Sunday, February 26, 2006

Sivand Dam Waits for Excavations to be Finished

Tehran, 26 February 2006 (CHN) -- Continuation of archeological excavations in Bolaghi Gorge and postponement of the inundation of Sivand Dam until finishing the excavations were the main accomplishments of Archeology Seminar for Bolaghi Gorge Salvation Project and the main agreement between Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) and Iran’s Ministry of Power.
The Archaeology Seminar for Bolaghi Gorge Salvation Project was held 23-24 of February in the city of Shiraz in Fars province with the attendance of head of the Research Center of ICHTO, Cultural Heritage representative in Iran’s parliament, some authorities of ICHTO and a large number of Iranian and foreign archeologists in order to study the archeological achievements which have been carried out so far in Bolaghi Gorge historical site and to determine the appropriate time for flooding of the Sivand Dam with causing the least harm to the historical sites of Bolaghi Gorge.
In this 2-day seminar, archeologists presented their reports and their future programs for Bolaghi Gorge Salvation Project.
“I am so glad to witness such an interactive cooperation between different organizations to save the archeological site of Bolaghi Gorge. Today the high cooperation among different domestic and foreign archeologists indicates the positive increase in cultural cooperation among different countries which is not comparable to the time when the first foreign archeological teams came to Iran about one hundred years ago. Such a comprehensive cooperation led to saving some important historical sites in Bolaghi Gorge which could have been lost due to the inundation of Sivand Dam,” said Taha Hashemi, head of Research Center of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Iran at the end of the seminar.
Taha Hashemi also explained that the research center of ICHTO welcomes any kind of cooperation in this respect.
“Based on the agreements made, the inundation of Sivand Dam will be postponed until the end of archeological and scientific research in Bolaghi Gorge historical site,” added Taha Hashemi. Restarting construction of Sivand Dam, located in Bolaghi Gorge, and the possibility of the destruction of historical sites behind the dam, made the authorities of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Iran, and Parse-Pasargadae organization to start some comprehensive planning to carry out archeological studies in this site. Research programs for Bolaghi Gorge Salvation Project started with the attendance of different research groups, each have carried out different excavations in different fields. The two day seminar from 23-24 of February was held under the title of “Archeological Seminar for Bolaghi Gorge Salvation Project”, in order to announce the results of the excavations and researches in this historical site. Major conclusions achieved in this seminar are as follows:

1) The participants of this seminar, Archeological Research Center, and Parse Pasargadae Organization appreciated those researchers who took part in this project.
2) Researchers and other participants in this seminar also appreciated the efforts made by all organizations especially Archaeology Research Center and Parse Pasargadae Organization for performing the Salvation Project.
3) Researchers and other participants in this seminar praised the coordination among the different organizations such as the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Iran with Iran’s Ministry of Power for providing the opportunity for saving the historical site of Bolaghi Gorge.
4) Researchers and other attendees in this seminar insisted on the continuation of the research programs in Bolaghi Gorge to reach to a final decision about the historical sites of Bolaghi Gorge and to postpone the inundation of Sivand Dam until the announcement of the results.
5) It has been determined that in order to prevent such cases like that of Sivand Dam from happening again in the future, the authorities study the development projects carefully before performing them and check those which may be a threat to historical sites with the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Iran.
6) The participants also condemned the recent terrorist attacks in Iraq which led to the destruction of some parts of the Shrines of Imam Hadi and Imam Asgari in Samara, while the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Iran promised to do its best in the restoration of these holly places.

Excavation of Espidež Cemetery Suspended Due to Funding Shortfall

LONDON, 26 February 2006 (CAIS) -- The third phase of excavations have been suspended at the 5,000-year-old Espidež cemetery due to a lack of funding and thus archaeologists will be unable to safeguard the site, which is being threatened by smugglers, the director of the team of archaeologists working at the ancient site said on Sunday.
“Smugglers searching for artifacts in the graves have destroyed the cemetery inch by inch. The artifacts have been plundered or broken in the graves, which are in bad condition, such that the team is not able to derive any information from them,” Mohammad Heydari told the Persian service of CHN.
Cultural heritage officials have allocated 300 million rials (about $33,000) for the third phase of excavations at the ancient site but the team has not yet received the funds.
The Espidež cemetery is located 25 kilometers from Zabol in Iran’s southeastern province of Sistan va Baluchestan. The cemetery is situated beside a road, facilitating the plunder of the graves by smugglers, Heydari said. The smugglers, who are often armed, have recently looted one hectare of the cemetery.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Iranian Heritage in the State of Disrepair, and ICHTO Prepared to Fund Renovation of Damaged Iraqi Monuments

LONDON, 25 February 2006 (CAIS) -- While Iranian monuments are turning into cement, or the ancient cities being ploughed by farmers and in general the national heritage is in the state of disrepair and desperately in need of financial support to be salvaged, ICHTO (Iran Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization) has declared its readiness to provide funds for the renovation of Iraqi monuments damaged during recent bombings (tombs of tenth and eleventh Shia Imams al-Hadi and al-Hassan al-Askari, were badly damaged in bomb attacks in Iraq on February 22), Taha Hashemi the cleric and director of the ICHTO Research Centre told the Persian service of CHN on Thursday.
Hashemi believes that Iranians' duty is to cooperate in the reconstruction process of the tombs, saying, “As Muslims, we must maintain our religious monuments, and to this end, the ICHTO plans to make use of all its facilities and experts”; whereas the authority's legion and their first duty as Iranians should have been with Iran and protecting Iranian heritage.
For the reconstruction of the ancient city of Bam, and current archaeological salvage operation in Tang-e Bolaghi, Iranians had to seek financial aid from foreign countries. As the result of the Sivand dam construction, the regime pose a great danger to the prehistoric and historical Iranian monuments in Fars province. The dam will submerge not only the Tang-e Bolaghi and Achaemenid Imperial Road, but also poses a grave danger to Pasargadae and Persepolis; -By creating an artificial lake which creates an excessive humidity in the region, it could have a devastating and irreversible effect on their structures. The extent of the damages are unknown and cannot be ascertained due to lack of funding.
Currently in Iran hundreds of archaeological and historical sites are in the state of disrepair, such as Sasanid Gondi-Shapour (right fig), Parthian Bardneshaned and Partho-Sasanind Ray, which could be lost forever as the result of negligence, surrounded factories, excessive framings and illegal excavations and nothing has been done to save them, again as the result of a lack of funding. It is quite ironic that if Iranian national heritage would have been called "Palestinian Heritage" or "Arab Heritage", without any doubt the regime and those who are in charge of ICHTO, would have being in the queue to sacrifice their lives in order to save and protect them. Therefore, the only plausible solution is to change the name of Iran to Palestine, and claim that Ancient Iranians were Palestinians, to protect Iran's national heritage from complete destruction.

