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Kultur-gut schützen!

The active protection of cultural assets is predicated on good communication and effective cooperation among a number of individuals and institutions. Of fundamental importance in this context is the specialist knowledge of experts in the subject areas of ancient studies: government agencies act on the basis of their expertise, without it, they would be unable to intervene. In the German system, multiple agencies and structures share responsibility for dealing with offenses relating to cultural property. This makes clear lines of communication and effective cooperation among the various partners, including the experts in the relevant fields of ancient studies, essential. There must be strong interlinkages among researchers in the relevant fields, customs authorities, police, public prosecutor’s offices, institutions involved in the conservation of archaeological monuments, and cultural authorities. Dealing with this type of offense is not part of everyday operations, and having a good picture of different facets and current trends on the illicit markets is of vital importance in these cases. Structural interlinkages with organised crime up to and including entities involved in the financing of war and terrorism are of particularly explosive significance vis-à-vis safeguarding the public interest. In view of recent developments in Europe, consideration must be given to any circumstances suggestive of money laundering activity and to the role of cultural assets as a form of investment. Two conferences are planned to strengthen the lines of communication within state authorities and ancient studies scholars. The conferences will provide a forum in which the issues can be presented and awareness of their relevance be reinforced while also affording an opportunity for networking among the individuals and bodies involved. The conferences will take place in conjunction a project week within the study programme of the Police Academy Hamburg in order to allow students there to gain an initial understanding of issues and investigative work in this area. A 2023 calendar with a cultural-assets protection theme will also be produced to draw the attention of a broader public to this issue.