Two stolen ancient Greek vases returned to Greece from Switzerland

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Two marble vases that once marked ancient Athenians’ graves over 2,000 years ago have been returned to Greece from Switzerland, apnews.com has reported.

Greece’s Culture Ministry announced on Tuesday that the white marble vases, decorated with relief sculptures, were recovered after a prolonged legal battle.

Both vases are damaged, missing their necks and parts of their bases. One stands at 60 centimeters (23 inches) tall, and the other at 54 centimeters (21 inches). Dating back to the 4th century B.C., they originally marked family graves near Athens. However, due to their illegal excavation and export, their exact original location remains unknown.

One vase depicts a touching family scene with an elderly man, his soldier son, and his wife, while the other features plant motifs. Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni emphasized that repatriating plundered antiquities is a “top political priority” for the ministry, which has successfully secured several returns recently.

The vases were first discovered in 2002 during a raid on a Basel warehouse used by an Italian antiquities dealer. Despite being returned to the dealer in 2014 after an Italian court ruling, Greek authorities noticed the vases were up for sale again in 2017 and secured their seizure by Switzerland. The ministry said it emerged that Swiss authorities had sold them to the second dealer to cover legal costs incurred by the Italian dealer.

Following over six years of legal negotiations, the vases were handed over to Greek officials on June 26. They will be displayed in a museum featuring artifacts from Kerameikos, the main cemetery of ancient Athens.

Source: apnews.com

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