Discovery of the Main Part of Kenar Sandal's Ziggurat

Tehran, 25 February 2006 (CHN) -- Continuation of archeological excavations in Jiroft, a city in Kerman Province, resulted in the discovery of its main Ziggurat in Kenar Sandal historical site. This Ziggurat is one to three centuries older than the most ancient Mesopotamian Ziggurat. A ziggurat is a temple tower of the ancient Assyrians and Babylonians, having the form of a terraced pyramid of successively receding stories. One of the best remained ziggurats is Tchogha Zanbil situated southwest of Iran in Khuzestan province.
“The main raised stairs of Kenar Sandal’s Ziggurat were discovered during the archeological excavations in Jiroft historical site. At first it was supposed that this part was constructed prior to the previous lower stair, however the studies indicate that this architectural style is 200 years older than the previous one, which means that the whole structure was constructed in two different periods of time,” said Yousof Majidzadeh, head of archeological excavation team in Halil Rud region.
According to Majidzadeh, Ur Ziggurat is the most historical one which is in the Mesopotamian region, dating back to 2100 BC. This way this newly discovered raised platform is one to three centuries older than the first Mesopotamian Ziggurat.
“The reconstruction of this ziggurat will be carried out in accordance with its original form. Since this architectural style has been discovered at the end of this season of excavation, another week was given to archeologists to unearth the whole construction,” added Majidzadeh. Archeologists have been successful in discovering two stories of this construction so far, but according to the evidence, this construction must have originally had 3 stories. The dimension of the first level of this construction is 300x300 meters and that of the second level is 150x150 meter.
Considering what has been discovered so far in Jiroft historical site, a large number of Iranian and foreign archeologists believe that the civilization in this historical site was as rich and vast as those of Mesopotamian and Sumerian. The discoveries in Jiroft indicate that the art of carving visible in this historical site was more developed than that of the Sumerian civilization which is believed to be the most ancient civilization of the world.
Halil Rud historical site, located near the city of Jiroft in Kerman province, was one of the first places where civilization and urbanization were established. 120 historical sites have been discovered on the 400-kilometer basin of Halil Rud River so far. This ziggurat which belongs to the first half of the third millennium BC is one of the most important discoveries in Kenar Sandal historical site. Iranian and foreign archeologists are determined to clarify the whole original structure of this ziggurat in Jiroft historical site.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Traces of the First Susa Governments Discovered in Sustar

Tehran, 24 February 2006 (CHN) -- Archeological excavations in Tal-e Abouchizan in Sustar in Khuzestan province resulted in the discovery of three stamp-seals in this historical site. These seals were made of tar and must have been used for sealing the storehouses in which goods were kept. This is the first time such seals have been discovered in a historical site in Khuzestan province. Although some stamps were discovered in some of the graves in Susa, another city in Khuzestan province, it is the first time such evidence has been discovered in the archeological layers of Sustar.
Discovery of three seals for the first time in Tal-e Abouchizan near the city of Sustar resulted in finding the traces of the founders of the first governments in Susa some 7000 years ago. These seals indicate the existence of a socio-political disciplinary system in the society at that time which led to the establishment of the first governments in Khuzestan province.
“Most probably the seals were used for controlling trades which resulted in forming of the first local ruling system in Khuzestan province,” said Mehdi Moghadam, head of archeological excavation team in Tal-e Abouchizan historical site.
According to Moghadam, the existence of these seals indicates the importance of this region some 6000 year ago and its influence on the forming of first governments in Susa. “The existence of these seals is as a sign of a revolution in the form of ruling system in Khuzestan. Some signs can be seen on these seals which are not readable,” added Moghadam.
“Some important changes took place in Khuzestan plain at the end of the 5th century BC. By adding beans and animal meets in food baskets of families, sources of livelihood changed in the region. Big settlement areas changed into smaller ones and ultimately led to the establishment of the city of Susa which held one of the most powerful governments in Khuzestan province. Taking into account that Tal-e Abuchizan was one of the cultural sites in the region, most probably it had the highest influence on Susa’s ruling system and the first governments in Khuzestan originated from this region,” explained Moghadam.
Tal-e Abouchizan is one of the marginal sites of Susa which contains some historical evidence from the Elamite to the Islamic period. Tal-e Abouchizan has a strategic position. From east it leads to Ramhormoz, Behbahan, and Fars, from west it leads to Sustar and Susa, and from the south it leads to Ahvaz and the Persian Gulf. The first season of excavation has started in this region to find out the role of the area in the establishment of the first governments in Susa.

