For the latest on the legal-matters-related-to-Etruscan-antiquities front, federal prosecutors have seized a 2,500-year-old Etruscan water jug valued at $665,000 from the Toledo Museum of Art and will return it to Italy, the Courthouse News Service reports. Strange news in light of the recent bust by Italian authorities of the Etruscan antiquities forgery ring.
The prosecutors allege the piece was stolen from an illegal excavation site in Italy, smuggled out of the country and illegally imported to the U.S. by a man named Giacomo Medici.
From the story:
The Italian Department for the Protection of Cultural Heritage raided a Geneva, Switzerland warehouse owned by Medici in 1995. “During the search, authorities discovered that numerous art pieces located in the storage room had what appeared to be illegal provenances, or documents that trace ownership of art objects,” according to the complaint. “Authorities seized these pieces with suspected illegal provenances as well as many commercial documents and photographs relating to thousands of archaeological items that had already been sold.
“The joint investigations conducted by Italian, Swiss and British police led to the determination that all of the recovered artifacts originated from illegal excavations in Italy, in violation of Italian law.