(CN) — A German court ruled Friday that authorities must pay a farmer nearly $904,000 (€773,000) for a bronze horse’s head dating back to Roman times that was found on his land in 2009.
The head is part of a statue believed to be of the Roman emperor Augustus. It was found by archeologists on farmland in Lahnau in western Germany which had once been the site of a Roman town.
The state of Hesse initially paid the farmer $55,946 (about €48,000), but news reports announcing the discovery of the 55-pound cast-bronze head said it was one of the best-preserved Roman bronzes in the world, and the farmer sued, contending he was due considerably more than the government gave him.
The Limburg regional court said Friday that, according to state law at the time, the farmer was eligible to half the value of the head, which an expert estimated at about $1.8 million (€1.6 million euros).
He would also be entitled to interest, the court said.
The state has not yet said whether it will appeal the ruling. Representatives of the government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.