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Stone age artifacts returned home

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  • Kim Noyes
    ... ========================================= Stolen Stone Age artifacts returned to Greece from Germany The Associated Press Tuesday, October 30, 2007 ATHENS:
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 3 10:12 PM
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      >From <http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/10/30/europe/greece.php>:


      Stolen Stone Age artifacts returned to Greece from Germany

      The Associated Press
      Tuesday, October 30, 2007

      ATHENS: A stolen collection of about 100 artifacts dating from more
      than 8,000 years ago - including what may be very early human
      portraits - has been returned from Germany to Greece, officials said

      The Neolithic-era artifacts were stolen by armed burglars from a
      private collection in Larissa, central Greece, in 1985 and seized by
      the German police in Munich a year later. The case remained virtually
      forgotten until a Munich court ruled in August that the finds should
      be returned to Greece.

      "These works are exceptional examples" of the Neolithic culture,
      Culture Minister Michalis Liapis said. "We are very happy to get them
      back, as we consider antiquities theft a global scourge."

      The 94 stone and pottery works - statuettes, tools and tiny vases -
      mostly date between 6500 and 5300 B.C. and come from the central
      Thessaly region, where Greece's most important Neolithic settlements
      have been excavated.

      Nikos Kaltsas, an archaeologist who is the director of the National
      Archaeological Museum in Athens, said the artifacts, which are up to
      12 centimeters, or 5 inches, high, "date to the dawn of human
      awareness" and appear to include portraits of Neolithic women.

      The stolen pieces were smuggled to Munich, where the thieves tried to
      sell them to a local museum, Liapis said. Museum officials tipped off
      the police, who seized the works. Nobody was convicted for the theft,
      and the Greek authorities only began a serious legal bid for their
      return six months ago.

      "The case had been put on the back burner," Liapis said. Liapis did
      not explain the delay, but his predecessor, George Voulgarakis, who
      initiated the bid in April, blamed "state inefficiency."

      Constantinos Theodoropoulos, the collector from whose house the works
      were stolen, has donated the artifacts to the state. They will be
      temporarily exhibited in Athens before being transferred to a museum
      in Larissa, where the rest of Theodoropoulos's collection - about
      2,500 Neolithic artifacts - will be housed.

      Theodoropoulos said more than 60 stolen pieces were still missing.

      The Neolithic age, stretching roughly from 6800-3200 B.C., saw the
      creation of Greece's first farming settlements, mostly in the fertile
      plains of Thessaly and Macedonia.

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