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Smugglers Destroy Iron Age Cemetery South of Tehran


29 April 2006




Pardis Tepe 5000 BCE.jpg (68559 bytes)Artefact from Pardis Tepe, 5,000 BCE


LONDON, (CAIS) -- An Iron Age cemetery in southern Tehran Province has been severely damaged by smugglers, the Persian service of CHN reported on Wednesday.


The cemetery at Pardis Tepe near Varamin was excavated by a team of archaeologists from the Tehran University and Britain ’s University of Leicester and University of Bradford last year but was left without any guards or protective fences.


“Unfortunately, due to the lack of any measures to safeguard the site, the Iron Age graves discovered during the excavations have been demolished by unknown persons and have been obliterated forever from Iran’s ancient history,” said Hassan Fazeli Nashli, the head of the team that excavated the site.


The human bones and artifacts discovered during the excavations have been scattered on the ground at the site.


“A lot of time and money were spent on the excavation and research, but many graves from the Iron Age -- an important period in archaeological studies -- have been demolished. For example, it took twenty days of hard work to excavate a grave containing an Iron Age couple, but the grave has been destroyed and the skeletons have been irrevocably damaged,” he explained.


He said that the Varamin Governor’s Office and the local police were responsible for guarding the site, adding, “As an expert, I have carried out my duties at the site… Officials and the people should have protected the site.”


Varamin Governor Hamid Nik-Hemmat expressed regret over what happened and ordered all relevant organizations to make efforts to increase the level of security at Varamin cultural heritage sites.


“Illegal excavations rarely occur at Varamin’s ancient sites. However, very serious measures will soon be taken to prevent such events from recurring in the city because it is one of the history- making cities of Iran near Tehran which must protect its cultural status,” he said.


According to Nik-Hemmat, the police are investigating the case in order to arrest the culprits.


Pardis Tepe also contains sites dating back to the sixth and fifth millennia BCE. Several pottery kilns, a potter’s wheel, a spindle, and many grey shards have been discovered at the site during previous excavations.




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Source/Extracted From: MNA



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