ATHENS, Greece (AP) – A man was arrested on suspicion of smuggling antiquities for attempting to sell an ancient marble statue of “rare works of art” that likely adorned a temple on the famous Acropolis of Athens or the surrounding hillsides. Greek authorities said. Friday.
Police said the statue from the 5th century BC. C. was recovered after a police operation that lasted months and that involved an investigation by the Department of Cultural Heritage and Antiquities.
At just 37 centimeters (14.5 inches) tall, the statue depicts a seated young man leaning slightly to the right. The head, arms and most of both legs are missing, and two small holes are visible behind the left shoulder, from which the rods would probably have attached the statue to a pediment: the triangular gable on the short sides of an ancient temple .
“It is an exceptional work of art, the kind that is not easily found, even in systematic excavations,” said archaeologist Dimitris Sourlas during a presentation Friday at the police headquarters in Athens. The statue, he said, could have been part of a larger composition, but more research was needed.
Authorities did not say why they linked it to the Acropolis area and what made them suspect it came from a temple, which would narrow the search for its provenance.
The work was found in the possession of a man in the southern city of Corinto, who was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of seeking a buyer for the statue for the price of 100,000 euros ($ 119,000), police said.
Investigations are being made of how the part got to him and whether he had managed to contact potential buyers.
Photos released by police showed that the statue appeared to have been buried for a long time and showed signs of damage from digging tools.
It is illegal to own, buy, sell or excavate antiquities in Greece without a permit.