Pillaging Italy's precious history
"I almost had a heart attack," says Casasanta, one of Italy's most successful tombaroli, or tomb robbers. "I knew I had discovered something very beautiful and very valuable."
Casasanta, his son and an associate working a small Caterpillar power shovel were digging in broad daylight at an archeological site east of Rome called l'Inviolata. He discovered the temple site in 1970, when he pulled 63 statues, illegally, from the earth. But none compared to his find 22 years later.
The first to emerge from the dirt was the goddess Minerva, followed by Juno and then Jupiter. The most powerful gods of the Roman pantheon sat together in a six-tonne marble sculpture — the only example ever found in which the gods of the Triad, a symbol of state power in ancient Rome, are intact.
Casasanta whisked what is now known as the Capitoline Triad to his antiquities shop in Rome. He cleaned it, crated it, and sold it to a Geneva collector for $3 million (U.S.).
comments powered by Disqus
- Coming Soon, a Century Late: A Black Film Gem
- The discovery that complicated the history of sex change operations
- NYT identifies the person who exposed Gary Hart's philandering
- Decades After Trinity Nuclear Test in New Mexico, U.S. Studies Cancer Fallout
- Lawrence Of Arabia's Hand-Drawn, WWI Map Is Up for Auction
- Ken Burns and the Myth of Theodore Roosevelt
- What Ken Burns Doesn't Understand about the Roosevelts
- A call for historians to do macro history
- Colorado school board, worried about the new AP framework, wants to make sure high school kids are taught patriotic history
- Professor premieres animated short on Pueblo revolt on PBS