“Orpheus and the Sirens” return to Puglia: the thousand-year-old statues stolen in the 1970s have been returned from New York and welcomed to the MArTA in Taranto. Minister Sangiuliano was also present at the ceremony. Emiliano: “I thank the Minister and the Carabinieri for the extraordinary work” – VIDEO

I thank Minister Sangiuliano for his presence here, the carabinieri of the Cultural Heritage Protection unit who have done an extraordinary job, led by General Molinese who is from Puglia and is a person who cares a lot about the recovery of works of art stolen in Italy, and in particular in Puglia. Above all, I take as a very positive signal what the minister said with reference to making Taranto the cultural capital of the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean Games, which are making us suffer, are a milestone in achieving this goal, linking Taranto to the great capitals of the Mediterranean. We have had this plan in mind for many years and we hope to be able to implement it quickly, with the collaboration of ministers such as Sangiuliano”. This was stated by the president of the Puglia RegionMichele Emiliano participating this morning in Taranto, in the presence of the Minister of Culture Gennaro Sangiuliano , in the presentation of the sculptural group of Orpheus and the Sirens , three almost life-size terracotta statues, with fragments of their hair curls, from the 4th century BC :
The works are definitively placed in the new layout of the MArTA , the Archaeological Museum of Taranto. It is a work of inestimable value, the result of a clandestine excavation in an archaeological area in the area in the 1970s and subsequently illegally exported to the United States of America :
The statues most likely belonged to a funerary monument or a sanctuary.
The investigations that allowed the work to be returned to Italy were conducted by the Carabinieri of the Cultural Heritage Protection Command (TPC), coordinated by the Taranto Public Prosecutor’s Office with the important support of the District Attorney’s Office of Manhattan-New York (USA ) and with the close collaboration of Homeland Security Investigations. The search started when the military discovered that a well-known suspect in crimes against cultural heritage, making use of an organization with international ties, had carried out a series of trafficking in archaeological finds , the proceeds of a clandestine excavation in the province of Taranto.

During the investigative activities it was discovered that the well-known trafficker had played a role in the excavation and illicit export of the ‘ Orpheus and the Sirens’ sculpture group . In the new layout of the MArTA , in addition to the sculptural group of ‘ Orpheus and the Sirens ‘, the recent findings are also on display as a result of the activities carried out by the TPC Operations Department to combat the illicit trafficking of cultural assets. These assets were recovered from the United States of America in a period between December 2021 and the last few weeks: an impressive corpus of works with numerous pieces of archeology from various civilizations.

Present at the presentation press conference were, among others, Vincenzo Molinese , Commander of the Carabinieri for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, Massimo Osanna , Director General of Museums, Eugenia Pontassuglia , Public Prosecutor in Taranto, Rinaldo Melucci, Mayor of Taranto. VIDEOS :

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