In February 2016, the Hungarian police published materials on the smuggling of ancient artifacts brought by a Turkish truck driver to Lithuania.
Among the artifacts were ancient Sumerian, Persian, Assyrian, and also Armenian items of the period of the Kingdom of Van (Urartu). Dating back at 900 BC, the artifacts included a helmet, small bells, and a riding horse, which probably come from the grave of a high-ranking military officer of the Kingdom of Van.
Smuggled artifacts were discovered last year during a routine inspection of a truck driven by a Turkish citizen. The investigation is said to have been completed, and the Turkish driver has been charged with stealing and smuggling.
The period of the Kingdom of Van was the Iron Age of Armenia. The ancient Armenian state is best known for its outstanding examples of ancient art. At the zenith of its fame, the Kingdom of Van had a profound cultural influence on its neighbors, reaching Asia and Europe.
The Kingdom of Van was known among different nations and states under different names. In the trilingual inscription of Behistun of Darius the Great (520 BC) in Babylonian and Assyrian languages, the Kingdom of Van was called Urartu, in ancient Parthian (Persian) – Armani, in Elamite – Armina.
From the ancient Hittite cuneiform sources, it is also known that the Hittites called the Kingdom of Van Hayasa. In the Bible, Armenia is called the Ararat Kingdom.