Kick Off Meeting for the EU “SIGNIFICANCE” Project on Prevention of Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Goods
On the 27th of January 2021, CyI’s STARC/APAC, in collaboration with the Università Politecnica delle Marche (Italy) and Hypertech S.A. (Greece), organized the kick off meeting for the EU Stop Illicit Heritage Trafficking with Artificial Intelligence (SIGNIFICANCE) Project.
“SIGNIFICANCE” project, led by STARC Associate Research Scientist Dr. Dante Abate, has been specifically designed to help and increase the responsiveness and effectiveness of the public authorities and Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) against the illicit trafficking of cultural goods through Internet channels (i.e., social platforms, web and dark web). “SIGNIFICANCE” aims to exploit 2D images and textual datasets; High Performance Computing (HPC); Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning; and web crawling for the identification of heritage artifacts sold illicitly online.
During the kick off meeting the project outline was presented to the audience of stakeholders. A key note talk was delivered by Mr. Kostantinos-Orfeas Sotiriou (Expert in Cultural Heritage Protection, Former Police Sergeant-Cultural Heritage Department, Greek Police), entitled “Antiquities Smuggling and Law Enforcement internal procedures: Optimizing the fighting against Illicit trafficking of cultural heritage property”.
It is also important to highlight that the project builds on the close collaboration between CyI and STARC/ APAC Labs with the Cyprus Department of Antiquities and the Cyprus Police to tackle the challenges of Heritage at Risk and more specifically to use advanced technologies to prevent and monitor against the looting and illegal circulation of antiquities. This partnership was formalized through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding signed on the 13th of November 2019 to strengthen their collaboration on issues of common interest related to the use of digital technologies (aerial and terrestrial) for the protection of archaeological monuments and sites.
SIGNIFICANCE project, together with SHIELD (Safeguard Heritage In Endangered Looted Districts), places The Cyprus Institute at the forefront in the fight against cultural property crimes.