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30 May 2006
Delay in excavation to Iranian prehistoric site

Nearly one month has passed since the accidental discovery and later identification of Gilvan ancient site, northern Iran. However, emergency excavations to save this prehistoric site have not started yet, a fact which concerns many people as they see this area being gradually destroyed due to the very limited attention it receives from the authorities.
     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 relics 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, Iranís Archeology 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 also mentioned that Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department of Ardabil province has established a temporary security station to safeguard this area.
     Pointing to the locals' increasing concerns over the fate of this ancient site, head of Ardabilís Cultural Heritage Police Department said, "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 Archeology Research Center to get involved and do anything that is needed immediately."  Archeologists have now confirmed that this ancient site and all the discovered artifacts in its vicinity belong to the first millennium BCE or before.

Source: CHN (22 May 2006)

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