Rodi Garganico (Italy), Jan 26 (IANS/AKI) Italian police have sealed off an illegal archaeological dig and recovered 108 stolen artefacts dating back more than 2,000 years.
The artefacts were excavated from tombs dating to the Daunian era, which preceded the Roman empire, in the southern region of Puglia.
The pieces were expected to be trafficked on the illegal antiquities market.
Several sites were sealed off by police near the town of Rodi Garganico, in the province of Foggia on the Adriatic coast after routine checks by the Italian tax police, Corrado Palmiotti told AKI.
‘It’s an area rich in archaeology,’ he said.
Police said they had made no arrests.
Several vases, ornamental objects and spearheads were recovered by police on the Gargano peninsula. The objects date from between the 6th and 4th-centuries BC.
Daunia refers to the civilisation that dominated northern Puglia for more than 1,000 years until around the 4th century BC.
Italy is cracking down on the illegal export of cultural artefacts and art treasures considered part of its cultural heritage.
Prominent museums, including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum of Los Angeles have recently returned art treasures considered to have questionable origins.
Italian authorities earlier this month announced they had recovered about 60,000 looted or stolen archaeological artefacts and works or art worth an estimated 165 million euros.