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20 December 2008
Farmer digs up ancient sanctuary in Italy

A farmer working his land south of Rome dug up hundreds of artifacts from a 2,600-year-old sanctuary, but ran afoul of police when he tried to sell the ancient hoard, officials said. After spotting fragments of pottery in soil dug up by the farmer, authorities searched his home last month and seized more than 500 artifacts, including perfume vials, cups and miniature vases used as votive objects.
     The art squad of the Carabinieri paramilitary police said the farmer was placed under investigation for allegedly trafficking in antiquities. Ancient artifacts found in Italy are considered state property, and finds must be reported to authorities. Archaeologists said they will continue to excavate the sanctuary, which dates back to the 7th-6th century BCE and is located outside the town of Aprilia, some 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Rome.
     The find could expand knowledge about the area's history in pre-Roman times, when it was inhabited by Latin-speaking people under the influence of the Etruscan civilization that dominated central Italy, experts said.

Sources: Associated Press, GMA News (17 December 2008)

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