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Ancient oil flask returns to Athens

Following negotiations by the Greek Government, a lekythos or flask used for oil has now returned to Athens from a private collection in Switzerland.

Athens News Agency [1]

Ancient lekythos returned

Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis on Monday officially presented an ancient marble oil flask or lekythos dating from the 4th century B.C. that was returned to Greece from a private collection in Switzerland, at a press conference held at the National Archaeological Museum.

The procedure to repatriate the ancient artifact was completed last Thursday and in a few days it will be taken to the museum’s conservation workshops, where it will remain for two months.

It is a funerary lekythos depicting a farewell banquet for the deceased, in a classic farewell scene. It was presented at an international antiquities dealers exhibition in 2007 in Maastricht, where it was put up for auction by a Swiss antiquities dealer.

After a series of negotiations, the Swiss dealer decided to hand over the lekythos to the Greek government in an out-of-court settlement, without reservations or conditions. It was delivered to a representative of the Greek embassy in Berne and then crated in the customs free zone in Basel before being transported to Greece.

In statements at the press conference, Liapis said that the ministry was considering an exhibition at the New Acropolis Museum in the autumn that would feature all the ancient artifacts repatriated to Italy, which would be completed with artifacts repatriated to Greece.

Liapis was then shown around the National Archaeological Museum’s Egyptian collection, made up of some 1,200 sculptures, that will open officially on May 14.