Antiquities suffer at hands of crisis

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Greece’s antiquities and historical past is suffering at the hands of the national financial crisis with digs being postponed, illegal ones proliferating, museum staff trimmed and valuable pieces stolen, say Greek archaeologists. “Greece’s historic remains have become our curse,” said an archaeologist at a recent media event organised to protest spending cuts. Archaeological digs in Greece are finding it hard to obtain public funding while antiquity smuggling is on the rise, said archaeologists at the meeting. “There are an increasing number of illegal digs near archaeological sites,” said Despina Koutsoumba, head of the association of Greek archaeologists. “Some of them are excavated by semi-professionals who work for art trafficking networks. Others are done by treasure hunters,” she told AFP. Last month, Greek police arrested 44 people and recovered thousands of ancient coins and numerous Byzantine icons after smashing a large antiquity smuggling ring in northern Greece. In October, another smuggling group were arrested in possession of Macedonian golden grave offerings from the 6th century BC which were valued at some 11.3 million euros ($14.4 million). Some senior archaeologists said that it would be better to rebury the valuable discoveries to protect given the lack of funding for archaeological research. “Let us leave our antiquities in the soil, to be found by archaeologists in 10,000 AD, when Greeks and their politicians will perhaps show more respect to their history,” Michalis Tiverios, a professor of archaeology at Thessaloniki’s Aristotelio University, told Ta Nea daily in early March.last_img read more