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A horde of Celtic gold coins stolen from a German museum

Written by Oscar Holland, CNN

A horde of ancient coins has been stolen from a museum in southern Germany, according to Bavarian state police.

The theft took place on Tuesday evening at the Celtic and Roman Museum in Manching, about 40 miles north of Munich.

Dating to around 100 BC, the gold coins were discovered in 1999 at the site of a large Celtic settlement nearby. The artifacts weigh a total of 4 kilograms (8.8 pounds), representing the largest Celtic gold horde discovered in the 20th century, and are worth “several million” euros, police said.

According to a police statement, the perpetrators gained access to a showroom where the items were on display, before breaking into a display case containing 483 pieces.

German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that telephone and internet services in the area were cut off at the time of the robbery, with local mayor Herbert Nerb telling the outlet: “They cut off all of Manching.” The museum said it would remain closed on Wednesday, adding that it could not be reached by phone or email due to a “telephone malfunction”.

The Celtic and Roman Museum in Manching, Germany. Credit: Armin Weigel/dpa/Getty Images

Once one of the largest Celtic settlements in Central Europe, the Oppidum of Manching was occupied from around 200 BC. Later, it became a large city-like settlement surrounded by wooden and stone walls.

The site was badly damaged by the construction of a military airport in the 1930s. But excavation work carried out after the Second World War has unearthed evidence of planned streets, rows of buildings and trade facilitated by coins minted on site. According to the museum, only about 7% of the settlement has been excavated so far.

Bavarian Science and Arts Minister Markus Blume called Tuesday’s theft a “disaster”.

“Everything must be done to quickly resolve the crime and punish the perpetrators to the full extent of the law,” he added. wrote on Twitter. “One thing is clear: anyone who steals art harms our culture.
There have been several high-profile break-ins at German museums in recent years, including the historic Green Vault in Dresden, where masked thieves seized 21 priceless diamond-set artifacts worth at least £113 million. euros ($117 million) in 2019. Two years earlier, a huge gold coin worth around 3.7 million euros ($3.8 million) was taken in the middle of the night in a museum in the capital, Berlin.

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