Swiss customs seize Roman sarcophagus

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A Roman sarcophagus, believed to have been excavated illegally from an archaeological site close to the southern Turkish province of Antalya, has been seized from a Swiss warehouse by authorities, a customs official said March 26. 

File photo shows a sarcophagus seized by the police in Antalya in 2011 [Credit: AA/Hurriyet]

The marble tomb, bearing carvings depicting the 12 labors of Hercules, dates to 2 A.D. It was found by customs officials who were conducting inventory checks at Geneva’s tax-free warehouses, said Jean-Marc Renaud, the head of Switzerland’s central customs services, confirming a Swiss television report. 

According to Swiss television, Turkish capital Ankara is seeking restitution of the sarcophagus believed to have originated from the Greek-Roman archaeological site of Perge, about 22 kilometers from Antalya. 

Swiss customs are currently holding the object and have brought the case to Geneva prosecutors, who opened a probe last year.  

Source: Hurriyet Daily News [March 28, 2012]