Sunday, March 3, 2024

Long-lost Pompeii treasures discovered in Belgian family home’s basement

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This precious marble was brought home as a souvenir after a family trip to Italy 50 years ago.

A marble relief sculpture depicting the Pompeii earthquake of AD 62 was discovered in the basement of a house in Belgium. Photo courtesy of de Temmermans

A long-lost treasure stolen from Pompeii has been discovered in a family home in Belgium. For the past 50 years, ancient marble artifacts have been installed on the interior walls of the stairs leading to the basement.

Geert de Temmerman, the son of the house owner, explained that the mini-monument was brought back from Pompeii as a souvenir 50 years ago. During a family trip to Italy, his father was offered the piece by an anonymous man, but fled the scene as soon as the transaction was over. Although the family did not understand the significance of the object, they installed it in their home as a decoration.

Dating from around 62 AD, this marble relief sculpture is a long, narrow strip depicting an earthquake that occurred in the same year. Most notable is the appearance of the gates of Pompeii falling down.

When her 85-year-old father began preparing to sell their house in the small East Flanders village of Herzele, the family decided to find out if the marble had any value. VRT NWS. They asked experts from the local Gallo-Roman museum to come and take a look.

“They arrived here and started observing there with flashlights,” De Temmerman said in a video published by the website. euro news. “I heard them say, ‘Yes, it’s real.’ I almost fell.”

“It corresponds very well to the original work that we recognize from the photographs,” acknowledged Bart Demarcine, the museum’s exhibition director. VRT NWS. “The work is comparable to a similar work depicting buildings that collapsed in that earthquake.”

Both works were once installed in another house of a banker who lived in central Pompeii some 2,000 years ago. The newly discovered artifacts had been registered as missing for half a century. The marble will undergo further research to confirm its authenticity, and can then be reunited with its companion piece in the Antiquarium of Pompeii.

“This is Pompeii’s cultural heritage and belongs to Pompeii,” said Anne Christians, deputy mayor of culture in the local city of Tongeren.

After the discovery, local police arrived and investigated how the stolen treasure ended up in Herzele’s home.

“The judicial police said that we may still be able to receive compensation,” De Temmerman claimed. “After all, this piece has been hanging here for 50 years without anything happening to it. It could have easily been sold off or destroyed.”

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