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US hands over looted artif8k8 log inacts worth $65m to Italy

谢娜谈怀孕过程 | 8k8 log in | Updated: 2024-07-25 06:28:24

Italy's long-running campaign to reclaim its historical artifacts enjoyed a big win on Tuesday when about 600 looted items were returned by the United States.

The haul, with an estimated value of about 60 million euros ($65 million), included statues, gold coins and mosaics, which had been looted and sold to collectors and galleries.

Jack Markell, the US ambassador to Italy, said the latest return was a sign of respect for Italy's heritage, adding: "We know that safeguarding this history requires care and vigilance, and this is why we do what we do."

One of the most highly prized items among the pieces put on display at the handover was a silver coin dating back to the fourth century, which was stolen from an illegal excavation site on the southern Italian island of Sicily and smuggled to the United Kingdom. It was spotted on sale for $500,000 in New York last year.

Matthew Bogdanos, head of the antiquities trafficking unit of the New York district attorney's office, established a working relationship with the Italian police art squad when they worked on recovering pieces stolen during the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

"Looting is local," he said. " (Local residents) know when the security guards come on, they know when they come off. They know when the security guards are guarding particular sites and not others.

"They know when there are scientific, proper, approved archaeological excavations, and then they know when those archaeological excavations close, for example for the winter or for lack of funding."

The British Museum in London has been involved in long-running disputes over two pieces in its collection, the Parthenon Marbles, originally from Greece, and the Benin bronzes from Nigeria, with last summer's revelation that numerous items had gone missing from the museum undermining its reputation as a safe repository.

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