claim that police found Olympic museum artefacts during 45 dealers’ arrests not proved, not corroborated

Evidently, Google has not crawled the updates to the main post (on the Greek police’s arrest of at least 44 45 illicit antiquities handlers). So, I just thought I would reiterate the key information so far.

I want to appeal for caution over the unproved, uncorroborated rumour that police found Olympic museum artefacts during their searches.

Update (5th March 2012): police have not found the Olympic museum’s stolen artefacts.

Greek police police have arrested 44 45 people (5 illicit antiquities dealers, 39 looters, and 1 unknown). And they have searched 55 properties in 13 towns (Chalkidiki, Drama, Fthiotida, Imathia, Karditsa, Kavala, Kilkis, Larissa, Pella, Pieria, Serres, Thessaloniki, and Trikala; they span Eastern Macedonia and Thrace (north-eastern Greece), Central Macedonia (northern Greece), and Thessaly and Sterea (central Greece)).

They recovered:

  • 9,200 coins (most of them copper, some of them silver and gold), from the 6th Century BCE to the Byzantine period;
  • 3 gold mouth covers;
  • 2 Byzantine wooden diptych images of saints (one 37 by 25cm, one 14 by 11cm);
  • a mass of jewellery;
  • small bronze votive statuettes;
  • copper necklace beads;
  • gold-plated clay necklace beads;
  • arrowheads;
  • part of a marble head of a woman, probably from a grave’s headstone; and
  • 300 other unidentified but priceless antiquities.

Uncorroborated report(s) Rejected report(s)
There has been one, Israeli report that this police operation recovered artefacts from the robbery of the Museum of the History of the Olympic Games; but I have not been able to find any corroborating sources in either English-language or Greek-language media.

Update (5th March 2012): the police have not found the Olympic museum’s stolen artefacts. Ta Nea have reported that ‘the possibility that objects from the recent robbery at the Olympia Museum are included amongst the finds has been excluded [Αποκλείστηκε το ενδεχόμενο μεταξύ των ευρημάτων να περιλαμβάνονται αντικείμενα της πρόσφατης ληστείας στο Μουσείο της Ολυμπίας]’.

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