ROME, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- The head of an ancient Roman statue was returned to the Italian capital this week, more than 50 years after it was stolen from the Palatine Hill, according to local media.
The marble head of Pan, a Roman-era deity who was half man and half goat, was stolen from a museum on Rome's Palatine Hill, adjacent to the Roman Forum, in 1968.
The 40-centimeter (16 inch) head was identified by the cultural unit of Italy's Carabinieri police when it went up for auction in California three years ago, with an estimated value of 500,000 U.S. dollars. They notified California's law enforcement officials, who seized the artifact.
The head was returned to Italian Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini by a U.S. official on Thursday as part of a celebration to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Carabinieri unit dedicated to recovering objects of cultural value.
The head, which dates to the first or second century AD, is expected to be reunited with the body of the statue and to go on display together.
The identity of the original thief remains unknown.