Belgium to return Greek artifacts

10th February 2009, Comments 0 comments

Greece keen to see return of 'stolen' historical items.

ATHENS - Belgium has agreed to return several artifacts unearthed at an ancient site in Greece 40 years ago, the Greek ministry of culture and the Belgian ambassador said Monday.

Pieces of pottery and coins dating from the 5th to the 7th centuries had recently been discovered in a basement at the University of Ghent in Belgium, a statement from the ministry said.

Belgium's ambassador to Greece Pierre Vaesen told AFP that a team of Belgian archaeologists working in the ancient city of Thorikos had taken the finds out of Greece 40 years ago, but only to protect them and examine them more closely.

"The collection had not been carefully stored or indexed, it is clear that it was not headed for a dealer," Vaesen said.

He added that Belgian officials would hand back the collection by April at the latest.

Greece has stepped up its campaign in recent years to reclaim historical antiquities that it says have been stolen.


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