A weapon hunt has ultimately led to what is termed as a ‘priceless’ archaeological discovery (of a different kind). In a recent effort from the Italian police to search and locate an illegal stash of weapons inside a house near the Sicilian city of Enna, officers came across a hoard of artifacts all neatly packed in cardboard boxes and plastic crates. According to later assessment, all of these antediluvian objects – totaling around 254 pieces, date from between the 5th – 2nd centuries BC, thus suggesting their origins in Magna Graecia, a conglomeration of originally Greek settlements (later Romanized) situated by the coastline of southern Italy.
Among the ‘unforeseen’ find, the officers identified variant artifacts, ranging from vases, oil lamps to terracotta figures. Interestingly enough, preliminary analysis has revealed some degree of salt incrustation on their surfaces, which alludes to how they were possibly snatched from beneath the seas. Simply put, they were probably smuggled after being located underwater, to be ultimately sold in the antiques black market. In fact, the house itself belonged to a man who had been previously charged for various felonies. But fortunately because of the chance discovery, the ancient Greek artifacts are now handed over to the cultural heritage authority in Enna.
Mythology, it seems, also had its poetic justice – since the house was located on a hill above Pergusa Lake. According to Greek mythological traditions, the lake was the very place where Hades kidnapped Persephone and forcibly brought her down to the underworld. As a stern reaction, her mother Demeter made the lands wither and enforced the return of her daughter in spring and summer months – thus starting the cyclic events of yearly seasons. Lastly, even from historical perspective, the archaeological site of Cozzo Matrice is located by the Pergusa Lake, with the remains of a prehistoric fortified village dating from the Neolithic era.
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