A 46-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly stealing ancient coins from the Serdica archaeological excavations site in the centre of the capital city Sofia, Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry said.
The man had been a temporary employee at the site, hired through a company to assist in excavations.
While working at the Serdica site, he found the ancient coins – established by tests after his arrest to have been copper-bronze alloys – and decided to keep them for himself.
He was arrested by anti-organised crime detectives and is expected to face charges under, among other things, laws on the protection of Bulgaria’s cultural heritage.
The site, near the new Serdica II metro station, has become a popular gazing spot for passersby and tourists who can watch archaeologists at work. It has produced a number of finds from the first to the fourth centuries CE.
Separately, Bulgarian-language media reported on October 10 2012 that treasure hunters had used a mechanical excavator to dig into a Thracian tomb site at Vratyak near the village of Tsarevets. The digger was used to plough into the middle part of the tomb mound. Officials from the Regional Historical Museum in Vratsa and police were investigating, reports said.