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Izeh, Smugglers’ Most Popular Ancient Site


30 July 2005



The director of the Izeh Cultural Heritage and Tourism Office said on Saturday that the ancient site of Izeh in Iran’s southwestern province of Khuzestan is excavated and looted by smugglers many times every year.


“Due to the large expanse of the region, every day we see new holes in the ground dug by smugglers. The region is difficult to access, but the teams of smugglers with metal detectors excavate the ancient sites at night. Our office is not able to confront them,” Keramat Tahmasbi added.


Khuzestan Province officials have tried to educate the local residents about the negative effect of such excavations and to establish societies for the protection of the site over the past year.


“The process of illegal excavations is so extensive that it will cause irreparable damage to the site,” Izeh Cultural Heritage and Tourism Office expert Saeid Mohammadpur said.


The ancient sites of Khuzestan Province have the dubious distinction of suffering the most damage and the most illegal excavations and smuggling of all Iran’s historical sites.


Unfortunately, after the Karun-3 Dam came on stream last November, many ancient sites and artifacts dating back to the Elamite era and the Stone Age were submerged under mud and water, throwing salt on the wounds. Archaeologists had also identified 18 sites from the Epipaleolithic period (20,000-10,000 BC) in the area.  




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