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'No more archaeological finds near bronze lion'

Radiator of motorboat only other discovery off Calabria

22 August, 17:51
'No more archaeological finds near bronze lion' (ANSA) - Reggio Calabria, August 22 - No further discoveries have been made after a search of the underwater area where an historic statue of a bronze lion was recently found off the southern Italian coast, authorities said Wednesday.

Police divers found no trace of a sunken ship reportedly near where a bronze lion was discovered last week - and the same area that yielded the iconic Riace bronzes 40 years ago.

All that was found was the radiator of a motorboat, said Simonetta Bonomi, superintendent for archaeological and cultural heritage of Calabria,.

Just one day earlier, amateur divers said that besides the lion's head statue, they spotted a ship and other artifacts at the bottom of the sea.

"When I went into the water, I saw a statue that was stuck between the rocks and a piece of the ship," Bruno Bruzzaniti, whose announcement triggered an immediate investigation, said Tuesday.

"The tides, however, cover everything and then you must be really fortunate to be able to see other items that are still at the bottom of the sea." The discovery sounded remarkably similar to that of the Riace Bronzes, 2,500-year-old statues representing ancient warriors that were discovered in 1972 by a Roman holidaymaker scuba diving off the Calabrian coast.

That find proved to be one of Italy's most important archaeological discoveries in the last 100 years.

On Wednesday, authorities said the newly discovered lion's head would be taken to the University of Calabria, where chemical analysis will help determine its age.

"The lion's head is an enigmatic piece," said Bonomi. "An initial analysis (suggests it) might belong to the Roman age - or even the Renaissance."