Police save ancient Egyptian sculpture in Italy

Associated Press SHARE

ROME (AP) — An Egyptian granite sculpture of a sphinx that risked ending up on the black market for antiquities is destined instead for a Rome museum.

Italian Tax Police Maj. Massimo Rossi says the sphinx, perhaps as old as the 4th century B.C., was found on the outskirts of Rome last week. It was in a box hidden in a greenhouse near an ancient Etruscan necropolis.

Rossi said Thursday that the sphinx, which is roughly two feet tall and four feet long, likely adorned a 1st century B.C. Roman villa, in keeping with the fashion then for Egyptian sculpture as decoration.

He said an Italian and a Romanian are being investigated in the probe of suspected illicit trafficking in antiquities. Villa Giulia museum, which specializes in Etruscan antiquities, will host the sphinx.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.