May 30, 2006

As rich as Croesus indeed

Turkish curator held for stealing and replacing with forgeries treausres of Croesus.
The 2,500-year-old gold and silver artefacts had been repatriated after a lengthy legal battle with the Metropolitan Museum in New York more than a decade ago. Kazim Akbiyikoglu, director of the museum at Usak in western Turkey, who played a role in the return of the treasures, is suspected of involvement in the theft.

Kayhan Kavas, the Governor of Usak, received an anonymous letter five months ago, alleging that a golden-winged seahorse brooch had been stolen from the collection and replaced with a forgery. The item is from the treasure of Croesus, who lived in the 6th century BC.

An inquiry found that a coin and possibly other pieces had also gone, as well as the intricate 14-gram (½oz) seahorse. The theft is an embarrassment for Turkey, which long campaigned for the return of “the Lydian hoard”. In its efforts to reclaim hundreds of archaeological finds sold or spirited away from its shores — including the British Museum’s Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world — Turkey asserted that it was able to do as good a job of protecting its heritage as anyone.

No comments: