Heritage crime and threats to cultural heritage in the Cyprus Conflict

Thanks to the editors of Heritage Crime, Louise Grove and Suzie Thomas, I’ve also had the opportunity to write something new on Threats to Cultural Heritage in the Cyprus Conflict.

Using techniques from history to netnography, I explore how the illicit antiquities trade has persisted in spite of, regardless of or due to the law (or extrajudicial policy); how organised crime and para-state structures have assimilated the illicit antiquities trade into a deep state economy; and how the political conflict has created a space between cultural heritage services and law enforcement agencies, where it is difficult or impossible to conserve and protect archaeological sites and historic buildings.

Threats to cultural heritage in the Cyprus Conflict

As the abstract explains,

Threats to cultural heritage in the Cyprus conflict encompass every aspect of the destruction of cultural property and the trade in illicit antiquities. However, because northern Cyprus is both an occupied territory and a secessionist state – because the Turkish Cypriot citizens of the Republic of Cyprus are neither members of the Greek Cypriot community that controls the competent national authorities nor citizens of the Turkish state that maintains the occupation – they are (or can be) denied both legal rights and legal responsibilities.

This chapter first reviews the status of the problematic activities – development, political violence and looting – and the relevant cultural property law in the south and the north. Then, it considers the use of amnesties for and rescue of looted antiquities in order to control the illicit trade and salvage black market material. Subsequently, it contemplates the nature of organized crime, focusing on the political economy of crime and violence in northern Cyprus and the consequent powerlessness of cultural heritage workers to protect the cultural resources for which they are responsible.

It concludes by looking at (non-)cooperation between the communities’ police services, structural barriers to cultural heritage policing in the north and political activity that prevents professional action, thereby imposing neglect and decay.

The uncorrected proof is available at: https://conflictantiquities.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/hardy-2013-cyprus-cultural-heritage-crime-draft-131130.pdf

The final publication is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/9781137357519.0011

Contact me for further details.

Heritage crime: Progress, prospects and prevention

As the blurb says, and current events show,

Heritage crime is an area of growing interest for scholars, but also for enforcement agencies and heritage managers, as well as the communities affected. Whether it is the looting of cultural objects, theft of lead from churches, or vandalism of historic monuments, this timely collection brings together debate and international examples to demonstrate the diversity but also commonality of heritage crime across the globe.

With international contributions from archaeology, criminology, law, heritage management and policing, the volume presents case studies from countries as diverse as Peru, the UK, South Africa and Cyprus. At a time when government agencies and media around the world are increasingly taking note of the implications of criminal activity for cultural heritage, this collection is the first to address the heritage crime problem in such an in-depth and holistic manner.


0. Foreword. (Mark Harrison)
1. Introduction. (Suzie Thomas and Louise Grove)

Section I: Heritage Crime around the World

2. South African Perspective on Thefts from Museums and Galleries: 2006-2010. (Bernadine Benson and Henri Fouché)
3. Archaeological Heritage in Peru: Definitions, Perceptions and Imperceptions. (Henry Tantaleán)
4. Forestry as Heritage Crime: Finland. (Vesa Laulumaa)
5. Archaeological Heritage Crimes in Romania and Moldova: A Comparative view. (Sergiu Musteata)
6. Threats to Cultural Heritage in the Cyprus Conflict. (Sam Hardy)

Section II: Tackling Heritage Crime

7. A Situational Approach to Heritage Crime Prevention. (Louise Grove and Ken Pease)
8. Understanding and Preventing Lead Theft from Churches: A Script Analysis. (Victoria Price, Aiden Sidebottom and Nick Tilley)
9. Understanding and Attitudes – Heritage Crime in Norway. (Brian Kristian Wennberg)
10. Developing Policy on Heritage Crime in Southern Africa. (Helene Vollgraaff)
11. Improving the Treatment of Heritage Crime in Criminal Proceedings: Towards a Better Understanding of the Impact of Heritage Offences. (Carolyn Shelbourn)
12. The Global Trade in Illicit Antiquities: Some New Directions? (Kenneth Polk)
13. Conclusion: What’s the Future for Heritage Crime Research? (Suzie Thomas and Louise Grove)

2 Responses to “Heritage crime and threats to cultural heritage in the Cyprus Conflict”

  1. There are many mosques destroyed in South (Greek) Cyprus.



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