Police hunt for bone-scattering ‘heritage terrorist’

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Javier Sanchez on Flickr

POLICE are on the tracks of a vandal that caused irreparable damage to Roman and Muslim remains on an archaeological site in Sevilla.

The Plaza de Armas del Alcazar site in Ecija was broken into in the early hours of the morning and security cameras filmed a man heading straight for the most valuable discoveries.

A Muslim grave was raided and the bones scatted about the site, a column of a newly discovered Roman house was damaged and the central (and most valuable) part of a 16 square metre Roman mosaic was totally destroyed, the council reported.

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“This isn’t vandalism, it’s heritage terrorism. The same as what the Islam State is doing in Syria and Iraq. It’s a criminal act,” Tourism delegate Rafael Benitez stated.

“The person behind this knew where he was going and what he was doing because he went straight for the important items which very few people knew the location of and the most valuable central part of a 16 square metre mosaic was destroyed,” Benitez continued.

Municipal archaeologist Sergio Garcia-Dils said that the damage to the part of the mosaic known as the Annus was irreparable and pointed out that only three more of its type had been discovered, one in Luxembourg and two in Italy.

The Plaza de Armas del Alcazar site conserves remains dating from the eighth century BC and the more than 20 archaeologists working there found a large Roman public building there a year ago with original 2.5 metre high decorated walls.

As fingerprints were found, police investigators are on the verge of catching the culprit, who they believe is linked to the site as he knew exactly where to go and what to do to cause the most damage.

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