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2,000-year-old sphinx found in Rome

The ancient Egyptian sphinx sculpture was headed to the black market.
Sphinx stolenEnlarge
A stolen Egyptian sphinx much like this one was found in Rome. (Riyad Abu Awwad/AFP/Getty Images)

A 2,000-year-old sphinx uncovered in a greenhouse near an ancient Etruscan necropolis in Rome. Sounds like the opening scene of a murder mystery, doesn't it? 

Nope, it's just a day in the life of the Italian city's police force, who found the ancient cat after a routine search of a vehicle turned up photos of Egyptian artifacts. The photos led the officials to the sphinx, which had been boxed up in a old greenhouse, BBC News reported.  

The statue stands roughly two feet tall and four feet long, and was most likely adornment for a 1st century B.C. villa in ancient Rome, according to the Associated Press.

"Aside from its possible economic value, the presence of the sphinx is, according to experts, an indicator of the thriving trade that took place among Mediterranean countries," wrote Italian newspaper Gazzetta del Sud

It was reportedly stolen from an Etruscan cemetery called the Montem Rossulum necropolis.

The sphinx will make its new home close by, at Villa Giulia museum, which focuses on Etruscan antiquities, the AP reported. 

More from GlobalPost: Ancient Roman ship found off Italy's coast

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/2000-year-old-sphinx-found-rome

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