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Shrunken heads collected by headhunting tribe are found by Turkish police in amazing haul


Shrunken heads collected by headhunting tribe are found by Turkish police in amazing haul as they smash smuggling ring trading in historical artefacts

  • Around 400 historic artefacts were found in a smuggler’s raid across two addresses in Izmir, western Turkey
  • Izmir Archaeological Museum experts are now able to examine the relics of various periods in laboratories
  • This included 500-year-old skulls from the South American-origin Jivaro tribe and 18th-century paintings

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Artefacts found in a smuggler’s raid in Izmir, Turkey are now being examined by museum experts.

Around 400 finds, including 500-year-old skulls from the South American-origin Jivaro tribe, mummy remains and paintings from the 18th century, were seized across two addresses in the city’s Aliağa district.

Now Izmir Archaeological Museum experts are able to examine the relics in their laboratories.

The raid in Izmir, Turkey found some 400 artefacts, which included skulls from the Jivaro tribe, which are about 500 years old. they are now being examined at the Izmir Archaeological Museum

A Jivaro tribe skull being examined at the museum. Museum director Hünkar Keser said: 'We think that they are at least 500 years old, made of real human skulls. These tribes lived before America was discovered'

A Jivaro tribe skull being examined at the museum. Museum director Hünkar Keser said: ‘We think that they are at least 500 years old, made of real human skulls. These tribes lived before America was discovered’

In the first search of a house carried out this month, Ministry of Commerce Customs Enforcement Smuggling and Intelligence Directorate teams found Byzantine period coins, four bone hairpins, 19 Ottoman manuscripts and 59 artefacts from other periods, local site Arkeo News reported. 

In a second raid, four skulls, three mummies, 27 paintings and 269 other relics were found in a warehouse.

The 337 finds were taken to the Izmir Archeology Museum and the paintings were delivered to the city’s Painting, Sculpture Museum and Gallery. 

Izmir Archaeological Museum experts examine artefacts in their laboratories. Mr Keser added people then began smuggling the skulls to Europe, but today it is forbidden to move them to another region

Izmir Archaeological Museum experts examine artefacts in their laboratories. Mr Keser added people then began smuggling the skulls to Europe, but today it is forbidden to move them to another region

Around 400 finds, including 500-year-old skulls (pictured) from the South American-origin Jivaro tribe, mummy remains and paintings from the 18th century, were seized across two addresses in the city's Aliağa district

Around 400 finds, including 500-year-old skulls (pictured) from the South American-origin Jivaro tribe, mummy remains and paintings from the 18th century, were seized across two addresses in the city’s Aliağa district

Museum director Hünkar Keser told Arkeo News that some of the items seized will take a long time to examine as it is thought they can be dated back to the Neolithic period.

He said: ‘Our oldest artefacts are flints, arrowheads, which we think belong to the Neolithic period.

‘There are also artefacts that we think are from different cultures of the world. There are tiny skulls the size of oranges among them.

A painting being examined by experts at the museum. The 337 finds were taken to the Izmir Archeology Museum and the paintings were delivered to the city's Painting, Sculpture Museum and Gallery

A painting being examined by experts at the museum. The 337 finds were taken to the Izmir Archeology Museum and the paintings were delivered to the city’s Painting, Sculpture Museum and Gallery

Museum experts carefully examine the paintings found in the raid. It is estimated that they have survived from the 18th century

Museum experts carefully examine the paintings found in the raid. It is estimated that they have survived from the 18th century

‘We think that they are at least 500 years old, made of real human skulls. These tribes lived before America was discovered.’

Mr Keser added people then began smuggling the skulls to Europe, but today it is forbidden to move them to another region. 

The Aliağa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office is continuing investigating the smuggling of artefacts.  
  

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