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German treasure hunters claim they have found two metric
German treasure hunters claim they have found two metric tons of gold believed to be part of Russia's legendary Amber Room stolen by the Nazis during the Second World War.

The discovery was made at the weekend in a man-made cavern 20 meters below ground near the village of Deutschneudorf, near Germany's border with the Czech Republic, the Times newspaper reported on Wednesday.

"It's gold, maybe silver. We expect it to be either gold from the Amber Room or gold that would give us clues to another hiding place," the newspaper cited Heinz-Peter Haustein, one of the treasure hunters as saying.

The digging is still incomplete and is likely to take several weeks, as the work requires the help of explosives experts and engineers, Haustein added. He is convinced that the treasure is hidden in a "network of copper and silver ore mines," the newspaper said.

Meanwhile, Tatiana Zharkova, the press-secretary at the Tsarskoye Selo museum where the Amber Room was housed, and a replica recreated according to available blueprints, denied the discovery could be the Amber Room.

"The Amber Room did not contain a single gram of gold. The metallic constructions were also not of precious metals," she said adding that only the Florentine mosaic panels and bronze candelabrums were backed by gold leaf.

The Amber Room dubbed the "eighth wonder of the world" decorated with pure amber panels, mirrors and precious stones, was the most luxurious of the premises at the Catherine Palace in St. Petersburg.

The masterpiece was made by German craftsmen in the early 18th century and given by Prussian King Frederick I to Russia's Peter the Great as a present. It was believed to have been looted by Nazi troops in 1945.

Experts estimate the amber interior is worth $300 million. The final fate of the original Amber Room considered one of Europe's greatest mysteries remains unknown.

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