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While Lorestan’s Excavations Delayed, Illegal Diggers Looted and Destroyed the Site


01 December 2006




LONDON, (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 cemetery.


A 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.


The 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.


In 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.


Hassanpour 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 laboratories.”


According to this archaeologist, the Iron Age cemetery of Babajilan is now under protection by local guards.


Known 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.




Extracted From/Source: Cultural Heritage News Agency (CHN)

Please note the above-news is NOT a "copy & paste" version from the mentioned-source. The news/article above has been modified with the following interventions by CAIS: Spelling corrections; -Rectification and correction of the historical facts and data; - Providing additional historical information within the text; -Removing any unnecessary, irrelevant & repetitive information.

     All these measures have been taken in order to ensure that the published news provided by CAIS is coherent, transparent, accurate and suitable for academics and cultural enthusiasts who visit the CAIS website.



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