Heavy Rain Damages Parthian Bardneshandeh Temple

LONDON, 24 February 2006 (CAIS) -- Recent rainfalls in Masjed-Soleiman and Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari provinces have caused damage to historical monuments, Persian Service of ISNA reported.
Director of Masjed-Soleiman Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department, Mohammad Zarasvandi Alipour announced that recent rainfalls caused heavy damages to some sections of the Parthian temple at Bardneshandeh and the route leading to it.
"Some 80 percent of the Parthian temple had already been destroyed due to a number of reasons and only 20 percent remain standing," he said complaining that no measures have so far been taken to repair the ancient temple.
If this continues, there will be no sign of Bardneshandeh in the future, he warned. Meanwhile deputy head of the Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari provincial Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department's for protection and restoration affairs estimated the damages at over 800 million Rials and hoped that the provincial Governor General's Office and the Management and Planning Organization will allocate funds for emergency measures to save the monuments.
Noting that safeguarding cultural heritage is a national duty, he called on the people in the province to collaborate in protecting historical monuments throughout the province.

World Archeologists Rush to Rescue the Bolaghi Gorge

Tehran, 22 February 2006 (CHN) -- Tomorrow, an archeology seminar will be held in Fars Province with the attendance of several Iranian and foreign joint archeological teams to discuss immediate approaches to rescue the Bolaghi Gorge and its historical sites and relics which are in danger of drowning by water from Sivand Dam built in this area.
“During the seminar which is going to be held on February 23 with the support of Archeological Research Center of Iran’s Cultural Heritage & Tourism Organization (ICHTO), Parse-Pasargadae Research Center, and the Cultural Heritage & Tourism Organization of Fars Province, fourteen Iranian-Foreign joint archeological teams will announce the results of their excavations in and around the Gorge of Bolaghi during the past one and a half year,” said Alireza Qaedian, chairman of ICHTO office in Fars Province.
Qaedian added, “Presentation of the results of recent excavations by various experts with modern views in the fields of archeology, anthropology, ethnology, osteology, biology and geophysics in a particular geographical spot during different archeological periods including Paleolithic, Pre-historic, early history, Achaemenid, Sassanid and Islamic eras is among the specifications of this important seminar.
”In this seminar, in addition to announcements which will be made by Iranian-Polish joint body regarding their studies in several sites belonging to Sassanid era (226–650 AD) in the region of Bolaghi Gorge, Iranian-Japanese joint team will present its finding of one of the most important discovered caves in the region in relation to the lifestyle over the Paleolithic and stone ages,” noted Qaedian.
According to Qaedian, Iranian-Italian joint body will also present the result of their researches on one of the most significant sites of Bolaghi Gorge, which is very important in terms of social and non-urban lifestyle. Accordingly, other joint teams from France, Germany and also a body form Archeological Association of Tehran University will deliver their findings from this region in tomorrow’s seminar.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Post-Achaemenid Constructions Discovered in Bolaghi Gorge

Tehran, 22 February 2006 (CHN) -- Geophysical research in northern part of the Number 64 area of Bolaghi Gorge led to the discovery of three settlement complexes with several rooms belonging to the Post-Achaemenid* to the Sassanid era.
According to Ali Asadi, head of Iranian-Polish excavation team in Bolaghi Gorge, three settlement complexes dating back to the post-Achaemenid era were buried in the no. 64 area. “The geophysical maps show that these three settlement complexes consisted of several units, the usage of which is still unknown to us,” said Ali Asadi to CHN.
Some geophysical studies have recently been carried out in a 2-hectar area of the residential parts of no. 64 area and on the wall separating this area from the cemetery of the no. 65 area. Geophysical studies will provide the opportunity for the archeologists to find out the evidence buried at Bolaghi Gorge over time without any need for digging.
According to Asadi, the wall which separates the settlement complexes of no. 64 area and the cemetery of no. 65 area belongs to the Sassanid era. “What has still remained unknown for the archeologists is that while the cemetery belongs to the Sassanid era, the settlement complexes date back to the post-Achaemenid era. Therefore, we are going to carry out more archeological excavations in these two areas to find out the relationship between this cemetery and the settlement complexes,” added Asadi.
Archeological excavations started in Bolaghi Gorge, located 18 kilometers from Pasargadae historical site in Fars Province, when it was announced that the indentation of the newly constructed Sivand Dam will pose a real threat to this historical site which is believed to have been the location of the ancient King Road and one of the historical sites of the Pasargadae Complex. With inundation of the dam, 130 historical sites unearthed so far in Bolaghi Gorge, including the newly discovered settlement complexes, will drown. To save the main parts of Bolaghi Gorge before flooding, some joint teams from Iran and foreign countries are currently carrying out archeological excavations in this historical site with the cooperation of Sivand Dam authorities and Bolaghi Gorge Salvation Team.
The second season of excavation has started with the presence of a joint Iranian-German team to search for pre-historic life in Bolaghi Gorge. The next season of excavations in the historical site of Bolaghi Gorge will start in the coming spring season.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Discovery of 6000-Year-Old Archaeological Site in Qom

