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Repatriation Ceremony, October 19

Date:

10/27/2017


Repatriation Ceremony, October 19

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PRESS RELEASE

New York: Recovery in United States of exceptional cultural property looted from Italian archeological sites as well as stolen artifacts. Among the items of most historical importance is a portion of flooring from the ceremonial ship of the Roman Emperor Caligula which was discovered between 1928 and 1932 in Lake of Nemi, in the vicinity of Rome.

On October 19, 2017, at 6:00pm, at the Italian Consulate General of New York, in the presence of the Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Bridget M. Rohde, of the Chief Assistant District Attorney of the New York County District Attorney’s Office Karen Friedman Agnifilo, of the Acting Deputy Assistant Director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Mr. Anthony Scandiffio, and with the participation of H.E. Armando Varricchio, Ambassador of Italy to the United States, and of Brigadier General Fabrizio Parrulli, Commander of the Carabinieri for the Protection of Cultural Heritage (Carabinieri TPC); A repatriation ceremony will be held to return various extraordinary Italian cultural masterpieces to the Minister of Cultural Heritage and Tourism, the Honorable Dario Franceschini. The recovery of these works of art is the result of investigations conducted by the Carabinieri TPC in their constant efforts to combat the trafficking of cultural property looted from Italian archeological sites or stolen from public institutions in Italy. The following are various important recoveries:

- A II century A.D. fragment of a Roman marble mosaic composed of porphyry cobbles with a wavy pattern. The marble mosaic was originally part of the flooring of one of the two ceremonial ships of Emperor Caligula which sank in Lake of Nemi, in the vicinity of Rome. The flooring was discovered during scientific excavations conducted by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage between 1928 and 1932. The Roman marble mosaic flooring was stolen after WWII from the Museum of Roman Ships in Nemi where it was kept under inventory. The item was discovered in New York by the Carabinieri TPC in conjunction with experts in this field. The flooring was part of a private collection of an Italian national residing in the US. It was consequently seized by the District Attorney in Manhattan, New York based on evidence provided by the Carabinieri TPC.

- An Apulian red figure krater, 360-350 b.C., attributed to the Python painter, looted from Campania, Southern Italy, sometime before 1985. Inquiries proved that the krater had been handled and illegally exported by a well-known Italian international trafficker of artifacts. The krater was eventually found at the Metropolitan Museum of New York, where it has been recovered by the District Attorney in Manhattan, New York.

- An Ancient red figure amphora V century b.C., attributed to the Charmides painter. The amphora was looted in Puglia, Southern Italy, sometime before 1983. The artifact was discovered in 2016 by Carabinieri TPC specialized analysts, during the monitoring of New York art gallery websites. Further inquiries conducted both in Italy and the US, in collaboration with Homeland Security Investigations New York and Homeland Security Investigations Attaché Rome, resulted in the seizure of the amphora. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York reached a conclusion that the artifact had been handled by a well-known international trafficker.

During this ceremony, other important masterpieces will be returned to the Republic of Italy, to include archeological artifacts, ancient coins, antique books and manuscripts. These items had already been recovered between March and May 2017, by the Carabinieri TPC in collaboration with HSI and with the New York County District Attorney’s Office. These items have been on display until today at the Italian Consulate General in New York (see attachment).
This important event not only demonstrates how the restitution to the community, of precious objects safeguards the reconstruction of their historical, cultural and social journey, but it also shows the extraordinary collaboration established, over the years, between the Carabinieri TPC and the Judicial Authorities as well as U.S. Federal and State Law Enforcement, and in particular with the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the New York County District Attorney’s Office, as well as Homeland Security Investigations.

List of recoveries that have been returned.

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