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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 May 2007, 12:00 GMT 13:00 UK
Roman ring handed back to Turkey
Roman ring
The ring has an engraving of co-emperor Lucius Versus
An historic Roman ring which was illegally imported into the UK from Turkey has been returned.

The iron and silver band, which dates back to between AD 161 and AD 169, is thought to have been taken from an archaeological dig at Ephesus, Turkey.

It was eventually seized by HM Revenue and Customs after it was taken to Derby Museum for a valuation.

The ring was handed over to Turkish Embassy officials at East Midlands Airport on Tuesday.

The find has a gemstone engraving of Lucius Verus - co-emperor with Marcus Aurelius.

It was seized by customs officials after it was taken from Derby to the British Museum. No one has been prosecuted for stealing the ring.

'Significant problem'

Sermin Ozduran, from the Turkish Embassy, who collected the ring on behalf of the Turkish government, said it was "an important piece" of Turkish history.

John Macmillan, detection manager for HM Revenue & Customs, said: "We are delighted to be able to return this important historical ring to the Turkish Government.

"The international trade in illicit cultural artefacts is a significant problem and increasingly being linked to other forms of organised crime.

"We will continue to place a high priority to stop those attempting to bring historical artefacts into the UK illegally and restore seized cultural objects to their rightful owners."

The ring will be sent to Turkey's Ministry of Culture and Tourism and later be displayed in a museum in the country.


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