LONDON, 21 February 2006 (CAIS) -- Digging in an area about 300 meters from the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization building of Qom city, near the tomb of Masumeh, sister of eight Shiite Imam, resulted in the discovery of a 6,000-year-old historical site in this old texture of the city.
“When the loaders were removing the earth near the building of the CHTO of Qom, their blades dug into the remains of a historical site. Archaeological studies on this region indicate that the human settlement in this area dates back to the 4th millennium BC,” said Siamak Sarlak, an archaeologist of the ICHTO and director of archaeological team in Qom.
With discovery of this historical site, construction activities in the area were stopped and a letter was submitted to Iran’s Archaeological Research Center requesting this center to carry out archaeological research in this historical site.
Prior to this accidental discovery, archaeologists in Qom had found remarkable evidence in Qoli Darvish Historical Tappeh which by itself proved the importance of the city of Qom in historical context.
This new discovery has partially answered the questions archaeologists were facing with during their excavation at Qoli Darvish Tappeh.
“Archeological excavations in Qoli Darvish historical Tappeh faced archaeologist with a lot of questions. There is a long historical gap seen in Qoli Darvish historical site which we do not know anything about. The layers belonging to the fifth and third millennium BC have been identified during the archaeological excavations in this historical site. But nothing has remained from the fourth millennium BC. Since the Qom River flooded several times in the course of history, it is believed that the people of the region must have migrated to other regions during this one millennium interruption. Now with the discovery of this historical site belonging to the 4th millennium BC, it is supposed that the inhabitants of Qoli Darvish migrated to the present-day city of Qom and then they returned to Qoli Darvish hill after 1000 years,” explained Sarlak.
Only 100 square meters have been survived from this 6,000-year-old historical site.
“The discovered artifacts in this historical site indicate the existence of a rich culture in the region. Most of the potteries have been decorated with animal designs such as leopard and duck, while geometrical designs seem to be popular during that time. The remained residential areas in this region exhibit a mud-brick architectural style, some parts of which has remained intact,” explained Sarlak.
Discovery of this pre-historic site indicates that the residency in the city of Qom dates back to the fourth millennium BC.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Archeologists in Search of Heraclius in Khosrow’s Castle

Tehran, 20 February 2006 (CHN) -- Archeological excavations have stated that they have found one of the biggest and strangest architectural structures of the world, the traces of Heraclius, the Roman Emperor in the Khosrow Parviz's castle. In some historical books, this Roman Emperor has been described as the plunderer of Khosrow’s Castle in Qasr-e Shirin a city in Kermanshah Province, which indicates the importance of this castle.
“Foreign archeologists provided a plan from Khosrow Parviz Castle, which today is the resource of the studies of the Sassanid architectural style. The first plan of this castle was prepared by Jacques de Morgan, French archeologist, later on developed by other archeologists. However, none of them is very precise,” said Yousof Moradi, head of the Kermanshah-Qasre Shirin Sassanid Project. Archeologists, geographers, and historians all talk about the stunning architectural style used in the construction of this castle. “Nobody knows the exact date of the construction of the castle and its usage. Whether it was used as a management center or had merely an economical usage or both. During our excavations, we are trying to find an answer to this question. In addition, we are trying to find out about other rulers who lived in this complex, the influence of the architectural style of this castle on other monuments built afterwards, the changes made in this castles and its usage after the end of the Sassanid era,” said Moradi.
Khosrow Parviz castle is located on the north of the city of Qasr-e Shirin, near a square dome fire temple. Its building is 500 meter in height and 150 meter in width. Iranian and Arabic geographers such as Yaghoot Hamavi have described it as one of the wonders of the world. Recent excavations have aslo lead to the discovery of a defensive wall and 35 historical sites in Qasre-Shirin.

Discovery of 110 Archaeological Mounds in Sar Pol-e-Zahab

LONDON, 20 February 2006(CAIS) -- Latest archeological excavations in the city of Sar Pol-e-Zahab resulted in the discovery of 110 historical sites and hills. With the discovery of stone tools and vases belonging to the Neolithic period (6,500 BC).
“110 historical sites were discovered during the archeological excavations. The discovered stone tools and potteries in the area indicate that the history of this area goes back to the Neolithic period and continued to the Parthian and Sasanid dynastic eras. The archeological excavations also led to the discovery of two clay workshops. Although the exact place of the workshops is not clarified yet, the existence of various clays in the region indicates that there must be some clay workshops in the area,” said Shahin Kermanjani, head of archeological excavation team in Sar Pol-e-Zahab.
According to Kermanjani, these excavations were carried out in order to discover the historical sites of Sar Pol-e-Zahab city. Although the excavations have started about 40 days ago, since a lot of expected historical sites have not been discovered yet, it is estimated that the excavations continue for another two months.
“These evidences were discovered in north and northwest of Sar Pol-e-Zahab city. The discovered stone tools were used for peeling fruits, cutting meets, and piercing. These stone tools were made in different sizes,” added Kermanjani.
A large area of these historical hills has been levelled by the farmers for agricultural usage, but archeologists are trying to save the remaining ones. Sar Pol-e-Zahab is located in Kermanshah province. Due to its pleasant weather it was the residence of different tribes during different periods of time. Archeological excavations in this historical site indicate the existence of a continual life in its residential area.
The file of these historical sites will be submitted to the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Iran in a near future to be inscribed in the list of Iran’s National Heritage.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Characteristics & Uniqueness of Elamite Ziggurat Identified

LONDON, 18 February 2006 (CAIS) -- The ziggurat in the ancient Elamite city of Dur Untash (modern Choghazanbil) in Khuzestan province, which was built during the reign of Untash-Gal (1275-1240 BC), is significant given that it is the only ziggurat to have been excavated and identified as being totally different from those unearthed in Mesopotamia in terms of architecture.
Expressing this, a veteran Iranian archeologist, Mohammad Rahim Sarraf told ISNA that while the idea of constructing a ziggurat at Dur Untash originated in Mesopotamia, it was built completely in the Elamite style.
Mesopotamian ziggurats were constructed in the form of stories built over each other whereas in the Elamite structures, the foundations of all stories were on the ground and not over each other while only the fifth story was over the fourth.
Elaborating on the other differences between them, Sarraf said that in the Mesopotamian version, there were no chambers in the lower levels and the edifice had a solid platform with a sole room over it. The room, he pointed out, was used to house the statues of the gods.
Choghazanbil ziggurat however had several chambers and two temples on the first story in addition to a room used for the same purpose on the fourth floor, he noted.
Turning to the special form of Choghazanbil Ziggurat, the archeologist further said that initially Untash Gall built in Choghazanbil a temple with a central courtyard surrounded by rooms and other temples.
Then several stories were constructed in the yard.“In Mesopotamian ziggurats, the staircase of the structure directly lead to the upper floors but in Choghazanbil ziggurat, the worshipers should spiral round each story to get to the upper floors,“ he said.
The project for the restoration of Choghazanbil ziggurat played a significant role in saving the monument, he said, noting that if it had remained in that condition, the ziggurat would have been destroyed within years.

