(CAIS) -- Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism
Organization (ICHTO) has initiated legal actions against
Barekat Gallery in London to repatriate 12 artifacts
[allegedly] stolen from Halilroud historical site in Jiroft, Kerman
province, which are being maintained at the gallery.
According to CHN, legal proceedings are underway to
recover 12 artifacts which were smuggled out of the
An Iranian archeologist who is in charge of excavations at
Halilroud, Professor Yousef Majid-zadeh said that court
hearings on the case has not been scheduled so far.
He said that the gallery has till date refused to hand
over the Iranian artifacts from Halilroud historical site
and declared that it would hand them over if Iran can
prove the origin of the relics in court.
Majid-zadeh said that the artifacts which being kept at
the London-based gallery date back to third millennium BC
and ICHTO officials have forwarded 12 other artifacts to
London to prove the similarity of those in the gallery
with artifacts from Halilroud historical site.
He said that the ICHTO and the London-based gallery are
still at loggerheads about the repatriation of the
artifacts to Iran.
January 2001 a group of Iranians from Jiroft in the
southwestern province of Kerman stumbled upon an ancient
tomb. Inside they found a hoard of objects decorated with
highly distinctive engravings of animals, mythological
figures and architectural motifs. For over one year in
a public frenzy to unearth lucrative 5,000-year-old
artifacts, Jiroft residents were ploughing their yards and
gardens in search of antiquities.
February 2002 Iran’s police finally arrived in force to
stop the destruction. Some 2,000 objects were confiscated
from locals in Jiroft and other hoards of the ancient
artefacts ready to be shipped overseas were seized in
Tehran and at Bandar Abbas. But much
of the damage done at Jiroft is irreversible. The tombs
that were plundered were completely emptied and hoards of
the artefacts have already appeared for sale in Europe. In
2002 vases from the site were offered for sale at Drouot
in Paris and, according to market specialists, the
artefacts are on offer with several dealers in France.
They are usually catalogued as vases from “Kerman” or
with the more generic description of “Middle Eastern”.
A group of some 80 Jiroft artefacts was known to be on
offer in London in 2004 with a price tag of £600,000.
March 2005, some 118 stolen ancient artifacts which had
been smuggled to Britain from Jiroft were returned to
Iran. The items had been confiscated by HM Customs and
Excise officials at London’s Heathrow.
growing number of fake Jiroft vases now circulating on the
market. These could be the work of the very same locals
who looted the site in the first place and have access to
the same chlorite quarries of their ancestors.
excavation of the site began in February 2003 under the
directorship of Professor Majidzadeh. It is focusing on
both the necropolis, which was looted extensively, and on
an ancient settlement not discovered by the looters.