April 14, 2006

Cyprus’s lost artefacts in Cheshire

Posted at 1:08 pm in Similar cases

In a slightly unusual case, some Cypriot artefacts that found their way into the UK completely legally are being investigated by Interpol. It does not seem that Cyprus has any claim as such on these pieces as such – so hopefully the situation will be resolved rapidly. If the situation is resolved in such a way that the pieces can remain in Britain, this should help to convince that British Museum that countries do not want all artefacts returned – only those that were acquired illegally.

Manchester Evening News

Thursday, 13th April 2006
Treasures caught in tug of war

TREASURES dating back more than 4,000 years and found in a Cheshire loft are about to be caught up an international “tug of war”.

The ceramic vessels and bronze artefacts were thought to be “old holiday trinkets” from Cyprus. But now the Cypriot government wants them back.

If it hadn’t been for the keen eye of archaeologist James Balme, the items could have ended up at a car boot sale or on a tip – now they are thought to be worth more than £750,000 to private collectors.

The collection, known as the Lymm Hoard, had lain undisturbed in the loft of a Cheshire home for almost 40 years.

Then James identified the 45 pieces as probably coming from ancient tombs on Cyprus. The items were a gift to the late Sir Ossie Davies, a builder contractor.

They were inherited by his son Neville, who lives in Lymm, and he invited fellow Rotarian James to examine the collection.


But after hearing about the discovery, Cypriot authorities have contacted Cheshire Police via Interpol.

An investigation concluded that a Cypriot had brought the artefacts to Britain as a gift back in the 1960s and that according to European laws nothing illegal had happened.

James said: “I was contacted by Cheshire Police and arranged for the collection to be examined by a specialist officer.

“He was happy they were in expert hands and in a secure environment and that he had no reason to believe the collection needed to be removed.”

A report was sent to Cyprus, but James believes the discovery could spark an international tug of war similar to that surrounding the Elgin Marbles.

He tried to display the items in Warrington museum but was prevented by security and insurance issues.

James said: “I expect to be contacted directly by the Cypriot authorities to discuss the situation and hopefully an amicable solution can be reached.”

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