Police in Turkey have found an ancient tomb from the 4th century BC, carved with the image of a bearded man.
The coffin may hold the remains of Hecatomnus, the ruler of Caria during the early part of the 4th century BC. It depicts the man reclining, in state, on the long front side. Mourning women are carved into the short ends.
The tomb was found when Turkish police raided a home near Milas, in western Turkey. The residents were suspected of digging illegally for ancient artifacts. Once inside, police found two tunnels that led to the tomb.
The tomb is buried under what is believed to have been the location of the Temple of Zeus at Mylasa. The tomb predates the construction of the temple.
The marble coffin and frescoes found inside were described by Culture Minister Ertugrul Gunay as an important archaeological find. He has ordered additional excavations in the area.
The looting of artifacts in Turkey is a common problem. However, this is the first time in many years that a historically important find was discovered by police while in the pursuit of looters. People convicted of looting in Turkey face heavy penalties.
It’s suspected that many of the treasures the tomb contained have already been sold illegally on the black market.
Five of the ten people detained in the raid have been arrested and charged. It’s reported that the tomb robbers were attempting to remove the coffin when caught.