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Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Operation Pandora Recovers Thousands of Artifacts

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Operation Pandora lootingTHE HAGUE, THE NETHERLANDS—NBC News reports that an international operation led by Cypriot and Spanish police has resulted in the recovery of more than 3,500 stolen cultural objects—almost half of which were archaeological artifacts—and the arrest of 75 people suspected of activity in criminal networks. Dubbed “Operation Pandora,” the coordinated effort focused on “cultural spoliation,” or the act of taking goods by force, and the illicit trafficking of cultural goods, particularly from countries at war. The police and other authorities from a total of 18 countries, in cooperation with UNESCO, Interpol, and Europol, initiated more than 90 investigations, and conducted thousands of inspections and searches of people, vehicles, and ships during October and November of 2016. More than 400 coins, an Ottoman tombstone, and a post-Byzantine icon depicting Saint George are among the recovered items. For more, go to “Sunken Byzantine Basilica.”

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