NEWS

SatCen participates in the RITHMS project to support the EU in fighting the illicit trafficking of cultural heritage

On 12-13 October 2022, in the fascinating location of Venice, the European Union Satellite Centre (SatCen) participated in the two days kick-off meeting of the Horizon Europe Research, Intelligence and Technology for Heritage and Market Security (RITHMS) project [G.A. n° 101073932].


On 14 October, at the "Fighting Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Heritage" conference, bringing experts in customs and law enforcement, prosecutors and archaeologists, SatCen presented the potential of Earth Observation (EO) in contributing to the fighting the illicit trafficking of cultural goods.


RITHMS intends to strengthen the operational capacity of Police and Customs/Border Authorities in handling the increasingly organised and poly-criminal nature of trafficking in cultural goods. By creating a highly innovative digital platform, the project will support Law Enforcement Agencies in investigation operations by correlating the vast amount of information available on the net (e.g. databases, web, social media) and on the field (e.g. on-site and satellite data). The AI-based core of the system will analyse and identify the connections between the various actors, events, situations and places that directly and indirectly are involved in or fuel the illicit trafficking network of cultural goods. The system will provide investigators with valuable intelligence on the activities and evolution of such networks.


In cooperation with the Centre for Cultural Heritage Technology (CCHT) of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), SatCen contributes to RITHMS with its comprehensive knowledge and expertise in geospatial intelligence. Through the Copernicus SEA service, the Centre will support the project by providing information obtained from the analysis of EO and collateral data for demonstration purposes.


SatCen participation in the project follows the strong commitment of the European Union to cultural heritage preservation as an integral part of its values and the acknowledgement of the risks associated with the deliberate plunder of historical and social patrimony. Destruction, looting, and illicit trafficking in cultural heritage have moved from a local phenomenon confined to the initiative of a few individuals to a highly lucrative activity for criminal organisations and terrorist groups.


In this sense, SatCen addresses the needs expressed by the European Parliament resolution of 17 January 2019 on cross-border restitution claims of works of art and cultural goods looted in armed conflicts and wars (2017/2023(INI)) that "Underlines that the looting of works of art and other cultural goods, during armed conflicts and wars, as well as in times of peace, is a major shared concern that needs to be addressed in terms of both prevention and restitution of looted cultural property in order to protect and ensure the integrity".


More info on the RITHMS Project here

 

  • beach slider
    Image1 of 6SatCen participates in the RITHMS project to support the EU in fighting the illicit trafficking of cultural heritage
  • beach slider
    Image2 of 6Kick-off meeting of the Horizon Europe Research, Intelligence and Technology for Heritage and Market Security (RITHMS) project
  • beach slider
    Image3 of 6Ms Alessandra Ussorio, Responsible of the Copernicus SEA Service at SatCen, and Ms Arianna Traviglia, Coordinator of IIT Centre for Cultural Heritage Technology, at the RITHMS project kick-off
  • beach slider
    Image4 of 6SatCen discussing the potential of Earth Observation in fighting the illicit trafficking of cultural goods
  • beach slider
    Image5 of 6The RITHMS project kick-off brough together major players, with over 50 participants, representing 18 beneficiaries and 20 participating entities
  • beach slider
    Image6 of 6Ms Roberta Onori, Copernicus SEA Image Analyst, presenting SatCen's work at the "Fighting Illicit Trafficking of Cultural Heritage" conference