On Wednesday, 13th of November 2019, The Cyprus Institute, the Cyprus Police and the Department of Antiquities signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), agreeing to reinforce their collaboration on issues of common interest related to the use of digital technologies (aerial and terrestrial) for the protection of archaeological monuments and sites affected by looters.
The MoU signing ceremony took place at The Cyprus Institute’s facilities in Athalassa. Signing the MoU on behalf of Cyprus Police, was its Chief Mr. Kypros Michaelides, on behalf of the Department of Antiquities, its Director Dr. Marina Solomidou-Ieronymidou and on behalf of The Cyprus Institute, its President Prof. Costas N. Papanicolas. Present at the meeting were also the Minister of Transport, Communications and Works, Ms. Vassiliki Anastassiadou, the Head of the Office for Combating Illegal Possession and Trafficking of Antiquities (Cyprus Police), Mr. Michalis Gavrielides, CyI’s Member of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, and senior academic and administrative staff of the Institute.
With the MoU, The Cyprus Institute, the Department of Antiquities and the Police Office for Combating Illegal Possession and Trafficking of Antiquities, agree to pursue collaborative activities that serve and support the protection and well-being of the rich archaeological heritage of Cyprus. This collaboration aims to fight illegal looting of archaeological sites and monuments, the effective use of technology in monitoring endangered sites, mapping looted monuments and documenting, characterizing and visualizing Cyprus’s heritage at risk due to natural and man-made disasters and threats.
Speaking at the ceremony, Prof. Papanicolas noted that The Cyprus Institute is proud and honoured to contribute to an important undertaking such as protecting the cultural heritage of Cyprus. CyI’s participation in this project highlights a great responsibility and high expectations that need to be met.
In her address, the Minister of Transport stated that protecting cultural heritage is a national matter, and the collaboration between a research organisation such as The Cyprus Institute and government agencies with the common goal to utilise research results for the service of the greater good, is an initiative that certainly supports the government's efforts to transform Cyprus into a country of knowledge and innovation.
The Chief of Cyprus Police said that the signing of this agreement is part of the Police's ongoing efforts to adopt state-of-the-art techniques and technology, in order to transform Cyprus Police into a fully modern and efficient organization.
Finally, the Director of the Department of Antiquities expressed her thanks to the Cyprus Police for its cooperation and for its professionalism, especially in the repatriation of outstanding antiquities to Cyprus, and to CyI’s STARC, which has proven to be a valuable partner for her Department, especially after the recent signing of the MoU between the two organisations.