Karun Treasures originally found by five villagers
DHA photoThe famous Karun Treasure hit headlines this week when Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay made an announcement that the most important piece of the treasure, a winged seahorse brooch that had been stolen from the Uşak Museum in 2005 and replaced with a fake, was found in Germany.
The treasure was originally discovered in the 1960s by five villagers in the İkiztep tumulus in the Aegean province of Uşak’s Güre district. The last surviving member of the villagers that discovered the 451-piece treasure, Kemal Çakar, said digging was not banned in those years and so villagers used to search for treasures in large groups.
Çakar, 64, said he and his four friends searched for treasure in 1968, after he finished his military service, around the area called Haylaz Hill, or the İkiztepe tumulus. He said they had reached a rock tomb after 16 hours of digging.
“We opened the door of the rock tomb and entered a nearly 10-square-meter room. There was a stone tomb and a skeleton on it. The treasure was next to the skeleton and included hundreds of gold and silver items. Among the pieces was the winged seahorse brooch, which Minister Günay announced was recently located in Germany, along with necklaces, bracelets, coins, various other jewelry and vases. We took the treasure and left the tomb,” Çakar said.
Treasure sold for 78,000 liras
He said they later bargained with an antique dealer from Afyonkarahisar’s Dinar district, who bought the treasure. “We asked for 100,000 Turkish Liras in today’s currency from the antique dealer. He offered us 50,000 liras and we sold the whole treasure for 78,000 liras after bargaining. Later on we learned that it had cost billions of liras. Everyone was doing this job in those years and it was not banned. Then it was banned in 1973. If the state was buying such historic artifacts, we would have given the treasure to the state. We felt very sorry after selling it but it was too late. When the treasure was returned to Turkey from the U.S. many years later, we went to the Uşak Archaeology Museum and visited it.”