the south.

Investigators have seized five metal detectors, some highly sophisticated, which they say were used to locate the artefacts.

The illegal archaeological digs mainly took place in the areas around Lamezia Terme and Crotone in Calabria, but also in other Italian regions, especially Liguria and Lazio.

Investigators want to find out if the people who allegedly bought the treasures on E-bay knew or their origin and whether any of them may have purchased the artefacts to launder money.




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