Greek Culture Minister Costas Tasoulas publicly thanked a 90-year-old French citizen for returning an ancient ceramic amphora he had in his possession for 40 years.
The Greek minister commended the French man in front of all European Union culture ministers during an official congress to discuss the contribution of culture to economic development. The Greek official commenced his talk with the story of the return of the amphora.
Tasoulas said that the day before, he had received in his office a diplomatic package that contained the ancient amphora. The sack was sent from the Greek Consulate in Marseilles, and according to the Greek diplomatic mission in the French city, a man visited the consulate and surrendered the ancient artifact to the Greek authority.
The French man, a Marseilles resident, said that he had found the amphora while swimming off a beach in Crete 40 years ago. The man took the amphora with him to France, knowing its value. When he delivered the artifact to the Greek consulate, he said he was influenced by the recent international interest on the return of cultural treasures to their country of origin, and especially on the recent international interest about the return of the Parthenon marbles.
During the meeting of culture ministers, the Greek representative spoke of the importance of repatriation of cultural treasures and the prevention of antiquities smuggling. He stressed the importance of international cooperation on the issue, the implementation of new and more strict legislation on antiquities smuggling.