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Ancient Greek relics repatriated from Switzerland

Two antiquity fragments that were taken out of Greece illegally were repatriated from the Swiss capital on January 23, the Culture Ministry said on Thursday.

One fragment bears an inscription carved in stone, dating from late 3rd century BC to early 2nd century BC, while the other is part of a marble Ionic column capital dating to Roman times, 1st to 2nd century AD.

According to the Culture Ministry, the piece of the stone inscription, measuring at just 186mmX169mmX086mm, seems to be listing five lines of names, and originates from the Dodecanese island of Kos.

The capital fragment, measuring 228mmX228mmX17mm, seems to originate from the ancient Agora, or marketplace, of Corinth, in the Peloponnese peninsula.

The ministry has said that the fragments were given to the archeological service of Switzerland’s Grisons canton by Swiss citizens and were later identified to be of Greek origin.

The fragments were repatriated following a bilateral agreement between Athens and the Swiss Federal Council.

“The repatriation of the two ancient objects demonstrates the effectiveness of bilateral agreements that Greece has pursued with many states in an effort to prevent the illegal trafficking of cultural antiquities,” the Culture Ministry said, making reference to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

No further details were available on how and when the two antiquities found their way to Switzerland.