He provides some insights into the way the trade in illicit antiquities works:
One man I know uses an unreported tomb as a sort of bank. He has found all sorts of treasures in there and visits whenever he wants cash."Achilleas" is critical of the Cypriot authorities and suggests that there is no storage space for archaeological finds.
He keeps everything secret as many will happily report him to the authorities for a cash reward and he would then certainly go to prison.
The antiquities department knows where most of the tombs are, but many have been filled in after they have been excavated. There are just so many treasures here that there aren’t enough archaeologists to work all those sites. There also isn’t enough space in our museums to cater for all the pieces that are found."Achilleas" believes that Cyprus needs a scheme like the Portable Antiquities Scheme for England and Wales (though the scheme itself is not named).
We almost have too much stuff, with museums running out of space and being forced to store artefacts outside and uncared for. They don’t know what to do with it all.
In his view coins are being protected if they are removed from their contexts:
Coins can become worthless in the hands of the inexperienced and most have already suffered from the damage caused by farmers’ fertilisers.And as I read this report I felt that I had heard it all before - but from North American collectors. "Achilleas" is, of course, an alias.
Can this be part of the propaganda war to remove the restrictions on the import of antiquities from Cyprus imposed by the US Government in 2007?