A leading archaeologist warned yesterday that Cyprus' cultural history is at the mercy of unscrupulous dealers who were flogging its treasures on a popular internet auction site.
Italian archaeologist Maria Rosaria Belgiorno told The Cyprus Daily that hundreds of antiquities probably looted from the island were trading daily on eBay.
"I invite scholars and archaeologists who are on various missions to help recover the Cypriot antiquities. There are hundreds of Cypriot antiquities dating from the prehistoric to the mediaeval periods being sold on eBay," Belgiorno said.
Acting Antiquities Department director Despo Pilides said eBay and other internet sales of antiquities was one of the department's main problems in controlling illicit trafficking.
"We don't know whether these antiquities come from the occupied or government-controlled areas but we try to establish their provenance which is difficult and in cases where we establish the origin we inform the police so that they can take action to withdraw an object from the sale."
Police spokesman Andreas Angelides confirmed when Cypriot antiquities are sold on the internet they are fully investigated with the collaboration of Interpol. >6