Tripoli, 28 September 2013:
Documents discovered in Italian archives could help international police to intercept stolen items from the Benghazi Treasure.
Some 7,700 . . .[restrict]bronze, silver and gold coins, as well as items of jewellery, were stolen from storage at the National Commercial Bank in Benghazi’s Omar Mukhtar Street during the revolution. Although members of a Turkish gang were arrested last year on suspicion of involvement in the theft and smuggling of antiquities in the area, the Benghazi Treasure has yet to be recovered.
When an Italian archaeological mission visited Benghazi soon after the theft, it found that there were no comprehensive photographic records detailing the exact contents of the treasure, according to Italian Professor at the Second Naples University (SUN) and Director of the SUN Archaeological Mission in Cyrene, Serenella Ensoli.
Without in-depth information about stolen artefacts, it is difficult for international police to monitor illegal trade, so Italian researchers started to explore archives looking for details of the lost treasure. Enough documentation from the twentieth century has now been found to reconstruct much of the collection, providing valuable material for international police to work with.
The announcement came during a lecture by Ensoli entitled: “From the excavations at Cyrene to the Treasure of Benghazi: training courses and archival research.” The talk was part of a day-long seminar in Naples, on the SUN Mission in Cyrene and future prospects of bilateral exchange, which took place on the centenary of the Italian Archaeological Mission in Libya, established in 1913.
The day, which was organised by Ensoli, was attended by the Minister of Culture, Habib Al-Amin, as well as numerous academics. [/restrict]