A Roman sarcophagus returns to Italy after 20 years missing

A Roman sarcophagus returns to Italy after 20 years missing

A ancient roman sarcophagus of alabaster that was stolen more than 20 years ago from a church south of Rome, it was returned to Italy on July 18 from the collection of an unnamed London antique shop.

A special team from the cultural heritage protection division of the Italian police has led the repatriation operation.

The sarcophagus, dating from between the second and third century BC, was featured at a press conference in Rome, before returning to his hometown of Aquino, approximately 100 km south of the capital where it is displayed in the desacralized church. Santa Marta.

Although official sources they have not confirmed it, the Italian newspaper Il Giornale has reported that the private collection of the antique shop where the sarcophagus was found belonged to the late American antique dealer Robert Hecht.

He had been accused by the Roman court of conspire to receive illegally excavated antiquities and withdrawals from Italy, but his trial ended in January (a month before dying) without a verdict upon reaching the statute of limitations.

The sarcophagus, which has in its reliefs the chariot races of the Circus Maximus of Rome, was stolen in 1991 from the Church of Aquino Madonna della Libera, being one of the most important antiquities thefts in Italy that could not be solved as no one was accused of the theft.

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