All  
Just a few of the illegal historical artifacts recovered by the police in Poland recently. Source: Malopolska Police and KPP Wadowicach

Hundreds Of Illegal Historical Artifacts Recently Recovered By The Polish Police!

Print

The looting of archaeological sites is a problem all around the world and it’s also a huge illegal business. Recently in Poland, authorities have recovered hundreds of stolen historical artifacts in a targeted police operation. These illegal historical artifacts are believed to have been illegally obtained. This latest incident is just another indicator of the scale of the unlawful cultural property trade in Poland and internationally.

The cache of illegal historical artifacts was found in Andrychów, in the south of Poland, located in the historical area known as Lesser Poland . A local man had been on the police’s “radar for some time,” reports The First News. It seems that a tipoff led them to search the suspect's property. Officers “received information that one of the inhabitants of Andrychów may be in possession of prohibited objects,” reports Wadowice Online . This led to officers from the regional police headquarters, based in Kraków, and local police to raid the home of a 40-year-old man.

Ancient horse stirrups were also found among the illegal historical artifacts found in the suspect’s home in Poland. (KPP Wadowicach)

Ancient horse stirrups were also found among the illegal historical artifacts found in the suspect’s home in Poland. ( KPP Wadowicach )

Police Raid Nets Treasure Trove Of Stolen Ancient Artifacts

What the authorities found was a treasure trove of stolen historical artifacts. Hundreds of items were found in cardboard boxes all over the property. Agnieszka Petek, a spokesperson at the district police headquarters in Wadowice stated that “There were more than 400 pieces of various artifacts, which lay deposited in boxes, in different parts of the house, especially in the attic,” according to Wadowice Online . Staff from the provincial office for the protection of monuments were also involved in the operation.

The owner of the illegal historical artifacts was arrested, and a file is being prepared in the local prosecutors’ office in relation to the case. The police believe that the objects were excavated illegally, and this is contrary to the Protection of Monuments and the Care of Monuments laws in Poland. The cache included lead bullets and shells of various calibers, parts of weapons, tools, arrowheads, and some knives. There were even items of clothing recovered. “Some of the items, including hammers, knives and arrowheads, date back to the Middle Ages ,” reports The First News .

Many lead bullets and arrow heads were found in the large cache of stolen historical artifacts found in the suspect’s home in Poland. (KPP Wadowicach)

Many lead bullets and arrow heads were found in the large cache of stolen historical artifacts found in the suspect’s home in Poland. ( KPP Wadowicach )

Acquisition of Illegal Artifacts

The huge collection stolen historical artifacts was acquired in a variety of ways. Some of the items were bought in markets. Other objects were bought from online auction sites. This indicates the scale of illicit trade in cultural property in Poland and how easy it is to purchase illegally excavated artifacts.

It seems that most of the artifacts were obtained by “illegal searches using a metal detector around Poland, without the necessary permission,” reports The First News . The suspect in the case used a metal detector to dig up historic objects. A tiny number of detectorists are involved in unlawful activities. However, the vast majority are responsible and report their finds to the relevant authorities and they have helped archaeologists to find many important objects. Recently, as Ancient Origins reported, Polish metal detectorists “uncovered an exciting collection of artifacts on the historic site of the Battle of Grunwald which took place in 1410.”

Decorative and jewelry historical artifacts, illicitly obtained, discovered in the suspect’s home in Poland. (KPP Wadowicach)

Decorative and jewelry historical artifacts, illicitly obtained, discovered in the suspect’s home in Poland. ( KPP Wadowicach )

Global Trade In Stolen Cultural Property Is Big Business!

Illegal excavations are a serious problem, and they are having a devastating impact on the heritage of Poland. The First News quotes a statement from the district police headquarters in Wadowice: “Illegal excavations at archaeological sites lead to the permanent destruction of both the monument itself and places that are illegally explored.” No one knows how many important archaeological artifacts have been dug out of the ground illegally in the country.

The illicit trade in cultural property is a major problem not only in Poland but around the world according to UNESCO.  There is a growing desire for rare objects and this is fueling the trade.  Some people collect stolen artifacts because they are seen as works of art while others regard them as investments. It is believed that the global illicit trade in cultural property is worth billions of dollars. And this prohibited trade in historical artifacts is having a terrible impact on the heritage of many cultures and nations.

Top image: Just a few of the illegal historical artifacts recovered by the police in Poland recently. Source: Malopolska Police and KPP Wadowicach

By Ed Whelan

Comments

Hello Ed,

In the World of ytube and Facebook how can anyone think they'd get away with stealing these Ancient Artifacts, I mean posting them online is the mark of true genius don't you think?

Well I'm glad they were caught now I know why some places or rather People of specific Ethnicities has such stringent Laws regarding disturbing Ancestry Lands under the guise of Archaeology and anthropology.

Thanks for posting this article Ed I enjoyed reading about the circumstances so until next time Goodbye.

Pete Wagner's picture

Tip of the eisberg?

Nobody gets paid to tell the truth.

Next article