A gold sealing ring from the Mycenaean times, depicting a pair of sphinxes, was returned to Greece by the Nobel Foundation, in a ceremony held on Thursday, May 19 in Stockholm, the culture ministry announced.
According to the same announcement, the ring was found in 1927, during the excavations of the Italian Archaeological School in the Mycenaean necropolis of Ialyssos, Rhodes.
It was kept in the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes, as well as all the findings from the systematic excavations on the island. During the Occupation and Italian Occupation in the Dodecanese, the ring was stolen from the museum, along with hundreds of antiquities, most of them coins and jewelry, which have still not be found.
The gold ring of Rhodes was found in the USA, where in the 1950s or 1960s it was bought by the Hungarian Nobel laureate Georg von Békésy. After his death in 1972, von Békésy’s entire collection was donated to the Nobel Foundation and the works of art were donated to various museums, depending on their type. The Mycenaean ring ended up in the Museum of Mediterranean and Eastern Antiquities, based in Stockholm.
In 1975, the then Director of the Swedish Museum and distinguished archaeologist Carl Gustaf Styrenius found that the gold sealing ring from the Mycenaean cemetery of Ialyssos was in the museum’s collection, he informed the competent Greek authorities, but the ring remained there for unknown reasons. The gold sealing ring, almost eight decades after its illegal removal, will be exhibited again at the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes.
Culture and Sports Minister Lina Mendoni stated: “The Nobel Foundation and the Swedish State with their decision to return the Mycenaean ring to Greece, its country of origin, show their respect for modern Greece and the ongoing efforts we are making to combat the illicit trafficking of cultural property. We are grateful for this gesture. It is an example of ethics and generosity for other institutions and museum organisations around the world.”