Archaeological sites plundered and relics forged in massive scam
The Civil Guard has recovered more than 30,000 objects of archaeological interest, most of them from sites in Spain.
Among the material in-tervened, in addition to the authentic pieces, there are many counterfeit objects which in many cases were sold on as genuine.
The operation has resulted in the arrest of ten people in different locations in Cáceres, Cádiz, Granada and Seville. Twelve metal detectors were also seized. Their use is prohibited in certain areas as they are considered one of the greatest threats to the survival of archaeological heritage, even above the construction of buildings.
“It is necessary to emphasise that these objects are extracted without any scientific methodology, totally disturbing the archaeological deposit from which they come, losing forever its true historical-cultural value,” said a police spokesman.
The operation was initiated after investigators detected numerous objects of archaeological interest put on sale through the internet, which has become the largest platform for the legal sale of this type of material, but also a place where you can sell objects that come from of the commission of crimes of expoliation, and ultimately of illicit trafficking in cultural property.
In addition to online, many of these pieces were sold to trusted customers and buyers in good faith, who were really victims of a crime of fraud.
Among the items recovered is a large quantity of old, authentic and counterfeit coins, as well as diverse archaeological material in metal and ceramics, such as Roman and Phoenician amphoras, busts and various remains of a mosaic of Roman origin of great size.
These objects are being catalogued to determine which are real or counterfeit.
“Operation NORBA, is a clear example of the per-manent involvement of the Civil Guard in the defence of the Spanish Historical Heritage and the fight against criminal groups that focus their activity on the pillaging of archaeo-logical sites, as is the case,” say the police.