ARCHAEOLOGICAL & CULTURAL NEWS©
& CULTURAL NEWS OF THE IRANIAN WORLD
Excavations Ruin Traces of History
23 September 2006
(CAIS) -- Plundering of ancient sites by illegal
excavators, who are in the hunt for antiquities, are destroying the national
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
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
The expert further noted that three Rhytons in the form of ibex and one
shoe-like Rhyton had been unearthed as well.
From/Source: Iran Daily
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