Italy marks anniversary of Riace Bronzes discovery

Sensational discovery made headlines around the world.

The famed Riace Bronzes, two ancient Greek warrior statues, were found by chance in the Ionian Sea off the coast of Italy’s southern Calabria region on this day 51 years ago.

The bronzes – dating to 460-430 BC and also known as the Riace Warriors – were retrieved from the seabed near Porto Forticchio di Riace Marina on 16 August 1972.

Stefano Mariotti, an amateur scuba diver from Rome, is credited with finding the bronze statues, subsequently taken from the water by carabinieri officers in images that went around the world.

The origin of the ‘Bronzi di Riace’ remains shrouded in mystery.

It is assumed that they were being carried on a ship that sank, perhaps in a storm, however no evidence of a wreck has been found.

Believed to represent heroic warriors, the statues are almost two metres high and are likely to have been part of a sculptural group.

The bronzes, which underwent extensive restoration in Florence between 1975 and 1980, today are the star attraction at the Archaeological Museum of Reggio Calabria.