A number of ancient Greek artefacts have been returned to the Greek Government during a ceremony in
Melbourne on July 21, 2000. The 33 artefacts are a step closer to returning to their rightful home following the handover by Federal Minister for
the Arts, Peter McGauran.
'The artefacts were taken from Greece and illegally exported to Australia in 1994. They were located by the
Australian Federal Police who were conducting an investigation into that allegation,' Federal Justice and Customs
Minister, Senator Amanda Vanstone said.
The Greek Government, in seeking their return, stated a number of the artefacts were stolen from Greek Museums
and several pots bear identification markings of the Byzantine Museum.
The works are conservatively valued at over $4 million and include icons, urns, jugs and bowls ranging from the
8th century BC to the 4th century AD.
'The rediscovery of these magnificent artefacts is wonderful news,' Mr McGauran said.
'The Australian Government is delighted to return them to Greece-the country that has shaped so much of western
arts practice,' he said.
The works will be returned under the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1989, which controls the
export and import of the most significant aspects of movable cultural heritage. It also provides for the return of
other nation's cultural property that has been illegally imported into Australia.
The artefacts were today handed over to the Secretary General of the Greek Ministry for Culture, Dr Lina
Mendoni, His Excellency Ioannis Beveratos, Ambassador of Greece to Australia and Curator of Athenian
Antiquities, Dr Liana Parlama.