Spain: Rare archaeological artefacts seized by police

Artefacts were recovered in Burgos, Spain. Photo Credit: Guardia Civil

By Dilip Kuner,October 11, 2018, in Euroweeklynews.

Four people have been arrested for allegedly being complicit in the plundering of an archaeological site in Spain.

Guardia Civil officers have recovered 92 rare Celtiberian pieces said to be of ‘great historical value’. They have been taken to a museum in Burgos to be studied, restored and put on display.

The arrested men and four others investigated are suspected of crimes of damage to archaeological sites, misappropriation and receiving the items illegally.

The investigation began last November after the Nature Protection Service of the Guardia Civil (SEPRONA) detected the sale of several spearheads through specialised internet media sites. The agents identified and located an advertiser in the town of Burgos, who was found to have a batch of 50 ancient pieces that were taken by police to be studied and catalogued by the Museum of Burgos. Guardia Civil searched two homes and arrested those responsible, one in the province of Toledo and three in Burgos. One raid uncovered links to the drugs trade with cocaine and precision scales discovered. Police also found the plunderer who was working a plot of land next to the archaeological site.

An expert report showed that the metal items had been recently dug up. Police then launched Operation MUSEROLA to investigate the illegal trade in antiquities in the region. The aim was to locate the plundered site and identify those responsible and recover the items stolen. According to experts, the indications are that the hoard was a votive deposit of arms of Celtiberian origin dating to the 4th century BC. Among the recovered pieces, mostly made of iron, are spear tips, an iron sword, daggers and horse bits.

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