King graves under threat of destruction
Located in Turkey’s western province of Manisa, the 2,700-year-old Bintepeler Tumuli, known to be the graves of Lydian kings, were plundered by treasure hunters, destroying the graves with construction equipment to quite an extent.
While two tumuli were feared to have been destroyed completely, works have been initiated to protect nearly 90 tumuli present in the region.
Located within the boundaries of Kendirlik district, two of the tumuli on the Gediz Plain that are also called “the pyramids of Anatolia,” were plundered on Jan. 26 with construction equipment.
Following the incident, efforts were initiated to protect the ancient city of Sardes and Bintepeler Tumuli, which were included in the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in 2013.
While gendarmerie teams increased patrol against illegal excavations in the region, Ahmetli Mayor Ahmet Alhan warned people of the region to be careful against treasure hunters.
Stating that he witnessed the illegal excavation carried out with construction equipment for the first time, the mayor warned treasure hunters not to damage the tumuli that were once robbed during the ancient times.
Noting that out of 115 tumuli, only 90 remain, Alhan said, “Written sources say that all of these tumuli were robbed in the sixth and seventh centuries. It is believed that one of the two hills behind us belongs to King Alyattes and the other to King Gyges. Nothing was left in these tumuli that were robbed in ancient times.”
“The tumuli can be surrounded with wire and a number can be assigned to each hill,” he added.