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Smugglers loot ancient cemetery in Sarm Tepe


05 April 2005



Cemetery of the 3000-year-old Sarm Tepe, an ancient site near the central Iranian city of Qom was looted by illegal excavations owing to hiatus in archaeological studies and lack of security devices, director of the archaeological team working on the site announced on Sunday.

“In depth of 20 centimeters to six meters, the site contains many ancient items. The excavations carried out over the past years have increased the value of the site. A break between two phases of excavation provided a good opportunity for smugglers to dig out artifacts in the region,” Khosro Purbakhshandeh added.

Various architectural styles of graves and many relics have been discovered in the cemetery of the Sarm Tepe during the three phases of excavations. No example of the artifacts has been seen in any Iranian ancient sites, archaeologists believe.

“Remarkable part of studies became futile because of the illegal excavations. Presence of smugglers means destruction of cultural heritage in the region because they not only loot artifacts but also have no care in their excavation. Thus many other artifacts are destroyed in the excavations,” Purbakhshandeh said.

A unique common grave of a couple, which had been discovered during past excavations, has been entirely devastated.

“We could learn about the immigration of the people living at 200 to 300 kilometers around if the archaeological studies continued. The studies could also result in finding new information, which could help identification of the region,” Purbakhshandeh said.





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