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The Private Detective Who Devoted His Life to Saving Greece’s Heritage

Sotiris Skouloudis

April 9, 2022

George Tsoukalis, the private detective who has devoted his life to saving and protecting Ancient Greece’s cultural heritage, talks exclusively about his rare profession.

Tsoukalis is the famous “hunter” of the illicit dealers of antiquities and has solved 65 of the 67 cases he has undertaken. Thanks to him and his team, 16,375 ancient priceless objects have been recovered, and instead of ending up in private collections, they have attained a well-deserved spot in a Greek museum.

Now in his 30th year of service, Tsoukalis has pursued this line of work merely for the joy attained in managing to preserve Greek relics.

He tells Greek Reporter that personal fulfilment and satisfaction are the only forms of compensation provided to him, but he has kept at it for three decades in the hopes to protect Greek cultural heritage; this would be considered the equivalent to protection of our borders, for which so much Greek blood has been lost over centuries, he says.

People’s appreciation throughout Greece is his greatest compensation, and he has received six international awards, as well as innumerable distinctions from various bodies, including from the Greek Police which has supported Tsoukalis in his endeavours.

George Tsoukalis tells Greek Reporter that it all began in 1991 “when a journalist publicly insulted him because, as a private investigator, he turned a blind eye to the huge problem of illegal antiquities trading. From thenceforth on, I became obsessed!” The first case was an antiquities loot in Megara,” Tsoukalis reveals, “where two people were arrested. Immediately, I became addicted to this work. It was a type of adrenaline rush for me, and I consistently started pursuing such cases on a voluntary basis.”

According to Tsoukalis, his efforts in quashing the illegal trade of antiquities have been immensely rewarding.

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