Painted Bas-Reliefs of Sasanid Imperial Family Unearthed in Gur

LONDON, 18 February 2006 (CAIS) -- The team of archaeologists working at the Sasanid city of Gur has completely unearthed the bas-reliefs of four members of the Sasanid imperial family which they had discovered in the Menarshahr region of the ancient site in early January, the Persian service of CHN reported on Saturday.
Carved on one of the walls of a newly discovered palace at the site, these colorful unique bas-reliefs depict two princesses along with a prince and child with a calf. The team had previously unearthed only the heads of the bas-reliefs and knew nothing about their clothing or other accessories.
“The imperial family members are all young, and this is the first time such bas-reliefs have been discovered from the era when King of Kings Ardashir I (224-241 CE) reigned,” the head of the archaeological team, Leili Niakan, said.
"All of the bas-reliefs are intact except one of the princesses, whose head has been destroyed by the ravages of time", she added.
“These bas-reliefs show the continuity and survival of Parthians art during the Sasanid dynastic era in its early stages. The colors have skillfully been used as the bas-reliefs seem alive on the walls. They have used green and crimson to paint the shapes,” Niakan explained.
“The child seems to be the son of the princess standing beside him. The prince stands beside the other princess with a certain dignity. The clothing of the princess indicates that she also is young and may be the wife of the prince,” she added.
Located 10 kilometers from Firuzabad in Fars Province, the circle-shaped city of Gur was the first capital of the forth Iranian dynasty, the Sasanids, which was established during the reign of the founder of the dynasty, king of kings Ardashir I. Very few studies have been carried out on the city, which is one of the five most important Sasanid cities. It covers an area of 300 hectares.
The excavations are being carried out in order to save the site, which is threatened by farmers who are cultivating the lands beneath which most of the ancient city lies buried.
Over 30 percent of the upper level of the city has been flattened and its walls have been seriously damaged by farmers’ activities over the centuries.

Reconstruction of Bam Citadel Needs Time and Patience

LONDON, 18 February 2006 (CAIS) -- Mike Corfield, a heritage science and conservation consultant from Britain, who was previously the Chief Scientist for English Heritage, came to Iran by the invitation of UNESCO office in Tehran to reconsider the situation of Bam Citadel and the reconstruction process after the earthquake.
It was his second visit to Bam Citadel after the earthquake of January 2003. In an interview with CHN, Corfield expressed his satisfaction about the restoration process in Bam Citadel; meanwhile he strongly insisted that such a mega project needs a lot of time to be completed.
The 2000-yeasr-old Bam Citadel was one of the largest adobe structures in the world and one of the most beautiful historical sites in Iran, belonging to the Arsacid dynastic era.
Unfortunately, more than 80 percent of this magnificent citadel collapsed when a massive earthquake hit the city of Bam more than two years ago which brought the city to ruins, leaving tens of thousands dead and homeless.
The inscription of the Bam Citadel on the World Heritage list at the 28th session of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in China was a giant step towards renovating this historical site.
The cooperation of several countries in the reconstruction of Bam Citadel has changed this project into an international one. Japan, Italy, and France are among countries which started their cooperation with this project from the very beginning. Japan has granted some 500,000 US dollars to Iran for the reconstruction of Bam Citadel, besides it has supported Iranian government in this project with sending some equipments and creating the 3D plan of Bam Citadel to increase the accuracy of the renovation and salvation activities of the citadel. Italy has funded 300,000 US dollars in the Salvation Project of Bam. It has also dispatched a team of Italian experts to restore the main tower of Bam. France has also helped the government of Iran by providing the map of Bam Citadel. World Bank has also granted a large sum of money to this project. According to Corfield, a number of good steps have been taken so far for the reconstruction of Bam Citadel, and a large amount of debris has been removed. “Altogether, it seems to me that Bam is rapidly coming back to life,” said Corfield. He also mentioned that a lot have been done to prevent the danger of collapse of the citadel, and there is less risk of the building’s collapse compared to last year when he had visited the citadel for the first time. “My feeling is that it is a project that is progressing and developing successfully,” said Corfield to CHN correspondent.
Corfield also explained that during the archeological excavation for Bam Salvation Project they have found out how the history developed in the region over the course of time. “I think as well the tremendous impetuous of the work led to exploration of the countryside. This plus the discovery of archeological remains from 5000 years ago helped us to understand how Bam was supported by different towns and villages around from ancient times to today. All of these indicate the good management in reconstruction of Bam Citadel,” added Corfield.
According to Corfield, there are many historical sites around the city of Bam, such as the magnificent fortress of Darestan is eastern Bam. He also explained that much historical evidence from different periods of time including the Achaemenid, Parthian, Sassanid, and Islamic periods have been discovered in the vicinity of Bam which indicated the flourishing of this city during the ancient times.
“The most important is the system of quanat (aqueduct) and how they were useful in maximizing the water supply. Discovery of some very ancient aqueducts show that it is even possible that this rich technique spread to other places from Bam,” said Corfield.
Corfield strongly believed that determining a definite time by which the reconstruction of Bam Citadel is completed is just impossible and that is due to the large amount of work which should be done in this respect. According to Corfield, the accuracy in reconstruction of Bam is more important than speed. “It is much depending on how much evidence we can find by looking through photographs and maps. It is also important to try to maintain its original structure to represent its past,” said Corfield.
Corfield believed that Bam Citadel will regain its original splendor again; however, it will take a long time. “The people and the government of Iran should be patient in this respect. It may seem easy to try to be quick and to implement rapid ways in the reconstruction of Bam Citadel, but it is really dangerous to act this way. There has to be a compatibility of material use in the restoration to use appropriate and strong materials in an appropriate way.” added Corfield.
Considering the importance of being accurate in the reconstruction of Bam Citadel, Corfield explained that the salvation team is trying to do research to identify the correct form of Bam Citadel and to make sure to undertake an accurate archeological study on this historical site. They are also trying to get the position of Bam regularized to save it from being placed in the endangered heritage list of UNESCO. ( Although if you visit the website its already been placed on the endangared list!!)
At the end, he explained that Bam’s Salvation Project is a humanitarian issue and it is absolutely independent from political quarrels and the foreign teams that are currently working on this project are trying to do their best to bring back the glory of the past to this city with the help of Iranian government and experts.

