Hungarian police released footage of ancient artifacts smuggled last year by a Turkish truck driver under way to Lithuania. The trove included ancient Sumerian, Persian, Assyrian and most of all Armenian antiquities of the Urartian era (Kingdom of Van). The artifacts dated to as early as 900 BC., included a helmet, small bells and horse tack, were likely from the grave of a high-raking military officer from the Kingdom of Van.
The Kingdom of Van was an Iron Age Armenian kingdom (also known as Urartu) famed for one of the finest examples of ancient art. At its zenith it had a profound cultural influence on its neighbors reaching as far as Asia and Europe. The kingdom was anciently known by various names in different cultures. In the trilingual Behistun inscription of Darius the Great (c.520 BC), the Babylonian and Assyrian toponym Urartu is called Armenia in Old Persian and Harminuia in Elamite. In the Bible this kingdom is called Ararat.
The contraband artifacts were discovered last year during a routine search of a truck driven by a Turkish citizen. The investigation is said to have been completed and the Turkish driver is charged with receiving stolen goods.
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