The black market for ancient items is huge. No one knows quite how huge but it is obviously a multi million dollar industry. Thankfully not all items destined for this market get there--sometimes they are found and brought back to light. I would like to share two triumphant stories today.

Four arrested trying to sell priceless Minoan statuette
The Archaeological News Netword rapports that Greek authorities have announced the arrest of four people in Iraklio, Crete, on charges of attempting to sell a priceless 3,500-year-old statuette of a young man, dated to the mid-Minoan era for the princely sum of one million euros. The 30 centimeter high bronze statuette is of a young man in worship, his hands folded across his chest, making it a unique find of its type throughout the island of Crete. The figure has long hair, a gold-plated belt and remains of gold leaf on its calves and left knee. At the base is a peg indicating that it was probably set on a pedestal in an area of worship. Archaeologists at the Lasithi Antiquities Ephorate have dated the statuette to the 16-15 century B.C.

The case was cracked as a result of a coordinated Hellenic Police (ELAS) operation that culminated in the arrests of four men, two aged 35 and two aged 41 years old. Police initially stopped one of the 35-year-olds driving a car, in which they found an ancient bronze artifact. The other three men were following behind in two private trucks and also arrested. The police inquiry revealed that the suspects had illegal possession of the statuette and that two of them had shown this to unknown prospective buyers, while the other two were acting as lookouts along the route. The statuette was handed over the antiquities ephorate and the car confiscated as evidence, while police are continuing the inquiry. The four suspects were led to the Lasithi misdemeanors' court prosecutor.

Bulgarian police seize rare classical Greek vase
Bulgarian police officers have confiscated a unique 5th century BC ancient Greek krater, a special vessel used for mixing wine, from a treasure hunter in the southern town of Susam, Haskovo District. A 33-year-old man has been arrested after the local police were tipped off, and searched his home and car. The extremely rare ancient krater was found in the man’s car, the press center of Bulgaria’s Ministry of Interior has announced. The ceramic vessel features a ritual scene from ancient Greek mythology.