Spanish police recover one of the largest illegal archaeological collections

04 Jan 2023 12:24pm
An old vase artifact in Alicante Spain - FILE PIC
An old vase artifact in Alicante Spain - FILE PIC
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WASHINGTON - Spain's national police force has recovered one of the largest illegal private collections in the province of Alicante, made up of hundreds of archaeological artifacts.

The collection includes marine fossils, Bronze Age ceramics and 18th-century weapons, United Press International (UPI) quoted the country's Guardia Civil as saying in a statement.

Artifacts were recovered from two houses in the southeastern province of Alicante.

Investigators recovered around 350 total artifacts from the two homes, including Roman mosaic tiles, paleolithic flint tools and historical weapons including cannonballs.

In addition, some of the more than 200 human bone fragments recovered are between 4,000 and 5,000 years old.

Two men have been arrested so far but not charged as part of the far-ranging Operation Osarium, police confirmed. Both are being investigated for misappropriation of goods with artistic, historical, cultural or scientific value.

The operation falls under the auspices of the Guardia Civil's "Plan for the Defence of Spanish Historical Heritage."

Investigators were originally tipped off in November by local law enforcement that a home in that jurisdiction contained various ancient bone remains.

"The pieces had supposedly been inherited by the current inhabitant of the house of a deceased relative. However, he did not possess any type of documentation that would justify his possession of them, nor had he carried out any procedure for their regularization," police said in a statement.
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