Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More antiquities arrests in the north

POLICE in the north appear to have uncovered a ring of antiquities smugglers following new reports yesterday of three more arrests on top of another nine earlier in the week.

Quoting Turkish Cypriot press reports, state television CyBC yesterday said three people had been arrested after being found with a 145-year-old church bell.

CyBC also referred to the theft of a bible from the monastery of Apostolos Varnavas [St Barnabas].

The book’s value was in the region of €1.5 million, the report said.

It was not immediately clear whether the bible referred to was the one seized in Famagusta more than a week ago for which nine people were arrested.

The Cyprus Church has made no comment on the seizure of a bible or whether or not anything matching its description had once belonged to, or was stolen from any church building in the occupied areas.

So maybe it's a modern Bible stolen from a church. But meanwhile Steve Caruso (Aramaic Blog) suspects it is a forgery that someone tried to sell him last July and David G.K. Taylor of Oxford University is convinced it's a fake, and a disappointing one at that.

UPDATE (11 February): In an update to the post linked to above, Steve Caruso clarifies that the document he was offered is not the same as the one in the news, but that they both fit what he thinks is "a consistent pattern of forgeries that are showing up in Turkey."