Italy police stumble upon 'priceless' ancient artefacts

A police photo of some of the terracotta figures seized Image copyright Polizia di Stato
Image caption The archaeological finds are more than 2,000 years old according to experts

Police in southern Italy who were searching for illegal weapons uncovered a large hoard of ancient Greek relics instead.

Officers were looking for arms and ammunition in a house near the Sicilian city of Enna when they found a stash of artefacts which date from between the 5th and 2nd Centuries BC, Corriere del Mezzogiorno reports. In total, 254 pieces were seized from the site, including dozens of vases, oil lamps and terracotta figures, as video of the haul shows. The pieces are thought to have come from settlements and burial sites in central and southern Sicily.

Police describe the finds as "priceless" but say they were being stored in cardboard boxes and plastic crates, wrapped in newspaper. Some had signs of salt incrustation, suggesting they had been fished out of the sea. They've now been handed over to the cultural heritage authority in Enna. "It's likely that they were ready to be put on the black market," says Gabriele Presti, head of the investigation team. The homeowner - a man with a string of previous convictions - was arrested.

Fittingly, the house where the relics were found is located on a hill above Pergusa Lake, long associated with Greek mythology. It's said to have been where a flower-picking Persephone was abducted by Hades and taken to the underworld. These days the lake is surrounded by a racetrack.

Next story: Outcry over city's pepper spray ban on metro

Use #NewsfromElsewhere to stay up-to-date with our reports via Twitter.

Related Topics