The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
(CAIS) -- A
London appeal court made a ruling on Friday that the city’s Barakat Gallery
must return 18 artefacts smuggled from the ancient site of Jiroft in southern
In March 2007, London’s High Court had rejected Iran’s ownership of the 5,000-year-old artefacts which had been put up for auction at the Barakat Gallery, which has offices in Mayfair, central London and Beverly Hills.
Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) appealed against the court decision in May.
“The return of the artefacts is vital for Iranian culture and civilization,” deputy director of CHTHO’s Legal Department Sussan Cheraghchi told the Persian service of CHN.
The collection of historic items consists of two jars, five cups, six vases, a bowl, a vessel and three weights.
Lawyers and other experts had reckoned that Iran and the Barakat Gallery had equal chances of winning the legal battle. The court had set a security of 100,000 euros for the appeal, and Iran had accepted to pay the sum to induce the appeal court to begin legal proceedings.
If Iran had lost the case, the security would have been paid to the Barakat Gallery as compensation for the delay in the auction of the artefacts.
In March 2005, Britain returned 118 ancient artefacts which had been looted from Jiroft. The items had been confiscated by HM Customs and Excise at Heathrow Airport in the summer of 2004.
Jiroft came under the spotlight in 2002, when reports surfaced that local people had begun extensive illegal excavations and were plundering priceless relics.
Five excavation seasons have been carried out at the Jiroft site, under the supervision of Professor Yusef Majidzadeh, leading to the discovery of a ziggurat made of more than four million mud bricks dating back to circa 2200 BCE.
numerous rare discoveries in the region, Majidzadeh declared Jiroft to be a
cradle of art and civilisation, and named it as the “archaeologists’ lost
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