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Ancient Persephone Statue Repatriated to Libya

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

LONDON, ENGLAND—According to a report in The Guardian, a sculpture seized by customs officers at London’s Heathrow Airport has been handed over to Libya by British officials. Researchers from the British Museum examined the sculpture and suggested it had been looted from a cemetery in the ancient city of Cyrene during a period of political upheaval in Libya in 2011. Dated to the second century B.C., the sculpture depicts a woman wearing snake bracelets and holding a small doll, and has been identified as the goddess Persephone, who was daughter of Demeter and wife of Hades, as she emerged from the underworld. The doll may represent a keepsake taken into the afterlife, while the snake bracelets have been associated with death and rebirth. “It is a beautiful, three-quarter-length statue, very well preserved with just a few fingers missing,” said curator Peter Higgs. To read about a cave in Turkey that in antiquity was believed to be an entrance to Hades, go to "Portals to the Underworld."

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