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The adventures of a Mycenaean ring

The adventures of a Mycenaean ring

The Nobel Foundation in Sweden has returned to Greece a 3,000-year-old Mycenaean ring that was stolen during World War II before making its way to the other side of the Atlantic, where it was bought by a Nobel Prize-winning Hungarian scientist.

The 12th century BC gold ring depicting two sphinxes was found in an intact Mycenaean tomb in Ialyssos in Italian-occupied Rhodes in 1927 during an excavation by the Italian Archaeological School of Athens. It was taken to Rome in 1940 to take part in an exhibition of antiquities ‘from the Italian colonies,’ commissioned by fascist leader Benito Mussolini.

However, the ring disappeared until it was identified in Stockholm in the 1970s and came into the possession of the Nobel Foundation after a donation from the Hungarian Nobel Laureate George de Hevesy who had bought it somewhere in the US, apparently on the black market.