The smuggling of hundreds of artefacts from the Apollonia archaeological park has been prevented by Albanian police, according to a statement issued on Sunday.
In particular, 230 artefacts, including iron, bronze and ceramic pots, vases, and parts of artefacts and other items were found in two houses at the village of Radostine, 75 miles south of Tirana.
The police have arrested the two men who own the houses and are seeking two more people. They are charged with smuggling and theft or artworks of national importance. Several officials of the park, including the director, are under investigation for not preventing the robbery. The illegal excavations, the police say, must have been going on for several months.
The artefacts come from Apollonia National Park, the police say. Apollonia is an ancient Greek city of the 6th century BC, located 11 km west of the city of Fier in modern Albania. It was created by Greek colonists from Corfu and Corinth in the lands of Illyrian tribes. Albania hopes the site will be part of the UNESCO World Heritage list. It includes various monuments and a museum with some of the most important artefacts found at the site.