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Heritage 2018, 1(2), 320-327; https://doi.org/10.3390/heritage1020021

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

1
China Studies Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney 2006, Australia
2
Institute for Archaeological Sciences, University of Bern, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
Received: 12 October 2018 / Accepted: 25 October 2018 / Published: 1 November 2018
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Abstract

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. View Full-Text
Keywords: looting; kurgan; Xinjiang; steppe archaeology; Iron Age; burial mound; Scythian looting; kurgan; Xinjiang; steppe archaeology; Iron Age; burial mound; Scythian
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Caspari, G. Assessing Looting from Space: The Destruction of Early Iron Age Burials in Northern Xinjiang. Heritage 2018, 1, 320-327.

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