Hi! I’m Sam Hardy (or Dr. Samuel Andrew Hardy, which I use so my work is easier to find). I’m an Associate Researcher at the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research, on a project on Destructive Exploitation and care of Cultural Objects and Professional/Public Education for sustainable heritage management (DECOPE), under the Joint Programming Initiative on Cultural Heritage and Global Change – Cultural Heritage, Society and Ethics (JPI CH CHSE). You can contact me @samarkeolog, @conflictantiq or by e-mail.

Conflict Antiquities

Conflict antiquities are cultural objects that are looted/stolen, trafficked/smuggled, sold/bartered and/or taxed/racketeered to fund political violence, from invasion and espionage to insurgency and terrorism. On top of the immediate violence, this plunder has a devastating impact on communities’ self-understanding, development and peace.

Here, I explore the trade in illicit antiquities, and the destruction of community and cultural property, during economic crises, by organised crime and through political violence. I focus on investigating and analysing crimes against cultural heritage and community property.

I also cover other uses/treatments of cultural property (from appropriation to vandalism); and the social, economic and political context (for example, state censorship). My primary research area is Cyprus, Greece and Turkey; but I look at art crime and conflict outside the Eastern Mediterranean too.


I moderate comments, to block spam and bigotry. I do not always have regular internet access; but I will reply to e-mails and tweets (and approve and reply to comments) as soon as possible.

22 Comments to “about”

  1. Dear Sam (if I may),

    I have been following your old blog for a while and will be following this one. I am not an archaeologist, but a historian from Cyprus. I have worked in archaeological projects and I am all too aware of the impact of politics on archaeology (and vice versa). I am particularly concerned about the state of old Famagusta, left in limbo and crumbling. Good luck with your work.

    Best wishes,


  2. Hi!

    Thanks for commenting – especially because now I’ve found your blog.




  3. Dear Sir,

    I would like to ask you to give me your email. I organise intercultural programs to the Kosovo region and want to ask you to contact us with the Turkish, Roma and Croatian minorities in this place.

    Thank you,
    best regards:

    Szikra Csaba,


  4. Am a 1st year student of archaeology but i want 2 no more about archaeology. Some say its all about digging. I chose it because i love adventures an research.


    • It’s not all digging; there’s a lot of scientific analysis, historical study… There aren’t many jobs; but there are certainly opportunities for research and adventures!


  5. I’m relatively new to your blog and find it absolutely fascinating. I’m currently a student in a paralegal studies program as well as a digital forensics program. I have an undergraduate degree in art history, interned at an art museum in the American midwest, and participated in a medieval dig in southern France. I am hoping to combine these interests and somehow forge a new career in the areas of law or law enforcement.


  6. Congratulations, Sam!

    I have nominated your blog for the Awesome Blog Content Award.

    More about this nomination is at



  7. Well deserved 🙂 Keep blogging!


  8. In 1962-2 I worked 15months in Cyprus as touristguide and hostess for Swedish travellers and stationed in Famagusta had to leave in Jan 64 after war started Dec 21. In vier of my total knowledge. Of The entre undivided Island I have. Writtenmy memoirs just about ready now for publishing . Are you interested in reading my manuskript it can be mailen to you piecemeal, no styringsrådet attached. I live in Norway now after 14 yearsin -Sweden and 15 years in England working as a travelconsultant for 30 years. I am 81 but still very energetic Love to hear from you Sincerely yours Ingrid Birkeland Jernbaneveieb 101. N 1369 STABEKK. Norway telfnr 47 92041749


  9. I’ve holidayed with my Iraqi friends in Mosul. I’ve climbed the 100 steps to Junnis tomb and Mosque. I’ve drunk the wonderful ice-cold water from the basin before the entrance. I’ve slept and laughed and dined magnificently off Tigris trout, I’ve swum in my clothes in the Tigris, I’ve had marriage proposals, I’ve shopped in the gold souk. My friends, whose families have lived in Mosul for generations, and their friends and relatives, barely have enough power or water to get through each day. If bloody ISIS can destroy their own Sunni religious site, introduce a fatwa of FGM for four million women in Mosul, what then are we in the wider world doing to stop these sadistic, testosterone-driven, godless, mindless creatures? Me? I am devastated


    • I think the FGM story has been debunked. The key thing to remember is that the Sunni sites are not “their own” because they are not meaningfully Sunni, ISIS are not in any way representative of any normal religious community.


  10. I wait eagerly for information that ISIS will not impose FGM on Mosulian women. ISIS – in my humble opinion – is the world’s new representative of mindless inhumanity


  11. I have just come across your blog having just read Robert Bevan’s interesting Evening Standard report: Culture wars: tracking the destruction of Middle East monuments (27 Aug 2014) – where he references you. I have also now come across Robert Bevan’s book “The Destruction of Memory: Architecture at War” although I have yet to read it. I think this is an area of utmost importance that I hope in time to gain awareness of – in terms of the “current state of knowledge and thinking”.

    I recognise that the “News Media” is part of the “Entertainment Business” whose priorities are not in the gathering and presentation of the “truth” but rather in the gathering and presentation of “stories that sell” in a style acceptable to a certain acceptable cultural milieu … and this has led me to be somewhat despondent.

    I have yet to read over your blog but at first glance it looks like an ideal starting point in order to gain a deeper learning in this area.


  12. Hi, do you know of anyone or any organisation keeping track of all the ordnance and bombs being used (dropped, fired etc) around the world and in the different regions of the world? For example if I wanted to look at a chronology of total explosive tonnage of ordnance/bombs (fired/ dropped etc) up to present date in southern Iraq (Sumeria region) or northern Iraq (Assyria region) where would I start. Thanks.


  13. Hello,
    I am AFP correspondent in Baghdad, I am working on a story concerning Iraqi cultural heritage and looting, I would love to ask you a few question. How can I contact you? I already followed you on twitter (my name is Laure Al khoury).
    All the best,


  14. Hi Sam I am looking into looting and trading of antiquities from Afghanistan. Can we connect?


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