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Greeks Confiscate Ancient Objects

March 22, 2000

ATHENS, Greece (AP) _ Authorities confiscated more than 50 ancient burial objects found in the home of a man suspected of illegally excavating tombs dating from the Mycenaean period, police said Wednesday.

Dimitris Haidas, 42, was arrested Tuesday in Corinth, 50 miles west of Athens, after a search of his home revealed 55 ancient artifacts dating from the Mycenaean period, between the 16th and 12th centuries BC.

All objects, including jars, vases, statuettes and coins, were found in tombs in the Corinth area, police said. A Corinth museum archaeologist who examined the items found many to be ``rare and unique and of particularly great archaeological, historical, scientific and commercial value,″ a police announcement said.

Corinth is just a few miles north of Mycenae, where the ancient citadel uncovered in the 19th century is known traditionally as the capital of King Agamemnon, whose legendary battle against the Trojans was featured in Homer’s epic ‘The Odyssey’.

Authorities also confiscated 21 detonators and a length of slow-burning fuse believed to have been used by Haidas to open the ancient tombs. Police are searching for Haidas’ partner, Styliani Kiose, 50, who allegedly assisted him in the excavations.

Under Greek law, it is illegal to excavate, own, purchase or sell antiquities without a permit.

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