Under the right circumstances, I can understand why people commit actions that are labelled crimes; if you are a mother and you can't feed your kids, I understand why you would steal food, for example. Actions like these expose the faults in a money-driven society that sometimes forgets about the humans who try to operate in it. I have no respect at all, however, for looters and smugglers of ancient artefacts.
Million-euro marble statue seized by Greek authorities
A photograph released by the police shows the ancient statue
[Credit: To Vima]
A police officer from Greece's antiquities protection department has recently been arrested on suspicion of being part of a smuggling ring that was trying to sell an ancient marble statue worth an estimated 1 million euros (1.35 million dollars). The 49 year old officer was arrested with eight other suspects, following raids and searches at 11 areas in greater Athens and two others in towns in central and northern Greece, or so the Archaeology News Network rapports.
The image above shows the almost intact 1,900 year old Graeco-Roman era statue of a male figure that the police officer was trying to smuggle out of the country. The statue measures 65 centimetres (25.5 inches) from head-to-knee, and has been kept at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens since it was seized.

There have been more seizures of smuggled or about-to-be-smuggled items over the last few months--and years, really. Some of these artefacts have been stolen from existing art collections while others have been illegally excavated, going straight from the ground into an underground network of smuggling and sales. Ancient artefacts form a lucrative business because--apparently--many people are willing to pay for them even when they have no idea where the artefacts come from. Or maybe--and that worries me more--they do. Sadly, any straight-from-the-ground artefact that reaches the underground market will not be catalogued, will not be researched, will not add to the fount of knowledge we already have of the ancient culture it belonged to. As a Hellenist and lover of history, I find it nearly impossible to wrap my head around these practices and I am pleased that raids and searches are being conducted to put an end to these practices. At least this police officer didn't get away with his crime.