Friday, 16 April 2010

Archaeology, conflict, antiquities rescue

The subject has developed from one blog post to another, to a conference paper, and now to a millstone around my neck.

I'm still working on answering Kufi Seydali's and Ata Atun's misrepresentations of my work; but to help to disprove their claims, I've posted the final draft of my talk about Cypriot Antiquities Rescue from the Turkish Deep State: the Rescue of Forgeries, and the Death of Stephanos Stephanou over on Cultural Heritage in Conflict.

Hardy, S A. 2010: "Cypriot antiquities rescue from the Turkish deep state: the rescue of forgeries, and the death of Stephanos Stephanou". Paper presented at the International Conference on Archaeology in Conflict, Vienna, Austria, 6th-10th April. Available at:


Looting of Cypriot cultural heritage has been a problem since the Nineteenth Century, but a paramilitary-controlled illicit antiquities trade exploded during the intercommunal conflict of 1963-1974; and after the Greek-backed coup and the Turkish invasion of 1974, the worst extremes continued in northern Cyprus.

Looted antiquities' "rescue" has long been one "solution", which has included not only a secret agreement between Greek Cypriot archaeologists and Greek Cypriot private collectors, but also apparently illegal Greek Cypriot undercover antiquities police purchasing from Turkish Cypriot and Turkish nationalist terrorist groups.

Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot administrations' mutual non-cooperation has not only had tragic consequences for Cypriot cultural heritage. Here, I wish to explore Greek Cypriot undercover antiquities police agent Stephanos Stephanou's arrest by Turkish Cypriot antiquities police, and his death in Turkish Cypriot custody.

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