Cerveteri (Lazio), famed for its unique Etruscan burial ground, received a special gift to mark its tenth anniversary as a UNESCO World Heritage Site when Italy's special cultural heritage police recovered the statue of a winged sphinx that had been stolen from the town museum in May 2014. The 160 kg sculpture, dating from the fourth century BC was hidden in a field, awaiting transportation abroad where it would have been sold on the illegal antiquities market.
The sphinx had already been stolen before, in 1972, from the archaeological site of Greppe Sant'Angelo, where a monumental necropolis had been discovered. Other sensational sculptures found on the site included a monstrous humanoid figure thought to represent Charun (Charon), two sphinxes and guardian lions, as well as the magnificent Kylix of Euphronius, a masterpiece of ancient decorative art, depicting the death of Prince Serpedonte, a son of Zeus who took part in the Trojan war.
To celebrate its UNESCO birthday and the European Heritage Days 2014, the Museum of Cerite (the ancient name of Cerveteri) renewed the museum exhibit space and recreated the Greppe Sant'Angelo tomb complete with its sculptures.