Greek Cypriot officials have estimated that, since 1974, ‘several dozen’ wall paintings and mosaics, ‘15,000-20,000 icons’ (Georgiou-Hadjitofi 2000: 225) and possibly ‘more than 60,000 ancient artefacts’ (Hadjisavvas 2001: 136) have been stolen from northern Cyprus. The structures of the illicit antiquities trade were created before the 1974 coup and invasion. This paper looks at how the destruction of cultural heritage and the illicit antiquities trade developed together between 1963 and 1974. It concludes by showing how Turkish nationalist criminal networks consolidated the illicit antiquities trade after 1974 – and how Greek Cypriot archaeological policy contributed to those networks’ trade.
Hardy, S A. 2015: “Destruction, theft and rescue of archaeological artefacts in Cyprus, 1963-1974: From the intercommunal conflict until the foreign invasions”. In Jacobs, A and Cosyns, P (Eds.). Cypriot material culture studies, from picrolite carving to proskynitaria analysis: Proceedings of the 8th Annual Postgraduate Cypriot Archaeology Conference held in honour of the memory of Paul Åström at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), 27th-29th November 2008, 329-345. Brussels: VUBPRESS. [pdf]