French authorities seized a “priceless” transport of more than 27,000 archaeological objects ranging from Bronze Age bracelets to Roman coins that had been secretly collected by a single person in the east of the country, said on Wednesday. Customs.
The seizure of the 27,400 objects is the result of a one-year investigation carried out by French customs, Belgian authorities and the French Ministry of Culture.
The storer, who has not been named and now faces a criminal investigation, had built the collection for personal and commercial use, the French customs service said.
He himself had amassed the collection using metal detectors as well as what appears to be deep archaeological knowledge.
The man first aroused suspicion in 2019 when he told authorities he had found nearly 15,000 Roman coins by chance on land he had acquired in Belgium.
The French customs service then confirmed that this transport had indeed been built by “the looting of various sites in France,” he said.
The case has now been brought to justice, with the man facing a colossal fine and possibly jail time.
This seizure is “a clear message to those who – for the profit and the selfish pleasure of a few – deprive us of our common heritage and erase entire swathes of our history”, declared the Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire in a press release.
He described the transportation as a “priceless treasure”.
The collection includes thousands of rare Roman coins, many of which are rich in silver.
Among the items looted are also bracelets and couples dating from the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, a rare Roman dodecahedron of which there are only a hundred known examples in the world, as well as objects from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
© 2020 AFP