News ID: 114800
Published: 0230 GMT April 05, 2015

Kalmakareh Cave

Kalmakareh Cave

Kalmakareh Cave is located 20 km southwest of Pol Dokhtar in the western province of Lorestan. It is situated in a historical and ancient valley known as Darreh Bagh on the heights of Kouh Mahalleh.

The cave holds great importance, as it contains remnants of ancient civilizations. Vast spaces and crevices create a mysterious atmosphere in the cave.

The cave’s entrance is hidden to passersby, hunters and shepherds.

At the entrance and within the cave are evidence of the presence of humans and animals of the past. Due to earthquakes or natural erosion of the mountain, some of the so-called “halls” of this cave have been blocked.

The heights of Kouh Mahalleh are triangular, with the two rivers of Seimareh and Kashkan running on either sides. This brings into focus as to why this area was favored by man in prehistoric times and later during the Elamite, Parthian and Sassanian periods.

Vestiges such as earthenware and large pots with limestone residue can be noted within the cave, as well as the hillocks surrounding it.

This cave does not seem to have been permanently inhabited, but was a good hiding place or refuge at the time of attacks and war for the inhabitants of Kouh Mahalleh.

Some of the silver relics found in the cave, including wild animal figures, silver jugs, rhytons, gold and silver coins  are kept at Falak-ol-Aflak Museum in Khorramabad.

Also, some of the cave’s objects are kept at Tehran’s National Museum of Iran, and the museums of Tabriz and Ilam.

In addition, Persian Griffin Cup, which dates back to Achaemenid Era, was found in Kalmakareh Cave.

Many of the historical and precious objects discovered in Kalmakareh Cave in 1989, which have been referred to as one of the six global treasures, are today in French, German and Japanese museums.

Many of the objects taken abroad have been displayed in the museums of New York, Los Angeles, London and Vienna.

The artistic relics of Kalmakareh Cave are valuable not only because of their exquisite design and production, but also as precious specimens of Iran’s cultural heritage and their repatriation from foreign museums should be pursued.

Ponds filled with water and holes where objets d’art were hidden are among unique characteristics of the ancient cave.

When Alexander the Great invaded the Persian Empire, the treasury kept in Shoush during the Achaemenid era was transferred to the mountain in Pol Dokhtar where Kalmakareh Cave is located.

 

Discovery

 

Residents of the region say that in the fall of 1989, a local hunter discovered the cave accidentally while chasing wild goats.

In his first foray into the cave, the hunter discovered an ancient coin and showed it to an antique seller, who in turn said a treasure must be hidden at the place where the coin was found.

The hunter and his companions, in their second trip to the cave, found the first treasury, which included coins, silver statues of animals and silver chalices, which date back to the early Achaemenid era and late Median period.

These people kept the discovered objects with themselves.

When the Cultural Heritage Department of the time became aware of this development, it dispatched a group of experts along with a group of mountaineers to the cave. However, the two groups concluded that continuing the exploration was in vain and that no valuable object remained in the cave. Consequently, they left the cave and a wall was erected at the entrance of the cave to prevent looters from entering it.

However, this did not hinder the foray of treasure-hunters into the cave. When the word spread that the department had ended its protection operations, they converged on the cave to carry out illegal excavations and find more historical objects.

Unfortunately, these treasure-hunters, naive excavators and thieves destroyed the cave’s historical beauty by causing large-scale damage while searching for precious objects.

Measures have not been taken to restore the cave.

   
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