Monday, May 22, 2006

Delay in Excavation to Ruin Gilvan Prehistoric Site


Tehran, 22 May 2006 (CHN) -- Nearly one month has passed since the accidental discovery and later identification of Gilvan ancient site in northern Iran. However, emergency excavations to save this prehistoric site have not started yet, the fact remains that this area is being gradually destroyed due to the very limited attention it receives from the authorities and this worries many people.
Last month, construction workers accidentally discovered a number of ancient artifacts in the village of Gilvan located in the Iranian northwestern province of Ardabil. It turned out that this place was the location of an ancient cemetery. Among the discovered artifacts were three gold coated metal daggers, 25 pieces of clays, ornamental beads, and several armaments plus the remains of a number of skeletons. Soon after, Iran’s Archaeology Research Center sent a team of its experts to examine the area and prepare a report. It was expected that some measures be taken right away to save this newly discovered site, but no major step has been taken yet.
Yahya Naghizadeh, head of the Cultural Heritage Police Department of Ardabil province, has repeatedly announced his concern over the present improper condition of these ancient artifacts. He blamed two main factors, rainfall and intense sunlight, that are causing most of the damages to this site and its artifacts. Naghizadeh said, “After archaeology experts visited this area and wrote their report we were hoping that an emergency excavation campaign be launched to save these invaluable ancient artifacts. Unfortunately, despite the fact that these experts had emphasized the importance of immediate excavations in this area in their report, the cultural heritage authorities have not yet announced their approval.”
Naghizadeh also mentioned that Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department of Ardabil province has established a temporary security station to safeguard this area and added, “Our experts are ready to take the responsibility of protecting this ancient site permanently but as long as nothing is announced by the cultural heritage authorities, this is all we can do.”
Pointing out to the locals’ increasing concerns over the fate of this ancient site, head of Ardabil’s Cultural Heritage Police Department said, “Aside from the natural factors which threaten this area, one of the major problems we have is that the owner of the land in which this ancient cemetery was found claims his share of the discovered artifacts. Considering all these factors, we urgently need the Archaeology Research Center to get involved and do anything that is needed immediately.”
Archaeologists have now confirmed that this ancient site and all the discovered artifacts in its vicinity belong to the first millennium BC or before.

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