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Italy recovers 800 smuggled antiquities worth 11 million euros due to a picture of a commemorative plaque

Italy has recovered about 800 antiquities that were illegally smuggled out of the country, valued at about 11 million euros ($13 million), according to Italian police, after years of investigation.

And the discovery of the matter began in 2017, when Italian experts noticed in the illustrated catalog of an exhibition held by the Geneva Museum about the people of ancient Italy, a picture of a long memorial plaque dating back to southeastern Italy in pre-Roman times.

And they made sure that a piece of the same commemorative plaque was kept by a museum in the Puglia region, and then the entire piece was excavated there. Italian law prohibits the export of cultural artifacts found on Italian soil, according to Sky News.

The team involved in the theft of artifacts and antiquities of the Italian National Gendarmerie said that investigations eventually led to the discovery of 781 other artifacts, including a porcelain jar, vases, memorial plates and small statues, which date back to the period between the sixth and third centuries BC, most of which were looted from tombs. Archaeological site in Apulia.

Police said they originally found the memorial, which caught the attention of experts, in the home of a collector in a town near Antwerp, who filed many lawsuits and appeals to keep the pieces, but all of his claims were eventually dismissed by Belgian judicial authorities.