Ancient treasure hoard is found: Silver is 2,700 years old
Consisting of perhaps hundreds of magnificent silver statues, vases, bowls, plates and wine goblets, the hoard may prove to be the largest ancient silver treasure found to date.
The Iranian treasure was found by chance, by villagers in a cave in the north of the country. It was smuggled out overland, probably through Turkey.
The collection - some of which is now in the hands of dealers in Europe and the US - is estimated to be worth between pounds 4m and pounds 8m. However, it is understood that a number of items were seized by the Iranian government.
Where precisely the hoard was found is still a mystery. Some reports suggest that the treasure was discovered near to the southern coast of the Caspian Sea. However, the material is more likely to have come from what used to be the ancient kingdoms of the Manneans in what is now north-west Iran.
The Mannean kingdoms flourished from at least the 10th century BC to the sixth century BC, and many were client states of the mighty Assyrian empire.
The dozens of silver items - some reports say more than 200 - were almost certainly part of a temple treasure.
The treasure was probably stashed away in the cave to prevent it being seized by invaders.
Given the date of the silver items, it is likely that they were hidden at the time of the Assyrian invasions of Mannea in the late eighth century BC or during the Median or nomad Scythian invasions of the mid- seventh century BC.
Looting activities by the Assyrians against enemy temples are well-documented.
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 2 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 AirAsia flight QZ8501 missing: Plane carrying 162 passengers from Indonesia to Singapore disappears over Java Sea
- 5 Naomi Wolf reacts to Isis 'conspiracy theories' critism after she questions whether beheading videos are real
President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
UK weather: Warning for more snow and ice as freezing temperatures and gales hit Britain
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...
£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have previous experience...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...