Another treasure trove of Cyprus' cultural heritage, a marble from ancient Salamis, was attempted to be auctioned off on the popular site Ebay by a Russian owner.
According to an announcement, the immediate intervention of Tassoula Hatzitofi, a refugee from Famagusta, activist and author of the book “Image Hunter”, ended the auction.
In relation to the marbles of Salamis and the attempt to auction a part of its marble, on Ebay, the information to Ms. Hatzitofi was made by a volunteer, who lives in San Francisco, it is reported.
It is added that Ms. Hatzitofi, who knows the executives of Ebay, called on Thursday night and asked that the specific marble of Salamina be withdrawn immediately from the auction. At the same time she asked that they bring her in contact with the collector who was auctioning it.
“Our goal,” said Ms. Hatzitofi, “is to find out when and how the piece of marble fled from Salamis and the occupied territories and who the smuggler is.” “We must turn to art dealers and sensitize collectors and owners to donate them back to Cyprus,” said Ms. Hatzitofi.
Ms. Hatzitofi, studying with UCL University Professor of England, Mark Altawee, the sales on Ebay, found that Cyprus is the 3rd country in antiques sales on the site where online auctions take place from around the world.
With Professor Altawee, they co-authored an article, which was published in academic journals in 2020. The article referred to the importance of preserving the cultural heritage of the various cultures and the illegal auctions that contribute to their looting and sale.
Ms. Hatzitofi, through the organization Walk of Truth, which was founded and operates based in The Hague (Netherlands), obtained and obtained a license from the site for preventive information of any antiquities that will be sold on Ebay.
As mentioned, the surveillance is carried out internationally by a network of volunteer students, archaeologists and others, who immediately inform the Foundation about illegal activities with trade in works of art and cultural heritage of many countries. It is known as the Culture Crime Watchers Worldwide, CCWW, which records and provides specific information on illegal activities.
In addition, Ebay technology experts, in collaboration with expert volunteers from the Hatzitofi Foundation, Walk of Truth, in the United States, are working to identify APIs that make surveillance fast and accurate, not only for stolen antiquities in Cyprus but also for illegal ones. antiquities around the world.
The Foundation is based on information from volunteers.