Thursday, March 20, 2008

Artifacts ripped from Trajan's Villa recovered from wealthy engineer

Roman mosaics are among my favorite art forms so this article made me shudder.

"Police seized some 1,000 ancient artifacts from a wealthy Italian man's country house outside Rome that were stolen from one of Emperor Trajan's villas, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Authorities contend the artifacts, which were being used to decorate the man's weekend residence, were ripped off the walls of what is believed to be Trajan's hunting retreat in Arcinazzo Romano, a town in the countryside outside Rome.

Some were stolen from boxes of fragments that archaeologists had excavated from the villa but had left at the site of the ongoing dig, prosecutors told a news conference.

Pieces of ancient Roman mosaics were inserted into the man's basement floor and his fireplace and bathroom were decorated with other pieces, authorities said.

Many of the artifacts were damaged by glue that he apparently used to stick them to transparent display supports, said Marina Sapelli Ragni, Lazio's superintendent for archaeology. Restorers would try to repair the damage, she said.

Among the loot are pieces of marble that once covered the sprawling villa in the upper Aniene River valley in Lazio. The villa has only been partially excavated."

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