Newly-recovered antiquities to go on show in homeland

December 26, 2020 - 23:46

TEHRAN – A total of 49 glazed bricks, which have recently been returned home from Switzerland, will go on show at a museum in Bukan, where they were first unearthed in western Iran.  

Dating back to the 7th or 8th centuries BC, the antiquities are attributed to Qalaichi archaeological site in Bukan. However, some four decades ago, they were looted and smuggled out of Iran.

“49 pieces of glazed bricks, which were smuggled out of Iran on the advent of the Islamic Revolution, were recuperated with a great deal of efforts made by the cultural heritage ministry, and the ministry of foreign affairs,” according to Ali-Asghar Mounesan, the minister of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts.

“The cultural heritage ministry in close collaboration with the ministry of foreign affairs, filed a lawsuit… as it presented relevant documents and evidence to the competent international authorities. And ultimately, the historical objects were returned to the country after years of follow-up,” the official explained.

Situated about nine air km north-west of Bukan in West Azarbaijan province, Qalaichi (or Ghalay-chi) is an ancient settlement so far yielded a large number of glazed objects. Some of which are monochrome and the others show complex compositions. The glazed objects from the regular excavations were curated in Urmia Museum and Tehran National Museum.

The artifacts are connected to the Mannai civilization, which was once flourished in northwestern Iran in the 1st millennium BC. Mannai, also spelled Manna, was an ancient country surrounded by three major powers of the time namely Assyria, Urartu, and Media.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Mannaeans are first recorded in the annals of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III (reigned 858–824 BC) and are last mentioned in Urartu by Rusa II (reigned 685–645 BC) and in Assyria by Esarhaddon (reigned 680–669 BC). With the intrusion of the Scythians and the rise of the Medes in the 7th century, the Manneans lost their identity and were subsumed under the term Medes.

AFM/

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