In the latest repatriation of Greek cultural heritage objects, the United States returned 29 looted antiquities.
They were delivered to Greece by Alvin L. Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, in a special ceremony at the Greek consulate general in New York.
Key pieces returned include a bronze chalice krater dating to 350 BCE that was seized in January; the Eid Mar coin, minted in 42 BCE to commemorate the assassination of Julius Caesar; and the “Neolithic Family Group,” which dates from 5,000 to 3,500 BCE and is valued at $3 million.
All were seized following multiple criminal investigations into high-profile traffickers and smugglers.
The investigations were supervised by Matthew Bogdanos, head of the Manhattan District Attorney’s antiquities trafficking unit.
Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni, Consul General Konstantinos Konstantinou and Ivan J. Arvelo, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New York, attended the repatriation ceremony.
“Antiquities trafficking is a multi-billion dollar business, with looters and smugglers making profits at the expense of cultural heritage, and Greece – long recognized as the cradle of Western civilization – is particularly vulnerable to this type of criminal enterprise,” Arvelo said. .
“These precious objects date as far back as 5,000 BCE and were a valuable part of life in the ancient world. We are honored to join our partners today in repatriating this priceless cultural heritage to the Greek people,” he said.
For her part, the Greek Minister of Culture declared that “the great successes achieved in recent years by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in the fight against the theft of antiquities have led to the repatriation of hundreds of illegally trafficked antiquities to their countries of origin, including Greece”. She also paid tribute, “once again”, to Bogdanos and his team who worked closely with the Ministry of Culture.