Kalmakareh Cave, Cave of treasures
Kalmakareh Cave is located 20 km southwest of Pol Dokhtar in the western province of Lorestan. At the entrance and within the cave are evidence of the presence of humans and animals of the past. Due to earthquakes or natural erosion of the mountain, some of the so-called “halls” of this cave have been blocked. The cave does not seem to have been permanently inhabited, but was a good hiding place or refuge at the time of attacks and war for the inhabitants of Kouh Mahalleh.
Persian Griffin Cups, which dates back to Achaemenid Era, were found in Kalmakareh Cave. Many of the historical and precious objects discovered in Kalmakareh Cave in 1989, which have been referred to as one of the six global treasures, are today in French, German, English and Japanese museums. These objects have been displayed in the museums of New York, Los Angeles, London and Vienna.
When Alexander the Great invaded the Persian Empire, the treasury kept in Susa during the Achaemenid era were transferred to the mountain in Pol Dokhtar in to Kalmakareh Cave.
Residents of the region say that in the fall of 1989, a local hunter discovered the cave accidentally while chasing wild goats. The hunter who first found a coin came back with his companions, in their second trip to the cave, found the first treasury, which included coins, silver statues of animals and silver chalices, which date back to the early Achaemenid era and late Median period. These people kept the discovered objects with themselves and the rumor of hidden treasures brought treasure seekers to the cave.
When the Cultural Heritage Department of the time became aware of this development, it dispatched a group of experts along with a group of mountaineers to the cave. However, the two groups concluded that continuing the exploration was in vain and that no valuable object remained in the cave. Consequently, they left the cave and a wall was erected at the entrance of the cave to prevent looters from entering it.
However, this did not hinder the foray of treasure-hunters into the cave. When the word spread that the department had ended its protection operations, they converged on the cave to carry out illegal excavations and find more historical objects.
Unfortunately, these treasure-hunters, naive excavators and thieves destroyed the cave’s historical beauty by causing large-scale damage while searching for precious objects.
Measures have not been taken to restore the cave.