The Venus de Milo was discovered on April 8, 1820 on the small Aegean island of Melos, then a backwater under the indifferent rule of the Ottoman Turks but subject politically to the influence of France. Olivier Voutier, an ensign in the French navy, whose warship had been idling in port, was searching for Greek antiquities when a local farmer working nearby uncovered the statue while removing stones from a niche in an ancient wall. It was found in several pieces-- a nude upper torso, a draped lower body, and part of the right hip that, when put in place, allowed the other two parts to fit together without toppling over. The arms were missing but Voutier was convinced that the sculpture was a masterpiece and hurriedly returned with the local vice-consul to persuade him to but it. Meanwhile, the farmer had continued to dig and found a hand holding an apple, two herms on inscribed bases, chignon (where the hair was knotted at the back of the head), and a fragment of an upper arm.