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RITHMS at EAA Conference in Belfast

05 September 2023

Our esteemed team members, Dr. Arianna Traviglia and Dr. Michela De Bernardin (Centre for Cultural Heritage Technology - Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia) had the honor of serving as session chairs alongside Dr. Marianne Mödlinger at the EAA23 Weaving Narratives conference in Belfast, Ireland.

The session they led, titled "REPOSITORIES AND DATASETS AS OPERATIONAL TOOLS IN COUNTERING THE ILLICIT TRAFFICKING OF CULTURAL GOODS" addressed the challenges posed by looting and illicit trafficking of cultural artifacts,  particularly in regions affected by conflict.

During the session, attendees had the opportunity to explore the crucial role played by databases and research activities in combating cultural heritage trafficking. Organizations such as Arma dei Carabinieri - Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in Italy, the French OCBC, and INTERPOL’s Works of Art Unit were highlighted for their efforts in developing databases of stolen objects. Innovative techniques like social network analysis were also discussed, revealing how they are being employed to track illicit online sales and criminal networks.

 The session featured informative presentations that focused on the creation of digital repositories for archaeological goods, whether acquired, sold, or stolen, and research catalogs with clear geographic provenance. These presentations were followed by a structured discussion that encouraged participants to engage in critical dialogue, exploring effective ways to connect these datasets and make them accessible to law enforcement experts.

This session was organized within the framework of the RITHMS_EU project, emphasizing our dedication to establishing an interoperable digital platform. This platform aims to identify organized criminal networks involved in the trade of cultural property, providing invaluable intelligence to investigators and contributing to the preservation of cultural heritage.

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