A trove of ancient coins has been stolen from a museum in southern Germany, according to the Bavarian State Police.
The theft took place on Tuesday night (22) at the Celtic and Roman Museum in Manching, a German municipality, about 40 miles north of Munich.
Dating back to around 100 BC, the gold coins were discovered in 1999 at the site of a large Celtic settlement nearby. The artifacts together weigh 4 kilograms, representing the largest Celtic hoard of gold discovered in the 20th century, and are worth “several million” euros, police said.
According to a police statement, the criminals gained access to an exhibition room where the items were on display, before breaking into a display case containing 483 coins.
German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that telephone and internet services in the area were disrupted at the time of the robbery, with local mayor Herbert Nerb telling the outlet: “They cut off all of Manching.” The museum said it would remain closed on Wednesday, adding that it could not be reached by phone or email due to a “phone malfunction”.
Once one of the largest Celtic settlements in central Europe, the Oppidum of Manching was occupied around 200 BC It later became a large city-like settlement surrounded by walls made of wood and stone.
The site was badly damaged by the construction of a military airport in the 1930s. But excavation work carried out after World War II has revealed evidence of planned streets, rows of buildings and commerce facilitated by coins minted at the site. According to the museum, only about 7% of the settlement has been excavated so far.
Bavarian Science and Art Minister Markus Blume described Tuesday’s theft as a “catastrophe”.
“Everything must be done to quickly resolve the crime and punish perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law,” he wrote on Twitter. “One thing is clear: anyone who steals art damages our culture.”
There have been several high-profile thefts at German museums in recent years, most notably at Dresden’s historic Green Vault, where masked thieves stole 21 diamond-encrusted artifacts worth at least €113 million (£100 million) in 2019. Two years earlier, a huge gold coin worth around 3.7 million euros (R$20 million) was removed in the middle of the night from a museum in the capital, Berlin.
Source: CNN Brasil
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