The repatriation of over 80 Cypriot antiquities from the United States of America was successfully completed on 26th April, the Department of Antiquities, announced.
A press release said that the antiquities date to various periods of Cypriot history, from around 2000 BC up to the 18th century AD. These include, amongst others, ancient clay and glass vessels, limestone sculptures, coins and an ecclesiastical wall painting fragment. All antiquities had been handed over to the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Washington by the USA authorities or by private individuals.
A repatriation ceremony was held on 20th of April at the Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Washington, in the presence of the Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus in the United States of America, . Marios Lysiotis, the Director of the Cyprus Department of Antiquities, Dr. Marina Solomidou Ieronymidou, Curator of Antiquities, Eftychia Zachariou, the Head of the Office for the Combating of Illicit Possession and Trafficking of Antiquities of the Police Headquarters (Cyprus Police), Chief Police Inspector Michalis Gavrielides, the Deputy Assistant Director, International Operations, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Ricardo Mayoral, and representatives of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Custom and Border Protection (CBP) and the State Department.
The packing and transportation of the Cypriot antiquities was overseen by Dr. Elefthrios Charalambous, Conservator at the Department of Antiquities. The antiquities arrived at the Cyprus Museum in Nicosia on April 26 where they were unpacked under the supervision of Department of Antiquities’ Conservator, Eleni Loizides. The antiquities will be conserved and digitized as part of the Department of Antiquities’ digitization program.
The Department of Antiquities and the National Committee for Combatting the Looting and Illicit Trafficking of Antiquities thanked the competent authorities of the USA and especially the HSI, FBI, CBP and the State Department for their excellent collaboration and their tireless efforts towards the protection of cultural heritage and the combatting of illicit trafficking of cultural objects.
The press release noted that towards this direction, the Cultural Property Agreement that is in force between the United States of America and the Republic of Cyprus concerning the Imposition of Import Restrictions on Pre-Classical and Classical Archaeological Objects and Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Period Ecclesiastical and Ritual Ethnological Materials, remains of extremely vital importance.