NEWS

Police unearth antiquities stash

Two Greeks have been charged with illegally excavating and trying to sell 23 Roman-era marble objects, weighing in excess of a ton, police in northern Greece said yesterday. The men, aged 41 and 26, allegedly admitted to finding the carved marble slabs – some of which are believed to portray the ancient Greek hero Hercules – on a construction site in Komotini and intending to sell them for 140,000 euros. It is thought to be the first time ancient objects have been found in Komotini. Police said they watched the pair for two months before arresting them and unearthing the artifacts, which had allegedly been buried in a yard belonging to the unnamed 41-year-old. According to archaeological authorities in the region, the Roman finds could help establish a much earlier date for the foundation of Komotini, until now believed to have been established under the Byzantine Empire, some five centuries after Roman times. Expert valuation of the artifacts – believed to have formed a part of a funerary monument – and an examination of the site where they were found are expected to yield more precise conclusions.