22 September 1999
TEHRAN -- Head of the archeological team working in the biggest prehistoric
cemetery in Aq-Evlar region in Gilan Province, Mohammad-Reza Khal'atbari, said
that illegal excavations are being conducted in this 2,500-year old cemetery.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Khal'atbari noted that several ancient and
historical relics of the cemetery have been exported abroad. The cemetery is
located in an area of 400 hectares in the mountainous Talesh region in Gilan
Province. He expressed hope that through taking security measures, the
excavations by smugglers would be stopped in this region, adding that it is
necessary to implement a long-term plan to protect the cemetery from the
smugglers and illegal excavators.
Khal'atbari further said that the cemetery dates back to the second half of the
first millenium B.C., and that the graves indicate that there was a great
civilization in this region. He said that the relics unearthed in this cemetery
include several pottery works, luxury dishes and war and hunting equipment.
"The presence of such things beside the bodies in graves show that the
people of that time believed in the Resurrection Day," he added.
Referring to the large area which is under excavation, Khal'atbari noted that
some 10 years are needed to complete the excavations in this region. He said
that Talesh region is very ancient and provides the experts with an opportunity
to carry out researches in the areas of anthropology, archeology and traditional
arts. Meanwhile, Farzad Forouzanfar, the anthropologist of the team, said that
during the first phase of the excavations in Aq-Evlar region, some 30 single,
family and mass graves were unearthed.
The graves included 36 skeletons belonging to men and women between the ages of
30 and 35 and children below the age of 12. Forouzanfar concluded by saying that
the first phase of the excavations in Aq-Evlar region started in June.