Friday, June 18

The dishonor of the lost eagle by the Roman legion that was sold on the internet | Culture


The eagle was the most important symbol of the Roman legions, above their flags o standards. It was carried by an officer, the aquilifer, and the loss of this signa militaria it was dishonor and shame for the soldiers. Now, the National Police has delivered one of these valuable pieces to the Archaeological Museum of Badajoz, in a double investigation in which 495 coins from between the 3rd and 4th centuries after Christ, two Neolithic axes and another piece from the Paleolithic.

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“The investigation began”, affirms the police in a statement, “when specialized agents of the Historical Heritage Brigade, carrying out tracking work on social networks, found a publication made by a person that showed a photograph in which some coins that, due to their appearance and number, had the appearance of being a recently plundered treasure ”. The treasures are monetary sets hidden by their owners in the face of imminent danger, an enemy attack, for example. They are usually underground and put in a bag or container, which provides a lot of information to archaeologists about the time of concealment. When the looters detect one of these treasures, they usually throw the container away because it has little or no access to the illegal market.

In this case, the agents managed to identify the author of the alleged sale and proceeded to seize the pieces “in fear that they might be lost.” The owner claimed to be a farmer who had found the treasure “that same morning” while doing agricultural work. He confirmed that all the coins were part of a single set and that he found them compacted, “so he didn’t really know what it was until he washed them at home.” So shortly after he put them up for sale on the internet, although he could not close any deal “due to the rapid police intervention.” “He voluntarily handed them over and indicated the exact place of the discovery,” says the police note. The agents have already delivered this material to the Archaeological Museum of Cáceres.

The experts of this museum received the pieces last Thursday, so, as they explain, “it would be very hasty to make an assessment at this time both for the number of pieces and for the short time elapsed”. At the moment, they point out, “it has only been possible to make a first contact, a mere visual identification, and it will require a long process of identification and evaluation until it is possible to pronounce with a minimum of rigor on the whole and on each one of them in particular”. “The volume of the material, with a very varied type and nature, allows to point out a more than enough interest to undertake the work”, they maintain.

Treasure looted in Badajoz and put up for sale on the internet.
Treasure looted in Badajoz and put up for sale on the internet.

The police, for their part, offer scant details of how they seized the eagle from the Roman legions and the pieces of the Paleolithic. It only states that, “in parallel [a la incautación de las monedas del agricultor], the agents located in social networks several people who showed different archaeological pieces that could have been plundered. After several steps, they managed to identify and locate them ”so that they would hand over the objects voluntarily.

These last materials – the eagle, two Neolithic axes and a piece from the Magdalenian Paleolithic – have been deposited in the Provincial Archaeological Museum of Badajoz. According to the estimate of specialized agents, these pieces could reach a value of 6,000 euros in the market. The direction of the Badajoz museum today congratulated the National Police for their work “both on the ground and on the social networks where these actions are disseminated.” His work, sources from the institution say, “has been, as always, effective and commendable.”


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