An 81-year-old man yesterday faced a prosecutor on antiquities theft charges after police seized more than 450 ancient artifacts from his home on Alexandras Avenue in central Athens. The cache, which included objects dating from Neolithic times to the Byzantine era, is one of the largest and most valuable collections of illegal artifacts to be discovered in years, officers from Attica’s antiquities theft unit said. The collection reportedly included objects made of marble, bronze and clay as well as coins and icons. «Archaeologists who have examined most of (the artifacts) are convinced they were illegally excavated,» Reuters cited a police official as saying. The man allegedly told police that the artifacts were family heirlooms.