Kiel University in northern Germany has struck a deal to return four antique vases to Italy, it announced on Wednesday.
The four vases, part of the city art gallery’s antiquity collection, most likely originate from looted excavations in the Apulia region, the university announced on Wednesday. They had been bought with funds from the state of Schleswig Holstein.
The deal was made through an Italian art dealer, Gianfranco Becchina.
The four vases are to be returned in 2024.
“We have a moral responsibility to return these pieces,” said Annette Haug, head of the antiquities collection. “Looted excavations destroy scientific knowledge worldwide.”
Italian authorities had approached Haug and Schleswig Holstein in 2018.
The vases were allegedly exported without the permission of the Italian state.
According to the university, the purchase of the vases in the 1980s and 1990s was legal under German law at the time, but not without controversy.
In exchange for the vases, the Kiel collection is to receive items on loan from Italy’s collection. ©dpa