A COUPLE from Baena, Cordoba province have been arrested for illegally hoarding 119 pieces of great archaeological value in a store room.

The man and woman who had a background in historical items were planning to sell the valuable items online.

The discovery made by the Guardia Civil was of works described by experts as ‘of a quality that can only be seen in Rome or in the Louvre’.

Francisco Luque from the Guardia in Sevilla said the collection included a bust of a woman from Roman times that is ‘unique and absolutely exceptional’.

Cordoba Archaeological Museum head, Maria Dolores Baena, said the bust could originate from the first third of the second century and could be of Salonina Matidia, niece of emperor Trajan and mother of Vibia Sabina, wife of emperor Hadrian.

An array of sculptures and coins were discovered including an ‘exceptional’ coin in which the image of Brutus- one of the killers of Julius Caesar- appears.

2023 06 26 Op Plotina Sevilla 02

Dolores Baena said it is a diverse collection including ‘absolutely exceptional’ sculptures and ceramics through ancient Greek, Ibero-Roman and Roman coins of ‘exotic rarity’.

Operation Plotina started towards the end of 2021 to track down the perpetrators of illegal sales of cultural property in the Cordoba and Sevilla area resulting in over 1,079 cultural assets seized and 19 arrests.

The Baena items are now in the custody of Cordoba’s Archaeological Museum.


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