KONYA – DHA
An ancient funerary stele, unearthed last year during construction work in the Central Anatolian province of Konya’s Ereğli district and claimed to have been sold, was found on May 3 buried in the garden of the digging company.
The stele, which is similar to the relief in the İvriz Rock Monument some 12 kilometers away from the district, was delivered to the museum directorate and two people were taken under custody.
Last year in March, workers at a construction site on the Anafartalar Street in the Cinler neighborhood unearthed the late Hittite-era stele, dating back to the 7th-8th century.
The stele, which was found similar to the relief on the İvriz Rock Monument, which is located in the neighboring district Halkapınar and believed to have been made by the King Varpalas as the world’s first relief monument, had suddenly gone missing.
The local Public Prosecutor’s Office opened an investigation into the claim that the stele was sold for 6 million Turkish Liras. The constructor, identified only as Adem A., was questioned within the scope of the investigation and said the stele was given to the digging company’s worker, identified as Mehmet Ali K. The latter was taken into custody and told police that the stele was buried in the garden of his office in the Orhangazi neighborhood on the Konya-Adana highway.
The garden was then excavated under the inspection of the Ereğli Museum officials and the public prosecutor, who found the buried stele.
Questioning of the two men is reportedly still ongoing.