A 14th century gravestone found in a field by a resident has been handed over to cultural activist known for her work in combatting art trafficking Tasoula Hadjitofi, it emerged on Saturday.
The stone was from the grave of Joseph de Sur, a resident of Tyre, Syria, who died in Famagusta (then known as Engomi) in the 14the century, the Walk of Truth, a non-profit founded by Hadjitofi, said on Saturday.
“This means that the tombstone, along with other antiquities, was in the occupied areas,” the press release said.
The man who found it, who wished to remain unnamed, found the gravestone in mud while searching for stones for construction purposes in Larnaca 12 years ago.
It is not known how the tombstone ended up in Larnaca.
The unnamed man said they chose not to give the gravestone to the authorities because ‘it would end up locked up in a box’, deciding instead to contact Hadjitofi after watching a recent interview.
He said he had received offers from various people who wanted to buy the gravestone off of him which he refused.
Hadjitofi recommended the person who found it be honoured “to encourage others who have cultural treasures to return them to the state”.
She also called for the Limassol archaeological museum to provide a room to store local and foreign antiquities found by cultural crime watchers worldwide until an exhibition place is found.
“The destruction and trafficking of a people’s cultural heritage constitutes a crime against humanity,” she said.