A Mycenaean-era gold ring depicting a pair of sphinxes was returned to Greece by the Nobel Foundation at a ceremony held on Thursday May 19 in Stockholm, the Ministry of Culture in Athens said.
The ring was found in 1927 during the excavations of the Italian archaeological school in the Mycenaean necropolis of Ialyssos. It was kept in the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes, like all the findings of systematic excavations on the island.
During the Italian occupation of the Dodecanese, it was stolen from the museum along with hundreds of antiquities, mostly coins and jewelry, which have not yet been found.
Golden Ring of Rhodes was found in the USA (and where else), where in the 1950s or 1960s it was bought by the Hungarian Nobel laureate Georg von Bekesy. After his death in 1972, the entire von Bekesy collection was donated to the Nobel Foundation and the artworks were donated to various museums, depending on their type.
The Mycenaean ring ended up in the Museum of Mediterranean and Oriental Antiquities in Stockholm. In 1975, the then director of the Swedish Museum and eminent archaeologist Carl Gustav Styrenius discovered that a gold ring from the Mycenaean cemetery of Ialyssos was in the museum’s collection, which he reported to the competent Greek authorities, but the ring remained there for unknown reasons.
— Embassy of Sweden Greece (@SwedeninGR) May 20, 2022
“It was obvious to us that the ring needed to be returned. This work has a great cultural and historical value for Greece,” said Vidar Helgesen, Executive Director of the Nobel Foundation, who handed over the ring to Elena Vlahoyanni, Head of the Documentation and Protection of Cultural Property Department of the Ministry of Culture.
Almost eight decades after the abduction, the gold ring will again be exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Rhodes.