Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Antiquities Thieves Hit Sassinid Site in Southwest Iran

The key to understanding what is really going on in this article is knowing that sites known to contain pre-Islamic antiquities are deliberately left unguarded by the fundamentalist regime for two primary reasons: (1) the Revolutionary Guard makes millions each year off the illegal antiquities market and (2) the fundamentalist regime wishes to destroy all pre-Islamic sites, whether of historical significance or not, that may remind people of what Iran was like before it was hijacked by the fundy nut-cases.  What a shame.

From The Tehran Times
Wednesday, July 21, 2010 | Volume: 10923
Smugglers sack Sassanid site in southwest Iran
Tehran Times Culture Desk

TEHRAN -- Smugglers of cultural heritage have looted a Sassanid structure located in the Baghmalek region in northeast Khuzestan Province.

Members of the Baghmalek Cultural Heritage Enthusiasts Society, who recently visited the ruins of site, found shards scattered around the illegal excavations dug by the Smugglers, society director Yunes Shafiei told the Persian service of the Mehr News Agency on Sunday.  Photo: The ruins of the Dalkhuni Fort and an excavation created by smugglers at the Sassanid fort are shown in a combination photo. Notice the holes from the illegal digging. (Photos by Taryana)

The structure, known by the locals as the Dalkhuni Fort, was used by local rulers after the defeat of the Sassanid Empires.

Initial studies show that the shards date back to the Seljuk era, Shafiei said.

Since the fort lies on a hill surrounded by agricultural land, farmers do not welcome experts on cultural heritage who occasionally visit this site, he noted.

Khuzestan Cultural Heritage Enthusiasts Society (Taryana) spokesman Mojtaba Gahestuni also cofirmed the report.

The smugglers have created several digs to find artifacts at the Dalkhuni Fort, he stated.

The fort had been used as an outpost to protect caravans passing through the region in past periods, he said.

According to Gahestuni, only 6 out of 150 ancient historical sites in the Baghmalek region have been registered on the Iranian National Cultural Heritage List. Even those few on the list are not being safeguarded by the relevant governmental organizations, he lamented.

The governmental organizations lack the necessary staff to safeguard the sites and also do not allow NGOs and cultural heritage enthusiasts societies to intervene, Gahestuni added.

The Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) is responsible for monuments and ancient sites in Iran.
I received an education on the subject of illegal antiquities trade and what's been going on in Iran while doing background research for the article The Jiroft Gameboards, published at Goddesschess in 2005 and updated in 2007.  If you're interested, please check it out.

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