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Wednesday, July 15, 1998 Published at 13:19 GMT 14:19 UK

World: Europe

Turkey reclaims Roman statues

A set of marble sculptures dating back to Roman times are being returned to Turkey -- after lying at the bottom of the sea for more than a century.

Seven statues, including a bust of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, were recovered by divers from the wreck of a Dutch ship that sank off the southern coast of Britain near Folkstone in 1894.

The Turkish authorities say the statues were shipped illegally from the port of Izmir, by the Dutch Vice-Consul of the time -- a keen amateur archaeologist and trader.

At a ceremony in Britain, the sculptures were handed back to the Turkish ambassador.

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