Protection of cultural heritage, 248 archaeological coins and other finds returned to the State


By John

This morning at the National Archaeological Museum of Reggio Calabriathe Commander of the Carabinieri Cultural Heritage Protection Unit of Cosenza handed over to the ABAP Superintendent for the metropolitan city of Reggio Calabria and the province of Vibo Valentia 253 cultural assets recovered as part of investigation activities coordinated by the Public Prosecutor's Office of Palms. The event took place in the presence of the Prefect of Reggio Calabria, the Chief Prosecutor of the Republic of Palmi (RC), the Provincial Commander of the Carabinieri of Reggio Calabria, the Director of the National Archaeological Museum of Reggio Calabria as well as the civil, military and religious authorities .

The investigation, which allowed the recovery of archaeological and paleontological assets for a total value estimated in the order of approximately 300,000.00 euros, was conducted in 2013 by the Carabinieri of the TPC Unit of Cosenza, coordinated by the Public Prosecutor's Office of Palmi ( RC), and originated from a customs control at the Reggio Calabria airport on the baggage of two Italian passengers arriving from Mexico. Following in-depth investigations, 648 silver and bronze coins from the Magna Graecia, Roman and medieval periods were seized, as well as 37 artefacts of presumable historical archaeological interest dating back to Magna Graecia and the civilizations of Central America, kept in the house. of a professional from Reggio.
With the collaboration of the archaeological officials of the Archaeological Superintendence of Calabria and the National Prehistoric Ethnographic Museum “L. Pigorini” of Rome, it was ascertained that 28 archaeological finds seized were indisputably authentic, dating back to the “ancient preclassical (1100-900 BC) and postclassical (1300-1521 AD)” periods and coming from the cultures of the central plateau and the Gulf Coast of Mexico. For nine archaeological objects, kept in the luggage intercepted in Reggio Calabria, officials of the Mexican Ministry of Culture requested and obtained their return in 2016 as they were pertinent to the cultural heritage of that State. For the remaining 253 cultural assets, following the sentence which became final on 20 February 2024, the Court of Palmi (RC) ordered the confiscation and restitution to the rightful owner, identified in the Italian State, through delivery to the ABAP Superintendence of Reggio Calabria . These include: a group of 240 authentic copper coins and 8 silver coins attributable to the Greek and medieval ages, the greatest concentration of which can be identified in the coinages of the Roman era; two “dressel” – dating back to the 1st century BC and the 2nd century. AD – that is, wine transport containers which were very widespread in the first half of the imperial era, whose first origin was in Greece (island of Rhodes) but which later also extended to various locations in Magna Graecia including Calabria; a clay lamp, dating back to the early Roman imperial age, with decoration on the disc; a vase fragment, dating back to the 4th century. BC, red-figure of Italian production; a tooth of an extinct proboscidean of the Gomphotheriidae family (commonly known as “mastodons”), widespread in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. In Italy the species Anancus arvernensis is known, widespread between the end of the Miocene (10 million years ago) and the initial phases of the Pleistocene (about 1.5 million years ago).

Today's restitution of the recovered cultural assets to the state heritage is the result of complex activities, carried out in close synergy with the central and peripheral bodies of the MiC, as well as the commitment and professionalism of women and men, military and civilian, highly specialized in specific sector, which have allowed us to save important testimonies of the community's identity which tell us their story and, consequently, ours.