GREEK police have recovered an ancient statue that was illegally excavated and hidden in a goat pen near Athens, and arrested the goat herder and another man who were allegedly trying to sell the work for €500,000.
The marble statue of a young woman dates to about 520 BC and belongs to the kore type, a police statement said yesterday.
Although dozens of examples kore statues and its male equivalent, the kouros, are displayed in Greek and foreign museums, the type is considered very important in the development and understanding of Greek art. New discoveries in good condition are uncommon. Archaeologists who inspected the find estimated its market value at €12 million.
Still bearing traces of soil, the statue has the hint of a smile on its lips, elaborately braided hair and an ankle-length gown.
Detectives are seeking to determine where the statue was excavated, which could potentially lead archaeologists to a previously unknown 6th century BC sanctuary or cemetery.