High-tech Antiquity Looters

In Greece, high-tech looters target artifacts buried in the sea

The Boston Globe
By Helena Smith, Globe Correspondent
September 11, 2005

“ATHENS — On congested, dusty Alexandras Avenue, the secrets of the sea seem a world away. But in Room 625, on the sixth floor of Greece’s gargantuan police headquarters, the watery world of ancient shipwrecks and other archeological riches occupies the attention of Giorgos Gligoris.

The veteran officer oversees the Hellenic Police Force’s antitrafficking unit, battling smugglers bent on snatching treasures from the seabed.

Traffickers have caught on to the fact that there are more than 12,000 shipwrecks in Greek waters. Many of the submerged gems date back to the Golden Age of the fifth century BC. Armed with archeological service maps acquired on the black market, burgeoning numbers of international smugglers have made it their mission to locate the wrecks, authorities say.”

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