I am completely swamped at the moment, so I am going to leave you with a news round-up today. I'll have something different for you tomorrow, I promise!

Aphrodite statue of dubious provenance spotted at Christies Auction House
One more ancient statue that has passed through the warehouses of Robin Symes, convicted for dealing in illicit antiquities, has been spotted by archaeologist Christos Tsirogiannis in the Christie's auction house catalogue: the torso of a draped goddess, believed to be a Roman copy of a Hellenistic work that may represent Aphrodite (Venus).

Dr. Tsirogiannis, who works as a researcher at the University of Oxford, has sent a written report to Interpol and New York Police Department. According to the report, the ancient sculpture, listed in the Christie's catalogue as lot number 92, appears to be identical to that found in the confiscated archives of Robin Symes. The auction house has failed to list the 'Symes collection' in the history of the statue's provenance.

 "As over 93% of the antiquities sold by Symes were illegal, it would be useful to investigate the full collection history and true source of the sculpture, especially before 1991."

Christie's auction house has yet to respond to these allegations. Read more at the Archaeological News Network.

Ancient Hellenic sculpture perhaps inspiration for China's Terracotta Warriors
Archaeologists studying the Terracotta Warriors say that inspiration for the famed army built to guard the tomb of China’s first emperor near today’s Xian may have come from Ancient Hellas. Experts believe that the 8,000 statues may have been crafted under the guidance of ancient Hellenic sculptors in 3rd Century BC. Their findings suggest that western contact with China began long before European explorer Marco Polo arrived in China. Senior archaeologist Li Xiuzhen, from the Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum Site Museum was quoted as saying:

"We now have evidence that close contact existed between the First Emperor's China and the West before the formal opening of the Silk Road. This is far earlier than we formerly thought."

Meanwhile, a separate study cited by the BBC shows that European-specific mitochondrial DNA was found in China's westernmost Xinjiang Province, indicating that Westerners traveled, settled and died in the area before and during the time of the First Emperor. That would be 1,500 years earlier than commonly held. Read more ar the Archaeological News Network.