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Public Plunder of Jiroft Artifacts Resumes


31 August 2004



In a public frenzy to unearth lucrative 5,000-year-old artifacts, Jiroft residents are plowing their yards and gardens, reminiscent of nasty scenes last seen three years ago.

The historical site of Jiroft, home to an ancient civilization, is dubbed as “archaeologists’ paradise”, since it is one of the most artifact-rich sites in the globe. Three years ago, local people, who are mostly farmers and businessmen, lunched a artifact rush and smuggled some priceless relics out of Iran.

“This time around, according to local tip-offs, people have clandestinely started to dig out their houses’ yards and gardens in search of 5,000-year-old artifacts,” said Rahmatollah Raouf, commander of the National Cultural heritage Corps.

He said law enforcement forces could not sweep on all suspected houses and the only solution is to increase the public awareness. Raouf threatened perpetrators with jail sentences, however, if they do not stop plundering national artifacts.

In January 2001 a group of Iranians from Jiroft in the southwestern province of Kerman stumbled upon an ancient tomb. Inside they found a hoard of objects decorated with highly distinctive engravings of animals, mythological figures and architectural motifs.


Official excavation of the site began in February 2003. It is focusing on both the necropolis, which was looted extensively, and on an ancient settlement not discovered by the looters.




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