The story began
in 2017 when a Belgian art collector put several archaeological elements up for
sale. The European art catalog offered pieces belonging to a Daunian funerary
stele, which were noticed by a State Archaeology lab in Apulia, southeast
The stele presented by the Belgian collector was missing its centerpiece. An official from the restoration lab had noticed that the missing part was exhibited in the museum’s collection. It represented a warrior on horseback and his shield.
This was indeed the proverbial missing piece in the puzzle, which set in motion the complete investigation. Soon, Italian authorities recovered nearly 800 separate artifacts which the Belgian collector had gathered illegally. The pieces included Daunian steles, red figure vases, black glazed Apulian ceramics, amphorae and a great number of terracotta figurines. The artifacts have been dated to the period between the 6th and the 3rd century BC, and their value has been estimated to 11 million Euros.
rare collection has been repatriated to