Investigation begins into relic from Pompeii found in wall of Limburg house

The Limburg public prosecutor's office has opened an investigation into a relic from Pompeii that was bricked into the wall of a house in Herzele in the 1970s, a spokesperson confirmed on Thursday. It is not yet clear whether the investigation will lead to prosecution as it concerns events from more than 50 years ago.

In the 1970s, the now 85-year-old Raphaël De Temmerman from Herzele, East Flanders, bought a marble relic during his trip to Italy. The marble slab believed to depict the earthquake of 62 AD was stolen on 14 July 1975 from a house in Pompeii.

De Temmerman bought the relic and brought it to Herzele, where it ended up in a wall of his home. When his son wanted to sell the house, he wanted to know the artefact's value and sent photos to the Gallo-Roman Museum in Tongeren. Experts went to the scene and determined it was the authentic "stolen" relic.

The news of the discovery was well received in Italy. "Through our current exhibition at the Gallo-Roman Museum, we have had more intensive contact with the Pompeii Museum in the last few months," the director of the Gallo-Roman Museum said. "They were pleased to learn that the missing artefact, which had been missing for more than 50 years, may have been found."

The next steps are currently unclear. "As a result of the investigation by the Limburg public prosecutor's office, the object has been seized. The investigation is still ongoing and will reveal what should be done with it," the public prosecutor's office said.


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