Illegal shipment: Italy treasures found in EU Germany storage

Image copyright Reuters Image caption Italians are cleaning up their colonial legacy

An Italian archaeological society has said it has recovered precious antiquities from Indonesia that were sent to storage in Finland and Germany under the guise of donations, without permission.

The Treasures of Italy Collection is still being catalogued, but includes 230,000 items.

It had been put together with donations, but that meant they were not protected under law.

The finds, including bronze objects, calligraphy scripts and bronze and iron bracelets, were said to have been taken illegally by government officials.

Among the objects discovered at various storage places in eastern Europe and central Asia were pieces from the third and fourth centuries BC that were “seriously damaged and destroyed”, the body said.

The collection had been placed in storage in Germany and Finland after being donated by members of the Italian community, it said.

“This is extremely encouraging, because it means that Italy and its collections have an international position again, and people are not afraid to bring their treasures back”, Italian ambassador to Belgium Giovanni Amati said in a statement.

The treasures will be put on display at the Italian embassy in Brussels.

Italian authorities began searching for the treasures in December 2017 after claims that they had been misappropriated, after a group of Indonesian archaeologists put out a notice.

The Italian collection, which has 10,000 objects more than a thousand years old, features not only items from Italy but also from Germany, Britain, Japan, South Africa and other European countries.

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