Violations cause grave damage to Mari and Dura Europos sites, Deir ez-Zor27/01/2014 - عدد القراءات : 5030

According to a recent report by the Department of Antiquities of Deir ez-Zor, excavations and vandalism are still invading the sites of Mari and Dura Europos causing a lot of damage.

The information shows that armed thieves of antiquities are excavating the whole site having surrounded it from all directions and prevented the guards from approaching the place at gunpoint. These acts resulted in the destruction of temples and some parts of the Royal Palace (the walls and the southern gate of the Royal Palace on the southern side) in addition to the red restored complex.

Moreover, holes 3 to 4 meters deep and 4 to 5 meters wide are all over the area, as well as five holes within the Temple of Dagan and 5-meter-wide and 6-meter-deep holes within the upper part of the ziggurat. Furthermore, the concrete substrate at the top of the ziggurat was uprooted; other temples were destroyed, too. 

The report also confirms the information recently published regarding the theft of the contents of the accommodation of the mission working at the archaeological site of Mari and the complete destruction of the guest center and the theft of doors, windows and all the glassware in the gallery.

Similarly, Dura Europos site is suffering from destruction as information shows that more than 300 people are digging all over the site using electronic devices to the extent that hardly any single spot of the site does survive destruction or digging. Besides, those people sell the archaeological finds discovered to dealers of antiquities within the site. According to the report, thieves of antiquities have found frescos, pottery, stone statues, silver and bronze coins and gold items (bracelets, rings).

In addition, digs within the main part of the archaeological site of Dura Europos (the cemeteries area) have caused damage to the ground and tower tombs, which left them utterly featureless. Moreover, digs have spread within the vicinity of the castle and within al-Jund Temple on the northern side of the castle and inside the towers and within residential houses located southeast of the accommodation building of the mission.

What is more, temples have not been spared the damage affecting their gypsum floors and the frescos on the stones of their walls. Also, columns constructed on their balconies have been demolished. These temples include the Temple of Bel,  Azzanathkona Temple, Temple of Artemis, Adonis Temple, al-Hamiya Temple, the Christian house church and the synagogue. 

Digs are also spreading within House of Lysias, south of the Ruler's Palace. In addition, the auditorium (audium) has been subject to damage. Baked bricks in the auditoriums were removed, and some stones of the city wall were removed. Moreover, the baked bricks of the Roman baths located below the Ruler's House (Strategos) were removed. Besides, pottery and brick kilns discovered at the site have been damaged as well as its restored stone wall whose stones were removed and whose stone foundations were subject to digs. Finally, the wooden plaques supporting and protecting the wall against collapse were stolen.   

As far as the accommodation of the mission working at Dura Europos site, information has shown that it has suffered complete destruction since the whole furniture was stolen; all the papers, documents and the library of the mission were damaged; the electrical appliances and the iron safes containing some artifacts were stolen; potteries and the gypsum drawings existing in the laboratory to study by specialists were ruined and the wooden plaques covering the ceiling were pulled out causing the collapse of some walls of the rooms.

As for the museum, it is not in a better condition as it has been completely damaged, and armed thieves have robbed it and stolen its contents (which are not archaeological). The murals painted on the walls of its halls were distorted, as well.           


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