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Using Open-Source Data to Identify Participation in the Illicit Antiquities Trade: A Case Study on the Cypriot Civil War

Hardy, SA; (2014) Using Open-Source Data to Identify Participation in the Illicit Antiquities Trade: A Case Study on the Cypriot Civil War. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research , 20 (4) 459 - 474. 10.1007/s10610-014-9250-x. Green open access

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Abstract

The illicit trade in antiquities from conflict zones is clandestine and politicised and it very likely involves violent, organised criminals, including paramilitaries and terrorists; so reliable, detailed information is extraordinarily difficult to access. Nonetheless, open-source data may provide clues to the structure of the market. This article reviews the development of the Cypriot antiquities trade until the outbreak of the civil war in 1963, through the cultural heritage crisis that accompanied that conflict until the coup and invasion of 1974. Then, adapting an established method for studying the scale of a small, undisturbed illicit market, it gauges communities’ participation in looting during the civil war in Cyprus. It does so by analysing the find-spot and acquisition date information in collections of antiquities recovered before and during conflict, and cross-referencing them with demographic and historical information in order to identify the communities from which the looters probably came. It uses this crude categorical method in order to assess ethnically-based narratives of looting and trading in illicit antiquities. The evidence suggests that: before the conflict, there was no correlation between community and looting; during the civil war, due to economic and geopolitical factors, members of Turkish Cypriot communities were disproportionately involved in looting; at the same time, members of Greek Cypriot communities were far more involved in looting than has previously been recognised; Greek Cypriot archaeologists have misinterpreted the structure of the trade and consequently contributed to communalist policies and nationalist histories; and the antiquities policy of the Republic of Cyprus was one of the significant causes of the developments in the trade.

Type: Article
Title: Using Open-Source Data to Identify Participation in the Illicit Antiquities Trade: A Case Study on the Cypriot Civil War
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s10610-014-9250-x
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10610-014-9250-x
Language: English
Additional information: Available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY) License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1456757
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