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February 15, 2014

Dr. Christos Tsirogiannis will teach "Unravelling the Hidden Market of Illicit Antiquities: Lessons from Greece and Italy" for the 2014 ARCA Postgraduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection

Dr. Christos Tsirogiannis will return to Amelia this year to teach "Unravelling the Hidden Market of Illicit Antiquities: Lessons from Greece and Italy" from July 28-30 and August 4-6 in ARCA's Postgraduate Certificate Program in Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection.

Dr. Tsirogiannis attended ARCA's International Art Crime Conference last year to accept the award for "Art Protection and Security" in recognition of his work of matching objects at auction with police-confiscated archives, leading to repatriations for Italy and Greece.

Christos, a Greek forensic archaeologist, studied archaeology and history of art in the University of Athens, then worked for the Greek Ministries of Culture and Justice from 1994 to 2008, excavating throughout Greece and recording antiquities in private hands. He voluntarily cooperated with the Greek police Art Squad on a daily basis (August 2004 - December 2008) and was a member of the Greek Task Force Team that repatriated looted, smuggled and stolen antiquities from the Getty Museum, the Shelby White/Leon Levy collection, the Jean-David Cahn AG galleries, and others.

Since 2007, Tsirogiannis has been identifying antiquities depicted in the confiscated Medici, Becchina and Symes-Michaelides archives with those in museums (e.g. the Michael Carlos Museum in Atlanta, the Virginia Museum of Fine Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York), galleries (e.g. Cahn AG), auction houses (Christie's, Sotheby's and Bonhams), and private collections (e.g. those of Shelby White/Leon Levy, Barbara and Lawrence Fleischman, George Ortiz). Notifying public prosecutor Dr. Paolo Giorgio Ferri and the Greek authorities has led to repatriations (e.g. from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to the Villa Giulia Museum in Rome). He received his Ph.D. last October at the University of Cambridge, on the international illicit antiquities network viewed through the Robin Symes-Christos Michaelides archive.

What will be the focus in your course?
The trafficking of antiquities internationally, focusing on the last 50 years, and especially the developments in the illicit trade since 2005, using case studies throughout. We will start with a historical introduction, then survey the leading dealers of the international market. The central session of the course will consider the roles of auction houses, museums and galleries. Focusing on Greece, Italy, the UK and the USA, we will discuss the level of proof needed for a successful claim and repatriation, before we examine various strategies proposed for regulating the market in the future. Lectures will be combined with interactive discussion sessions.
Do you have a recommended reading list that students can read before the course?
CHIPPINDALE, CHRISTOPHER & DAVID W. J. GILL. 2000. Material consequences of contemporary classical collecting, American Journal of Archaeology 104:463-511.
MEYER, KARL E. 1977. The Plundered Past. Atheneum (NY): Hamish Hamilton. 
O’KEEFE, PATRICK J. 1997. Trade in Antiquities: Reducing Destruction and Theft. London: Archetype Publications and UNESCO.
RENFREW, A. COLIN. 2006. Loot, legitimacy and ownership. London: Duckworth.
*WATSON, PETER & CECILIA TODESCHINI. 2007. The Medici conspiracy. New York (NY): Public Affairs.
Here's a link to a 2012 BBC interview with Christos Tsirogiannis.

The deadline to apply to the ARCA program in Umbria is March 1. You may send inquiries to