ROME, Aug. 5 (UPI) — Scientists are being given a rare opportunity to study two of Italy’s most iconic bronzes, a privilege seldom granted, researchers say.
Chemical, laser and electromagnetic testing will be applied to the figures known as the Riace Bronzes to give scientists clues as to where they came from and who made them, ANSA reported Thursday.
Researchers say it’s a rare opportunity, as the statues are usually kept under lock and key — and until last December had not moved from their permanent home in the Reggio Calabria National Museum in 28 years, the Italian news agency said.
The two bronze figures, last let out in 1981 for a tour of Italy, have been moved to the Calabrian regional government headquarters, where they were transferred for a long-awaited restoration project.
They were discovered in 1972 by a Roman tourist scuba diving off the Calabrian coast. They turned out to be one of Italy’s most important archaeological finds in the last 100 years, ANSA said.
The statues are of two men, presumably warriors or gods, who possibly held lances and shields at one time. They are larger than life at about 7 feet tall.
Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.