Restaurant raid in Spain’s Almeria finds Roman amphorae used as decoration

EIGHT ancient amphorae ‘of incalculable historical value’ from the 1st and 2nd centuries have been seized after they were found on display in an Almeria restaurant.

In addition, two lead anchor traps from the Roman period have been confiscated.

Police acted after they got a tip-off  which included a photograph showing several ancient pieces of Roman and Arabic origin being used as decor in a restaurant. 

They inspected the establishment and found, in addition to the objects in the photograph, numerous archaeological objects that had been stored in the restaurant for over 50 years.


According to the owner, an antiques enthusiast, some objects were fished out of the sea by his ancestors and others were bought from collectors.

As he could not prove the purchase of the objects, they were removed and subsequently handed over to the Archaeological Museum of Almeria for conservation and study, where their veracity was identified.

The pots, seven Roman and one Arab, may have come from the looting of shipwrecks, making them part of the historical heritage of underwater archaeology in the Mediterranean Sea. 

Most of these vessels were used for the transport of oil from the Betic area of the peninsula and were shipped to Rome.

The lead traps, weighing between 180 and 200 kilos, also belong to different wrecks and were used so anchors could rest horizontally on the seabed.


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