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Calls for Return of Oxus Treasure from British Museum


11 April 2007



By Luke Harding in Moscow


LONDON, (CAIS) -- The president of Tajikistan has demanded that the British Museum give back a unique collection of ancient gold and silver artefacts discovered 130 years ago near the Oxus river.


President Imamali Rakhmonov has ordered experts to seek the return from Britain of the Oxus Treasure, which was excavated near the border with modern-day Afghanistan. The treasure dates from the fifth and fourth centuries BC and is the most important surviving collection of Persian metalwork from the Achaemenid empire [550-330 BCE], which once stretched from Egypt across the Hindu Kush.


According to Tajik scholars, the treasure was found in 1877. It arrived in Britain after bandits ambushed a group of merchants crossing from Kabul to Peshawar.


A British political officer, Captain FC Burton, rescued the merchants, buying from them an exquisite lion and griffin-headed gold amulet. British colonial administrators bought the remaining 170 pieces that turned up in a Rawalpindi bazaar.


Tajikistan's president made his comments after a visit last week to Takhti-Sangin, near where the treasure was found on the north bank of the Amu Darya, or Oxus river. Yesterday a leading expert said there was no doubt that the treasure belonged to Tajikistan. "It's been proved that it was found in what was ancient Bactria in the territory of modern Tajikistan," Davlatkhodja Dovdi, professor of history at Tajikistan's Institute of Archaeology, said. But he added: "My personal opinion is that there is no need to give it back."


A British Museum spokeswoman said that Tajikistan had not formally requested the treasure's return. "The British Museum is here to present world culture," Hannah Boulton said. "In principle the trustees are against restitution because it would detract from that mission."




Extracted From/Source: Guardian

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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