Illicit ancient treasure found in businessman’s garden

A remarkable collection of ancient artifacts that would outshine many provincial museum displays has been confiscated from a Thessaloniki entrepreneur, police said yesterday. Several hundred metal, terracotta and stone objects dating from the seventh century BC to the Middle Ages were discovered buried in the garden of a holiday house in the village of Apsalos, near Pella in central Macedonia, belonging to a 42-year-old man whose name was not made public. Police also discovered ancient artifacts in the entrepreneur’s home in Thessaloniki’s Upper Town. It was one of the most impressive hauls of illegally-excavated antiquities in recent years, consisting to a great extent of metal objects the man had located with metal detectors. The finds included bronze helmets, axes, spearheads, what appears to be a fragmentary shield, jewelry and hundreds of gold, solver and copper coins. It is unclear whether a bronze figurine resembling a prehistoric Cretan goddess from the palace of Knossos is a genuine piece. The man, arrested last week, said the artifacts came from Macedonia, apart from some he had bought from foreign antiquity smugglers.

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