Swiss federal authorities introduced on Tuesday the repatriation of a marble head depicting a younger lady from the Hellenistic interval, estimated to be round 2,000 years previous.
The sculpture, found a decade in the past in a warehouse in Geneva, is taken into account an “archaeological treasure of significant value” and a outstanding testimony to Hellenistic affect in North Africa, as highlighted in a press launch from the Federal Office of Culture.
Measuring 19 centimeters in peak, the sculpture dates again to the interval between the first century BC and the first century AD and is believed to originate from the archaeological website of the traditional metropolis of Cyrene, situated within the Cyrenaica area of present-day Libya.
The discovery of this sculpture occurred in 2013 throughout an inspection at a customs warehouse in Geneva. It was formally returned to Bern on Tuesday by the director of the Federal Office of Culture on the Libyan embassy in Switzerland.
The Geneva public prosecutor’s workplace initiated proceedings three years after its discovery, suspecting that the sculpture may need been uncovered by unauthorized excavations. Unfortunately, the investigation didn’t pinpoint the precise location of the sculpture’s discovery or the way it ended up in Switzerland.
The marble head bears a definite reddish patina, providing clues about its origin. The Federal Office of Culture notes that the Cyrenaica area stands out as one of many few locations within the Mediterranean basin the place such high-quality marble and “terra rossa” may be discovered.
Highlighting the vulnerability of Libyan heritage, particularly UNESCO World Heritage websites like Cyrene, the press launch underlines the numerous risk posed by looting and destruction. In 2015, the International Council of Museums flagged Libyan antiquities as endangered, aiming to fight the illicit commerce and destruction of cultural property.
Both Switzerland and Libya are signatories to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Prohibition of Import, Illicit Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, which goals to safeguard cultural heritage towards unlawful trafficking and exploitation.