The massive collection of illegal antiquities uncovered by authorities on the tiny Aegean island of Schinoussa is unique and probably the largest ever seen in Greece, police told Kathimerini yesterday.
Policemen and archaeologists were still combing through artifacts at the villa of an unnamed woman from a wealthy shipping family. The raid came after a search of her home in Athens, where more antiquities were found.
“I have never seen such unique items before in my life. I do not think I will ever handle such a big case again during my career,” an officer from the Antiquities Department of the Attica Police, who preferred not to be named, told Kathimerini.
Among the most impressive items found on Schinoussa, south of Naxos, was a completely rebuilt ancient temple. The temple, made using artifacts from various eras, covers an area of some 30 square meters. A Byzantine icon was found inside the temple.
By last night, some 50 artifacts had been recorded by experts but archaeologists told Kathimerini that it was unclear how long it would take to register all of them.
“It is a huge area and wherever we turn, we find ancient objects either hidden or being used openly for decoration,” an archaeologist who preferred not to be named told Kathimerini. He said the collection had a very high value.
Police believe that the artifacts are related in some way to the collection of Robin Symes, an antiquities dealer from London. Symes was involved in a two-year legal battle with the family of his business partner Christos Michailidis, who died in 1999.
The family won the right to half of the collection. Police believe the house in Schoinousa previously belonged to Symes and Michailidis.