By: Reza Kamali – Iran
Translation Anahid Amin
There has been a rumor for sometime about the plunder of ancient artifacts in Yazd, Iran, excavated by people who are equipped with proper tools. Following the spread of this rumor, Bahram Rezaei, director of Cultural Heritage Office in Yazd, has denied the news by saying that: “The people responsible for the destruction of 5 to 10 thousand year old bas-reliefs in Ardakan, a city in Yazd province, and the Hossein-Abad village were most likely searching for mines and did not intend to excavate for antiques”. He also has said that the heavy machinery and tools used are also related to mining. Although mines are legally considered public property and those searching for mines should obtain license for this purpose, no one knows that how this operation has happened. Rezaei claims that an investigation has begun since October. He has added that the number of bas-reliefs are 12 and 6 of them have been found intact since the beginning of this investigation. There is no explanation for how his Office has come to know that the total number is 12. Local people report that there are many broken and scattered stones after the excavators left the area. They say that there have probably been many artifacts that are now unavailable.