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Illegal Excavations Ruin Traces of History


23 September 2006




LONDON, (CAIS) -- Plundering of ancient sites by illegal excavators, who are in the hunt for antiquities, are destroying the national heritage.

In an interview with Persian service of IRNA, a member of Iran Archeological Research Institute, Ali Sadraei, stated that heritage looters inflict irreparable damage on national treasures.

Sadraei, who is deputy head of the excavation team at Valiran historic site in Damavand, near Tehran, explained that smugglers who ransack sites in the pursuit of valuable artifacts tear down all stratigraphic layers and obliterate relics.

“In the course of their unlawful diggings, the looters damage priceless relics which cannot be retrieved unless through professional excavation techniques.“

The so-called gold-hunters impair archaic stone inscriptions under the illusion that they contain gold, he regretted.

Turning to archeological studies underway at Valiran, Sadraei noted that excavations are coming to an end and protection of the site would start in the near future.

He elaborated that archeologists had come across a lot of unique artifacts in the course of recent studies.

Sadraei, head of the Islamic Era Department of the institute, stressed that the boundaries of the site, registered on the National Heritage List, need to be delineated to separate it from the area under the ownership of Elm va Sanat (science and technology) University.

He predicted that more ancient items would be unearthed during the second and third seasons of excavation.

The official recalled that the first excavation season had started in late July and will run through October.

A 24-member team comprising senior and junior experts as well as archeology students is working at the site.

Sadraei said the area is called by different names by locals including “The Stone Castle,“ “Dokhtar Castle“ and “Khodaafarin Castle“.

He elaborated that a pit leading to a crypt-like communal grave containing 21 skeletons and six clay objects had been discovered during construction operations in Valiran village.

The expert added that the team had excavated a grave carved into the mountain. Archeologists also discovered valuable relics such as Arsacid coins of Mithradates the Great (123-88 BCE), Orodes I (88-80 BCE) and Artabanus II (10-38 CE).

The expert further noted that three Rhytons in the form of ibex and one shoe-like Rhyton had been unearthed as well.




Extracted From/Source: Iran Daily

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, accurate and suitable for academics and cultural enthusiasts who visit the CAIS website.




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