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Libya Recovers Stolen Ancient Roman Artifacts
November 28, 2011

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The new Libyan government has recovered a group of ancient Roman artifacts stolen by forces loyal to Col. Moammar Gadhafi as they fled Tripoli in the final days of Gadhafi's reign.

Among the artifacts are a group of stone heads, 17 in all, and a number of terra-cotta fragments. One of the fragments was a tile containing the image of a dog. All are now in the hands of the Antiquities Department.

The artifacts date from the first few centuries A.D., when the area was a model Roman colony. In particular, the city of Leptis Magna was a magnet for Mediterranean trade and culture, never moreso than when Septimius Severus, who was born in the city, became emperor.

The city, which is outside the modern Libyan town of Khoms and is largely an intact set of ruins, is one of the new government's targets for a return to tourism as a revenue source, something that Gadhafi thought little of during his four decades in power.

Resistance fighters engaged a group of pro-Gadhafi militia fighters on August 23, resulting in a militia retreat that left behind a large number of vehicles, one of which contained the artifacts. 

Although such reports have been rare, it was not the first such report. A large collection of coins, jewelry and statues, all ancient, was carted off by a group of thieves who drilled through a concrete ceiling in a bank vault in Benghazi, site of the resistance.
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