Two antiquities repatriated from Switzerland

The Greek Ministry of Culture announced on Thursday the repatriation of two antiquities from Switzerland to Greece on January 23.

According to a ministry statement, two antiquities that had been illegally removed from Greek territory at an unknown time were repatriated from Bern. These are:

– A fragment of a stone inscription (0.186m x 0.169m x 0.086m) from which five verses with main names are partially preserved. The inscription dates to the Hellenistic era (late 3rd – early 2nd century BCE) and is said to originate from the island of Kos.

– A fragment of a marble Ionic capital (0.228m x 0.228m x 0.17m), dating to the Roman era (1st – 2nd century CE), with its provenance stated as the Ancient Agora of Corinth.

According the  Ministry of Culture, “The objects were delivered by Swiss citizens in the autumn of 2022 and spring of 2023, respectively, to the Archaeological Service of the Canton of the Grisons (Canton des Grisons), which documented their Greek origin. In implementation of the bilateral agreement between the Federal Council of the Swiss Confederation and the Government of the Hellenic Republic on the import, transit, and repatriation of cultural goods, ratified by Law 3915/2011, the Federal Office of Culture of Switzerland informed appropriately the Embassy of Greece in Bern and the Directorate of Documentation and Protection of Cultural Property, as the competent authority of the Greek Ministry of Culture.”

The repatriation of these two ancient artifacts, the ministry said, “demonstrates the effectiveness of bilateral agreements for preventing and addressing the illegal trafficking of cultural goods that Greece has entered into with many countries, in line with the relevant recommendation of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. It also serves as evidence of the impact of various initiatives implemented both nationally and internationally to raise awareness among citizens about the issue of antiquities trafficking and the need to protect cultural heritage”.