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Jerash man arrested for trying to sell fake, authentic artefacts

By Rana Husseini - Sep 25,2014 - Last updated at Sep 25,2014

AMMAN — Police and Department of Antiquities (DoA) personnel on Thursday announced the arrest of a man in Jerash who reportedly planned to sell fake and authentic artefacts believed to belong to the Bronze and Iron ages as well as the Greek, Byzantine, Roman and Islamic periods.

The suspect was found in possession of dozens of statues, swords, pots, coins and other artefacts he planned to sell for personal gain, according to a statement issued by the Public Security Department (PSD).

“Police received a tip almost two months ago that the suspect was looking for buyers for his collection,” a senior official source said.

Authorities monitored the suspect and arrested him on Wednesday night while he was attempting to sell the items to an undercover police officer, the source told The Jordan Times.

Jerash DoA Director Ahmad Shami, who was dispatched to examine the seized artefacts late Wednesday, said some of them were authentic while others were fake.

“There were several pieces I examined that dated as far back as 3200 BC,” explained Shami, who started working in this field in 1987.

He told The Jordan Times that none of the artefacts were taken from any Jordanian archaeological site, noting that the majority of the seized items were found by people who conducted their own excavations, or during digging for construction purposes, or found in caves surrounding Jerash.

“The suspect was a merchant and collector of artefacts and it seems that people who found these valuable items would take them to him to sell,” Shami added.

The DoA is waiting for the investigation to conclude in order to obtain the items and hand over the authentic artefacts to the Kingdom’s museums.

The fake pieces, he said, will remain at the DoA “to prevent their resale or distribution in the market”.

If convicted, the perpetrator could receive between one and three years in prison for violating the Archaeology Law of 1988.

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