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Stolen Artifacts Returned To Italy In An Effort To Preserve Cultural History

The Euphronios krater, repatriated to Italy by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 2006.
Jaime Ardiles-Arce
/
Wikimedia Commons
The Euphronios krater, repatriated to Italy by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 2006.

Last week, 25 stolen archaeological artifacts – some dating back to the first century – were repatriated to Italy. Italy’s Division for the Protection of Cultural Heritage worked in cooperation with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit to track down and return the items, which had been sold to museums, auction houses, and private collectors throughout the United States.

Trade of archaeological artifacts is the third most profitable illegal market, and the effort to end the black-market trade of artifacts is, in many cases, “a losing battle,” says World Views contributor Rebecca Cruise.

“These artifacts are easy to transport, easy to forge, [and] the documentation that goes with them is easy to replicate,” Cruise said.

But the returning of these artifacts is good news for those looking to preserve Italy’s cultural history.

“For these artifacts that have returned, that is a victory for the Italian people,” Cruise said. “And we hope to have more of these cases with successful results in the future.”

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