Turkish Cypriot police have launched an investigation after a piece of marble from the ancient site of Salamis ended up on eBay.
Officials in the north say a 2500-year-old stolen piece of marble from the ancient site of Salamis was being sold on eBay, one of the largest online marketplaces in the world.
Turkish Cypriot media said the tiny piece appeared to have been removed after the auction made headlines on the island, with unconfirmed reports suggesting the stolen item was being sold out of Russia.
In the south, Antiquities Curator Despina Pilides said the Republic of Cyprus always informs police on stolen items, with Interpol also being notified and state officials seeking the return of ancient artifacts.
Pilides said antiquity officials in Cyprus were facing challenges due to the division of the island but pointed out that, as far as she knew, authorities in the north were issuing tickets for those visiting the ancient site in question.
It is very easy for someone to take a small piece, put it in their pocket, and walk away
She also pointed out that illegal antiquity trade was rampant on both sides of the island, saying prevention was the best weapon against these types of offences.
“When stolen items go on auction, the procedures for their return are very difficult,” Pilides added.
The Greek Cypriot curator, who said it would be very easy for someone to take a small piece, put it in their pocket, and walk away, also pointed out that online platforms have an important role in helping authorities in their efforts to combat the illegal trade.
Turkish Cypriot Fikri Ataoglu, who oversees matters of tourism and environment n the north, has reportedly ordered an investigation over the Salamis piece, which was being sold for $85 before the listing was finally removed.