Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.
On Monday, November 18, the Europol the European Union’s Judicial Cooperation Unit (EUROJUST) announced that about 10,000 cultural items had been seized and 23 people were arrested in a coordinated cross-European police operation that dismantled a large-scale international archeological trafficking ring.
“Operation Achei” — coordinated between Italy, Germany, France, and Serbia — concluded an investigation that began in 2017 to combat the looting of Greek and Roman archaeological sites in the Calabria region in southern Italy.
The looting was carried out by an organized crime group led by two Calabrians living in the province of Crotone. According to Europol, the group executed all phases of trafficking by deploying looters, fences, intermediaries, and mules in different Italian regions. The group had key facilitators who were acting from Dijon, Munich, London, and Vršac to coordinate the supply chain.
The looted artifacts, captured in 103 searches and seizures, include jars, jewelry, and vases from the 4th and 2nd century BCE that are worth millions of euros. Italian police officials told the Guardian that the thieves used bulldozers and advanced metal detectors to excavate the artifacts.
“The stolen finds were finally transferred abroad where they were put up for auction in important international auction houses and sold at very high figures,” an Italian said in a press conference earlier this week.
“The damage caused to the Italian cultural heritage by this criminal group is very significant as the criminals were looting archaeological sites for many years,” Europol said in a statement.
Correction 11/25/19: This article misattributed a quote about the sale of the stolen goods prior to the operation, originally stating that the goods would be auctioned after they were retrieved. We regret the error.
The former panels, removed in 2017, featured images dedicated to Confederate Generals Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee.
One researcher, Jürgen Schick, estimated that over half of the region’s historical artworks have been stolen.
The Morgan Library & Museum Presents Another Tradition: Drawings by Black Artists from the American South
This exhibition celebrates the Morgan’s recent acquisition of drawings by Thornton Dial, Nellie Mae Rowe, Henry Speller, Luster Willis, and Purvis Young.
The visual arts institution and educational center is located in the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world.
From stationery featuring work by the quilters of Gee’s Bend to the perfect gift for fans of art and astrology, check out the latest update from the Hyperallergic Store.
Part of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, the Art Preserve also functions as a curated collection facility and is filled with immersive installations.