Assessing Looting from Space: The Destruction of Early Iron Age Burials in Northern Xinjiang

Caspari, Gino (2018). Assessing Looting from Space: The Destruction of Early Iron Age Burials in Northern Xinjiang. Heritage, 1(2), pp. 320-327. MDPI 10.3390/heritage1020021

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Burial mounds (kurgans) of the Early Iron Age in the steppe zones of Central Asia have long been the target of severe looting activities. Protection of these monuments in remote areas is difficult since accurate mapping is rarely available. We map an area in northern Xinjiang using a combination of high-resolution optical data and on-ground survey to establish a quantitative and qualitative assessment of looting. We find that at least 74.5% of burial mounds are looted or otherwise destroyed. Due to the large number of visibly impacted burial mounds, it becomes clear that the bulk of cultural heritage of the Early Iron Age in this area is under threat. The looting, however, continues until present day. Rescue excavation of potentially untouched burials in the area is advisable.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of Archaeological Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Caspari, Gino

Subjects:

900 History > 930 History of ancient world (to ca. 499)

ISSN:

2571-9408

Publisher:

MDPI

Language:

English

Submitter:

Gino Ramon Caspari

Date Deposited:

08 Mar 2019 11:18

Last Modified:

04 Nov 2019 09:44

Publisher DOI:

10.3390/heritage1020021

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.124488

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/124488

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