An ancient Greek statue confiscated last month from suspected smugglers and described as «priceless» is actually a fake, a culture ministry source said on Tuesday.
"A closer examination found moulding marks and bubble traces, leading to the conclusion that the statue is a copy,» suggesting the statue had been cast rather than sculpted, the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The 1.2-metre statue of a kore, an archaic maiden, was found last week in a sheep pen in the Fyli district northwest of Athens, bordering the countryside.
An inspecting archaeologist said the sculpture was «unique» and of «priceless historical value», police said at the time.
But ministry experts later found it was an identical copy of a statue found on the Acropolis in Athens in 1886, down to its missing left arm and lower section.
"The responsibility is shared by the police and the archaeologist who evaluated the statue,» the ministry official said.
Two men were arrested last week for trying to sell the statue, which had been initially dated to the sixth century BC, for half a million euros.