Burnt City's Women Were in Charge of their Family Financial Affairs

LONDON, 18 February 2006 (CAIS) -- Nine seasons of archeological excavations in the graves of Burnt City Historical Site, located in Sistan va Baluchestan Province, led to discovery of clay stamps in the graves of women indicate that the women were in charge of managing the economy of their families and played important roles in the society around 3,000 BC.
“Enormous family clay stamps were discovered during the past eight seasons of excavations in Burnt City, most of which were found in the women’s graves. These stamps were used as family insignia. The 9th season of excavation also led to the same results,” said Dr. Mansoor Sajjadi, head of archeological excavation team in Burnt City.
On the types of the discovered clay stamps, Sajjadi pointed out that “the clay stamps found in different historical sites so far are generally categorized in two forms of cylindrical and flat stamp shapes. The discovered stamps in Burnt City are of the flat type, and were used as the family insignia. These stamps were applied just for family affairs and were different from the state stamps.”
Sajjadi also stressed that, “Discovery of the clay stamps in the graves of women may not be used to claim that the society of that time was a matriarchal one. The stamps were not being used in qualitative control of economy in the society and there have been insignificant signs of personal or family stamps on the goods stored in storage rooms. However, it can safely be said that women were in charge of controlling the economy of their families.”
Burnt City, situated in Sistan va Baluchestan Province, southeast of Iran, is one of the most important pre-historic sites of the country. Nine seasons of archeological excavations in the site indicate that Burnt City was an important center of civilization and trade some 5000 years ago. Burnt City is regarded as a crucial historical site in the eastern Iranian plateau.
Some unique relics such as the animated figure of a goat on a clay barrel, which is believed to be the first animation work in the history of the world, and a very unique backgammon, which is also believed to be the oldest one in the world, have been discovered in this historical site during the archeological excavations.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Restoration of Cyrus Tomb Resumed

Tehran, 17 February 2006 (CHN) -- The Tomb of Cyrus the Great, Achaemenid King who ruled over Persia from 550 to 530 BC, was surrounded again by scaffolds so that the process of restoring its stones may be resumed.
“These scaffolds will remain around Cyrus’ tomb for one year to support the construction from rain and snow during this raining season before completion of the project and to ensure the safety of the building until the restoration of the stones of this ancient monument is completed,” said Reza Rezaei, the new director of Pasargadae historical complex.
According to Rezaei, following the establishment of Pasargadae Research Base, these scaffolds were installed around Cyrus’ tomb several times, and each time different sections of this tomb were renovated. This time, the project focuses on the ceiling of this stone monument. One of the main features of this tomb is that its entrance doorway is constructed to face the sunset, which was due to the fact that Cyrus loved the twilight view.
Pasargadae, located 70 km north of Persepolis, was the oldest capital of the ancient Achaemenid empire, built by the founder of this empire, King Cyrus the Great (559-330 BC). It resembled a park of 2x3 km in which several monumental buildings were to be seen. Prior to his death, Cyrus founded a new capital city at Pasargadae in Fars Province and had established a government for his Empire. Pasargadae covered an area of almost 1.5 miles in length and included palaces, a temple and the tomb of Cyrus the Great. The city was built on the site where King Cyrus defeated the leader of the Medes, Astyages, in 550 BC. Cyrus appointed a governor (a ‘Satrap’ in ancient Persian) to represent him in each province; however, the administration, legislation, and cultural activities of each province were the responsibility of the Satraps. This historical complex along with the Tomb of Cyrus the Great were inscribed in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites last year.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Two Ancient Caves Discovered in Qasr-e Shirin

Tehran, 16 February 2006 (CHN) -- Archeological excavations in the city of Qasr-e Shirin resulted in the discovery of two caves belonging to the Neolithic era and the Middle Elamite period.
“Two caves were discovered in the southern foothills of Bazidar Mountains, one of them dates back to some 9000 years ago during the Neolithic era, and the other belongs to the Middle Elamite period and contemporary to the Iron Age in Zagross and Central Plateau of Iran. A large number of stone tools have also been discovered in a small cave during the excavations. The depth and the opening of this cave are both 6 meters and it seems that it was used as a shelter by the inhabitants of the region. During Iran-Iraq war this cave was used by Iraqi soldiers as bulwark and now the local nomads use this cave to keep their cattle in it,” said Ali Hajbari, head of excavation team in Qasr-e Shirin.
Prior to this, archeological excavations in the city of Qasr-e Shirin led to the discovery of the defensive wall of Khosrow Parviz Castle and 35 other historical sites. 40 kilometers of this wall is located inside Iran and the rest of it continues in Iraq’s soil. Archeologists believe that Khosrow Parviz, the Sassanid King, constructed this shell-keep to protect his beloved, Shirin.
The 35 discovered historical sites belong to the Neolithic era (6500 BC) and Chalcolithic period (5000-3000 BC) relating to the middle and new Elamite and Achaemenid periods.
Moreover, archeological excavations at the historical site of Qasr-e Shirin resulted in the discovery of some clays belonging to the Uruk period (Mesopotamia civilization) and special kinds of clays belonging to the beginning of written language.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Kool Farah's Mysterious Worship Place Awaits Registration

