Greek wildfire reveals hoard of plundered antiquities

Some of the recovered pottery is as old as the famed Hirschfeld Krater, 8th century BC, which was fund in Dipylon, Athens. Photo copyright Eve Andersson, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

ATHENS, Greece (AP) – A brush fire in central Greece has helped authorities discover a hoard of illegally excavated antiquities.

The Greek culture ministry said Friday that firefighters trying to extinguish the blaze found about 200 artifacts, some as much as 2,800 years old, in plastic bags hidden under bushes.

The discovery was made Thursday in the countryside between the villages of Livanates and Megaplatanos, some 150 kilometers (93 miles) northwest of Athens. A ministry statement said most of the pottery and metal objects were unharmed by the fire, while some bore traces of smoke.

Authorities are trying to establish who excavated and hid the artifacts, some of which had been cleaned and undergone basic repairs on the spot.

Under Greek law, all ancient artifacts found in the country are state property.

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