US returns to Greece 30 ancient artifacts worth $3.7 million, including marble statues

Dec 15, 2023, 12:18 PM

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The United States on Friday returned to Greece 30 ancient artifacts, including marble statues, armor helmets and breastplates, found to have been illicitly removed from the country, authorities said.

The pieces handed over to Greek officials in New York date back from as long as 4,700 years ago to the Middle Ages. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said the “exquisite” works were collectively valued at $3.7 million (3.39 million euros).

Nineteen of the artifacts were voluntarily surrendered from New York gallery owner Michael Ward, the DA’s office said in a statement.

Three others were seized from British art dealer Robin Symes, the statement said, while one was seized from a storage unit belonging to an unspecified New York-based private collector.

“This is an exquisite set of 30 antiquities that represents the extraordinary depth and beauty of Greece’s cultural heritage,” Bragg said.

The works include a Roman-era headless marble statue of Aphrodite, the ancient Greek goddess of love. Bragg’s office said it was recovered from a storage unit that belonged to Symes, where it had been hidden since at least 1999.

There were also seven bronze helmets dating from 6th century B.C. to 3rd century B.C., two bronze and two iron breastplates for soldiers, a medieval silver platter, a marble Cycladic figurine dating to 2,700-2,300 B.C. and Mycenaean and Minoan Cretan pottery.

Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni praised in a statement the “strong cooperation and hard work” by U.S. and Greek experts that led to the antiquities’ return.

The return follows two similar operations earlier this year, involving 29 antiquities, and last year, when 55 works were returned from New York.

Greece has for decades been targeted by criminal networks engaged in the trafficking of illegally excavated antiquities that command high prices worldwide. By law, all ancient artifacts found in the country are state property.


Associated Press

Vermont lawmaker apologizes for repeatedly pouring water in her colleague’s bag

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A Republican state lawmaker from Vermont has apologized for repeatedly pouring water into a Democratic colleague’s bag, after he caught her doing it on video. State Rep. Mary Morrissey publicly apologized to state Rep. Jim Carroll, colleagues and the citizens of Vermont from the House floor on Monday. Both are from […]

49 minutes ago

Former U.S. Representative George Nethercutt. (Getty Images)...

Associated Press

Former GOP Rep. George Nethercutt, who defeated House Speaker Tom Foley in 1994, dies at 79

Former U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt, a Spokane lawyer who ousted Democratic Speaker of the House Tom Foley, has died.

53 minutes ago

Associated Press

Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn pleads not guilty in Arizona’s fake elector case

PHOENIX (AP) — Lawyers Boris Epshteyn and Jenna Ellis and former U.S. Senate candidate James Lamon have pleaded not guilty to nine felony charges for their roles in trying to overturn former President Donald Trump’s Arizona election loss to Joe Biden. The hearing Tuesday in a Phoenix courtroom marked the last of 18 arraignments in […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Vermont man sentenced to 25 years in prison for kidnapping woman and son outside of a mall

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison after he was convicted of kidnapping a woman and her 4-year-old son by forcing them into her car outside a New Hampshire mall and bringing them to Vermont while he was searching for his estranged wife. Everett Simpson, 46, was […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

India and US vow to boost defense, trade ties in first high-level US visit since Modi’s election win

NEW DELHI (AP) — India and the United States on Monday pledged to boost defense and technology cooperation and remove long-standing barriers to bilateral strategic trade, following a meeting between the national security advisers of both countries. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan is on a two-day visit to the Indian capital, New Delhi, the first […]

16 hours ago

Associated Press

US suspends inspections of avocados, mangoes in Mexico’s Michoacan state over security concerns

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The United States government has suspended inspections of avocados and mangoes in the Mexican state of Michoacan due to security concerns, an official said Monday. A U.S. government spokesperson, whose name could not be used under agency policy, said the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is […]

18 hours ago

US returns to Greece 30 ancient artifacts worth $3.7 million, including marble statues