The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
(CAIS) -- Archaeological excavations in the 3000-year-old cemetery of
Babajilan (bābājilān) in western Iranian province of Lorestan had to stopped
due to heavy rains and snows in the mountainous regions of the province where
the ancient cemetery is located. This is while illegal diggers continue to loot
and destroy large numbers of ancient bronze relics which abound in this
few weeks ago, a group of archaeologists were dispatched by Iran’s Archaeology
Research Centre to the Iron Age cemetery of Babajilan to study the area and
prevent further plundering of the site by illegal diggers. However, after only
18 days during which archaeologists were busy collecting the broken pieces of
bronze artifacts dug out by illegal diggers, they had to return since heavy
blizzard made continuation of their work almost impossible.
Iron Age cemetery of Babajilan has many times been plundered by illegal diggers
and, according to Ata Hassanpour, archaeologist of Lorestan’s Cultural
Heritage and Tourism Department, the cemetery is now full of ancient artifacts
destroyed as a result of illegal activities. “Illegal diggers understandably
have no trainings in how an artifact must be unearthed without being damaged and
therefore cause lots of harms to these ancient relics while digging. This is why
large numbers of historic artifacts are destroyed before they go under studies
by experts,” said Hassanpour.
addition, he noted that many of ancient relics unearthed by the smugglers are
destroyed further once in contact with the air for too long. On the other hand,
since large numbers of artifacts found in Lorestan’s historic sites are made
of bronze, they easily oxidize after few days of exposure in open air.
also noted that since Babajilan cemetery is located in a mountainous area with
an average slope of 65 degrees, natural conditions make it difficult for
archaeologists to carry on with their activities. “During the short period we
were excavating this cemetery, each time a trench was made by archaeologists it
was quickly washed away by rains. Therefore, we could only collect the broken
artifacts left behind by illegal diggers in the area to be studied in our
to this archaeologist, the Iron Age cemetery of Babajilan is now under
protection by local guards.
for their exquisite bronze objects, mostly dated to the first millennium BCE,
Lorestan’s historic sites are considered unique in the country.
Sang-Tarashan (sang-tarāšān) is only one of the most important archaeological sites of this province in which hundreds of bronze objects were discovered in the recent years. In addition to large numbers of rare bronze objects found in this region, a beautiful bronze glass with a very delicate etching work on its body and the design of a lotus flower on its bottom, a wide variety of war instruments such as different kinds of swords in different sizes, battle axes, an ivory scabbard, together with bronze vessels such as teapots, pitchers, bowls and glasses, all dating back to the Iron Age, were unearthed in this historic site.
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