Official Says Ancient Relics Plundered in Jiroft

July 30, 2003
JIROFT, Kerman Province -- Head of Jiroft Cultural Heritage Department, Abdolali Hessam Arefi, here on Monday said that ancient monuments in some villages bordering Halilroud river and central Jiroft are still being plundered and no measure has yet been taken to stop it.

He told IRNA that plunderers are currently excavating some of the identified historical sites dating back to the beginning of fifth millennium BC up to Islamic era.

Given that the Cultural Heritage Guards have been dispatched to the area to protect the archaic sites and hills in Jiroft, Arefi said the force should be first armed and then dispatched to the area.

"During the scientific excavations conducted by three archaeological groups who have been working in Jiroft in the past year, over 100 ancient sites have been unearthed along the Halilroud river banks," he noted.

The official pointed out that by mid 2001, some illegal excavations were conducted across Jiroft by groups consisting of 1,000 to 2,000 members and added that hundreds of thousands valuable artifacts have been unearthed and plundered by smugglers.

"The ancient sites in Jiroft were guarded by the Basiji forces of the Islamic Republic Guards Corpse until early spring, when the police forces took over," he said.

About 50 precious ancient objects have been confiscated by the police in the past three months.

Head of a cultural heritage group who is involved in scientific excavations in the area, Hamideh Chubak, said that the area is of such a high significance that tens of prominent world archaeologists are determined to visit Iran in the second half of the current Iranian year (started March 21).

The experts have declared that Halilroud civilization in Jiroft known as `Earth' has deeply influenced the Sumerian civilization and the world archaeologists have been doing research on it for two centuries.