The illegal excavations in Greece have increased due to severe economic crisis suffered by the country. This increase is most evident in the northwest, in the Macedonia regionIt is not only driven by economic need, but also by the failure of the state to protect its ancestral heritage.
The area where most treasure hunters have come to loot it has always been one of the most prolific, explains the archaeologist of the city of Kabala, Sofia Doukata: “Illegal excavations have always been carried out around the mountains in this area. But the occasional practice has now become a sport”.
The mount Paggaio, located near the city of Kavala, appears to have attracted large numbers of looters. Treasure hunters are prospecting archaeological sites in the hope of finding something and selling it. The problem is not only that the objects they find will disappear from the public heritage, but that they often destroy the area they have looted.
Experts estimate that, in just a space of 3 to 4 kilometers, the looters have made 15 holes with a depth close to 2 meters and a width of 5 meters. The editor of the Chronometro newspaper comments: "It looks like an area devastated by meteorites."
The serious economic crisis that Greece has suffered for three years has had a high cost for the security of museums and archaeological sites, leaving them unprotected and without staff. Earlier this year, the police broke up a smuggling ring operating in the north of the country and recovered thousands of ancient coins and Byzantine objects.
The authorities have already sent some officers to work in the Kavala area, but it will be a difficult task. The area around the city covers 12 kilometers and contains about 102 archaeological sites that are only accessible on foot. Furthermore, the Greek government only has a budget for send two people to take care of Kavala, Serres, Drama and Thassos.
Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was little he loved history and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.