Where Police See Looted Antiquities, a Mayor Sees a Museum

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tags: museums, NYT, Spain

ARANDA DE MONCAYO, Spain — The roads leading to this tiny, hilltop village of 200 inhabitants are so narrow and untraveled that no one has ever bothered to paint a white line down the middle.

But lately there has been a bit of international intrigue here. A man, who largely kept to himself but was sometimes seen out at night wandering around with a metal detector, has been arrested.

Investigators searched his homes, here and elsewhere, and found more than 4,000 looted antiquities. Most of them, they say, had been dug up from the hill next door, which on close inspection has an unusual array of crumbling stone structures. Two thousand years ago, it seems, a bustling metropolis, called Aratikos, sat atop that hill, only to be destroyed by invading Romans.

“You and me, we see stones if we look over there,” said Rosario Cabrera, the mayor of Aranda de Moncayo, as she stood on the village ramparts, nodding in the direction of the Aratikos hill. “But an expert sees a doorway.”...

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