Tehran, 15 February 2006 (CHN) -- Ayapir Cultural Heritage Team is determined to prepare the file of six Elamite intaglios in Kool Farah, the biggest worship place of Iran during the ancient times, in the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
Kool Farah is situated 7 kilometers southeast of Eazeh in Khuzestan province and is one of the most important historical sites of this province. It is located in a gorge surrounded by two stone mountains on which there are engravings depicting the figure heads of a monarch, a commander, a man and a women, captives, and animals such as cow, bison and sheep. It shows a form of worship or respect and the offering of gifts to the ruler. This engraving belongs to the Elamite period (2700 BC-539 BC). There is also an Elamite inscription on the northern wall of the gorge and the carved image of Kool Farah governor.
“No clarified picture has been provided from these intaglios so far. Since the intaglios were carved in different levels, it is not easy to take a vivid picture from them and it requires some special technical methods. Understanding the meanings of these carvings would give us a new conception about the ancient religious ceremonies of Elamite civilization. On the other hand, it would also be another step toward preparing the file for inscribing this unique historical site in the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites,” said Jafar Mehrkian, archeologists and head of Ayapir Cultural Heritage Team.
The intaglio of 400 figures in a ceremonial religious ritual can be seen in this worship place. Mehrkian believes that these engravings somehow indicate the first appearance of religious ideologies in human beings. The scene of carrying the Gods, scarifying, and music performances can also be seen in these intaglios.
“Studies on Eazeh historical sites, including Tarshia and Narsina worship places, aim at preparing a comprehensive file for these ancient sites to be sent to UNESCO for world registration,” said Mehrkian.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Original Design of Destroyed Staircase at Persepolis Unravelled

LONDON, February 13, 2006 (CAIS) -- For the first time, an archeological team in Persepolis Historical Site found out the original design of one of the destroyed staircases of Persepolis. This design reveals the construction of staircase of the G-palace which is located behind Darius the Great' Palace.
“There is a destroyed staircase in the southern part of Persepolis in the southern yard of Darius’ Palace which leads to a hill. The design of the staircase was in accordance with that of the Darius' Palace which indicates that this staircase must have been constructed with a new palace at the time of Ardeshir III (Artaxerxes). The destroyed staircase was connecting the new palace with of Darius' Palace; nothing has remained from that palace today", said Afshin Yazdani, archeologist in Persepolis and head of excavation team of G-Palace staircase.
"For an unknown reason, this staircase was moved to the south of Darius’ Palace during the Post-Achaemenid era,” Yazdani added.
This staircase was constructed between 359-335 BC and was one of the most last constructions of Persepolis prior to to collapse of Achaemenid Empire by Alexander II, the Macedonian warlord in 333 BC.
“The staircase of G-palace is very similar to that of Darius’ Palace, the only difference between them is that while in Darius’ Palace the staircase leads to the terrace of the palace through two landings; in the staircase of G-palace you should pass two small wings which were constructed vertically in front of the terrace to reach to the landings” added Yazdani.
However, the decoration of the staircases are not similar to the rest of Persepolis, especially, the reliefs showing Median and Persian dignitaries are not as sophisticated as the Darius’ Palace decoration.
“It was late professor Erich Schmidt of Chicago University who presented the design of the plan of this staircase for the first time. His investigation of Persepolis were reported in three enormous, comprehensive volumes. However, although his approach was organised and meticulously noted where he had fond almost every fragment of the palace, but he made some errors with his reconstruction. In some places he has designed six stairs for this staircase, while somewhere else in his book he has considered eleven stairs for the entrance gate and central courtyard of Darius’ Palace. Nevertheless, the exact plan of this staircase was identified during the archeological excavations near Xerxes Palace which led to the discovery of broken blocks,” explained Yazdani about the plan of G-palace staircase.
Studies on this staircase revealed that the small wings led to the staircase landings through seven stairs and then 11 stairs connected the landings to the terrace. This way the total number of stairs reached 18 and the number of Median and Persian reliefs on the walls of this staircase was 136 to begin with making the staircase of the G-palace the biggest staircase of Persepolis Palace Complex.
Persepolis Palace Complex is one of the most prominent and splendid historical sites of ancient world which dates back to the Achaemenid dynastic era (648 BC–330 BC). The exact date of the construction of Persepolis is not known, but it is assumed that Darius the Great began working on the 33-acre terrace with its underground drainage system between 518 and 516 BC, so Persepolis palace to be built over as the ceremonial capital of Persian Empire.
However, Persepolis and its magestic halls and residential palaces perished in flames when Alexander II conquered and looted the terrace in 335 BC. Persepolis was surrendered by its garrison commander without a fight to prevent any massacre by the invaders. However, after taking the terrace, Alexander turned loos his Greek and Macedonian soldiers on the lower city. For an entire day they murdered the men, carried off the women and plundered the houses.
According to historical accounts he removed 270 tons of gold-coins and 1200 tons of silver casts from Susa; and from Persepolis total of 5,500 tons of silver which carried away on 20,000 mules and 5,000 camels.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Jiroft Civilization Exceeds Mesopotamia in Artistic Works

