x

Culture

US Returns Smuggled Ancient Artifacts to Libya

TRIPOLI, Libya — The United States on Thursday returned a cache of smuggled ancient artifacts to Libya as the oil-rich Mediterranean country struggles to protect its heritage against the backdrop of years of war, turmoil and unrest.

The repatriated items include two sculptures dating to the 4th century B.C. from the ancient city of Cyrene.

One, named the “Veiled Head of a Female,” was previously in the hands of a private collector of other illegal artifacts, according to a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Libya. The other, also a Hellenic bust, had been at the Metropolitan Museum of New York since 1998, the statement said. Both were displayed by Libyan antiquities officials at a reception ceremony in the country’s capital, Tripoli.

A collection of ancient pottery is displayed, as part of a cache of antiquities is returned to Libya from the United States on Thursday, March 31, 2022 ,Tripoli, Libya. (AP Photo/Yousef Murad).

Libyan antiquities authorities thanked American officials and law enforcement for the returned items and said that they looked forward to future cooperation. The embassy credited the work of the Manhattan District Attorney’s office and Homeland Security Investigations officials for the recovery of the artifacts.

“Although these antiquities were brought illegally to the United States by traffickers, legal efforts have succeeded in returning them to their country of origin,” the embassy statement read.

Libya boasts many ancient Greek and Roman structures, along with a wealth of ancient artifacts in its major museum in the capital of Tripoli and in other museums countrywide, though its archeological sites have been plundered for decades.

A Hellenic sculpture of a head from the ancient Libya city of Cyrene is displayed after it was returned by the United States Thursday, March 31, 2022 ,Tripoli, Libya. (AP Photo/Yousef Murad)

Libya has been wrecked by chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. The country was after that split for years between rival administrations in the east and the west, each supported by an array of militias and foreign governments.

Large-scale fighting has only stopped in the past year, but Libyans have yet to unite under a single political leadership, despite strenuous U.N.-led efforts.

The Greeks founded the settlement of Cyrene, close to the modern town of Shahat, in the 4th century B.C. It was later incorporated into the Roman empire. The United Nations added Cyrene to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1982 and it has been classified as a location that is particularly endangered due to neglect and looting since 2016.

 

RELATED

NEW YORK — Something was missing when Fox announced its plans for the fall television season: a schedule.

Top Stories

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

General News

PHILADELPHIA – The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley announced that the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece will be participating in the Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade on March 20.

Video

Mitsotakis Meets with Biden at the White House (Video)

WASHINGTON, DC – Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with US President Joe Biden at the White House on Monday, in the first day of an official two-day visit to the American capital.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.