By Vicky Charisopoulou
Translated from the Greek: Ta Nea, 05.03.2012
Common elements with four cases of illegal commerce of antiquities that concerned objects of great value, have been detected with the new case in Chalkidiki. A common point of all the cases is the geographical origin of the culprits, but also of the objects that also come from the same regions of Northern Greece.
2000 The Golden Crown
An inhabitant of the village Melissourgos of Thessolonike was the worker that discovered under uncertain circumstances a gold crown of the 4th century B.C. which he handed to the authorities. The circumstances of the discovery were considered curious, especially given the past of the worker who had previously been arrested (in the Summer of 1987) for possesing ancient objects and a metal detector. It was found that the gold crown of Apollonia had been offered for sale for more than six months with an asking price of 60 mil. drachmas [t.n.: approx. 180.000 Euros].
2007 The Illegal Dig
A large-scale illegal dig of the prehistoric cemetery of Palaios Panteleimonas of Olympus was reported by the archaeologists of the 26th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities of Pieria in September 2007.
The case of an important case of illegal commerce of antiquities from the Vergina archaeological site in September 2009, was filed just a year and a half later under the heading "unknown culprits". Unknown persons had entered before the dawn of the 16th August into the interior of the tombs (the time of entry was recorded by the temperature detectors) broke of the arms of the throne of Eurydice and removed six small sculptures (Korai and Sphinxes of the 4th century B.C.). No-one knew anything about the case, the theft was discovered 20 days later (9 September 2009), but the investigation was fruitless.
2011 11 million loot [see here]
An inhabitant of Gerakarou of Thessalonike (on the border with Chalkidiki) was one of the three persons arested last October during a large scale operation of the police, when objects worth a total of 11 million Euros were confiscated.
The 44 arrests carried out the day before yesterday, in the region between Phthiotis to Kavala, are considered by archaeologists and the police to be the tail end of this case. Apart from the large quantity of coins (9.200), as in the case of October, the accused had in their possetion golden mouth-pieces (from graves of the 6th century) and other grave good of the same period, which are thought to come from illegal digs in Archondiko of Giannitsa.
It is noteworthy that during the last archaeological congress on the work in Macedonia last year, last Thursday, the head of excavations at Archondiko of Pella, Pavlos Chrysostomou reported that last summer alone he discovered more than 10 illegal excavation trenches in the unguarded, because of lack of funds to pay guards, region of the ancient graveyard of Archontiko of Pella.
Photos of the objects confiscated by the police during all the cases mentioned. Source: Ta Nea, 05.03.2012
The same remarks couls be made concerning the two men arrested for thying to sell a Lysippos (?) statue of Alexander the Great two years ago in Thessalonike...