Tehran, 12 February 2006 (CHN) -- Archeological studies on the coals gathered during excavations in Jirof revealed that Iran’s stone art was more developed than that of Mesopotamia around 2800 BC. It also proved that the surface layer of this historical site is more than 4800 years old.
“A large number of coals were gathered during archeological excavations in Kenar Sandal historical site in Jiroft. According to the researches done on these coals in one of the biggest radiocarbon labs in the United Stated, the surface layer of Kenar Sandal historical site dates back to 2800 BC. Most of the discovered artifacts in this historical site must have belonged to this surface. The art used on these stones shows Iranian skills in stone art during the ancient times. We can not see such a delicacy in Sumerian civilization of Mesopotamia during this period,” said Yousof Majidzadeh, head of excavation team in Jiroft historical site.
Archeological excavations are being carried out in the basin of Halil Rud River in Jiroft with the attendance of 20 Iranian and foreign archeologists in order to discover some new relics and to prove Iran’s possession over stolen artifacts which have been taken out from the country by smugglers during illegal excavations. 12 pieces of these relics are now being kept in Barakat Gallery in London. The owner of this gallery denies that these relics belong to Jiroft’s historical site and refuses to give them back to Iran.
Halil Rud historical site, located near the city of Jiroft in Kerman Province, was one of the first places where civilization and urbanization were established. 120 historical sites have been discovered on the 400-kilometer basin of Halil Rud River so far. A Large number of stone, clay, bronze, tombs and architectural relics belonging to the third millennium BC were unearthed during the illegal excavations by smugglers and sold to museums and individuals abroad. Iran is trying to prove its possession over these ancient relics in order to bring them back to where they belong.

5,000-Year-Old Grave Discovered in Jiroft

LONDON, 12 Februrary 2006 (CAIS) -- Director of the Jiroft excavation team, has announced that archeologists have come across a grave dating back to the third millennium BCE. Speaking to ISNA, Professor Yousef Majidzadeh said that in addition to the objects so far unearthed from the tomb, the team is also searching for human remains.
He added that the graves are located two-meter below the surface level. Recently a passage leading to one of the graves was found.
"Of course, this one, like the others in Matutâbâd Cemetery, Jiroft, has not remained safe and a passage connecting the tomb to the adjacent grave has been dug by plunderers", Majidzadeh stated.
He also pointed out that some 300 beads of a necklace made of azurite have been recovered after sieving the soil from the graves during illegal excavations.

Sasanian Column Bases Discovered in Dastwa

LONDON,11 February 2006 (CAIS) -- Archeological excavations in Dastwa (Dastwâ) ancient site near the city of Shushtar in Khuzestan province led to the discovery of 6 Sasanian column bases. “Considering the thickness of each column bases and their distance from one another, it is believed that these 6 discovered brick column bases must have been used in the construction of a hall belonging to the Sasanian dynastic era,” said Mehdi Rahbar, head of excavation team in Dastwa ancient site.
“The column bases are three meters apart from each other. The architectural style and the distance between the column bases indicate the existence of a big roofed hall in this area; however, the usage and the exact date of its construction are not clear yet. Considering the discovery of a Sasanian coin made of lead in the area as well as the architectural style and the size of the column bases, places the hall in the Sasanian dynastic period. Nonetheless, more researches are still required to determine the exact date of the building,” added Rahbar.
Unfortunately, construction of modern fish hatcheries in this area resulted in the destruction of large parts of the architectural remains in Dastwa historical site.
Existence of catacombs, irrigation channels, and various architectural styles in this area, most of which have been destroyed, all give proof to the importance of this giant hall in the ancient times.
“Such an architectural style had already been seen in the other historical sites belonging to the Sasanian period such as Bandian of Dargaz fire temple in Northern Khorassan Province. The only difference is that they were adobe constructed, while the new discovered ones in Dastwa are made of brick,” explained Rahbar.
According to Rahbar, Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization has taken the measures to restore the stucco decorations of these column bases to clarify their original designs. Since it is the first time that such stucco decorations are discovered in this historical site, determining their usage would give valuable information about the Sasanian era.
Dastwa city was founded on the basin of Gargar River (the ancient name for Karun River) during the first millennium BC. This historical city was survived during the brutal invasion of Iran by Arabs in 7th century, and it was inhabited until the 9th and 10th centuries AD, before its' gradual abandonment.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Turquoise-Like Stones Unearthed in Burnt City

Tehran, 8 February 2006 (CHN) -- Archeological excavations in Bunrt City resulted in the discovery of some turquoise-like stones for the first time which were found only 5 centimeters under the ground.
“For the first time, excavations in Burnt City provided us with some valuable archeological information in this historical site. This excavation was carried out in the blade- making area of Burnt City, where we believe blades such as saw and knife were made from ‘filing stones’,” said Mansour Sajadi, head of archeology team in Burnt City.
This is the first time that some objects similar to turquoise stones have been discovered in Burnt City. “These stones have been sent to the geology laboratory of Zahedan Azad University to be studied carefully in order to determine their identity,” explained Sajadi.
According to geological researches, mineral stones exist in special regions such as Khorassan province. Therefore, archeologists still do not know much about the characteristics of these stones and the reason for their existence in this area. A large number of stone blades were also discovered during the recent excavations in Burnt City.
The latest archeological excavations were carried out in a 4x4 meter area in 5-centimeter depth of the earth and lasted for four days. “Only spoon, awl, and sieve are being used in this excavation. It is somehow impossible to carry out such a delicate excavation with any other kinds of tools,” said Sajadi in this respect. This kind of excavations provides archeologists with an opportunity to get enough information without any need for digging deep into the ground.
“The purpose of this kind of excavation is to study ancient relics which exist near the surface of the ground in this area. Some artifacts are visible on the surface of this historical site and can easily be taken out without any need for digging, which provided us with some valuable information about the history of Burnt city and its inhabitants. The relics in the 5-centimeter depth of the earth are considered as surface objects as well, which are most often unearthed during deep diggings. This time we were determined to carry out excavations and gain information only from upper layers,” explained Sajadi.
Burnt City, located in Sistan va Balushistan province in southeast of Iran, is one of the prominent historical sites of Iran. It is a 5000-year-old ancient site with historical graveyards and buildings with unique architectural structures. The city was the habitat of a developed civilization with a rich culture and economy. Studies show that the site was once the center of international trade (the biggest Pre-historic cloth collection has been discovered here).
Burnt City has so far undergone 9 seasons of excavations which have resulted in the discovery of a number of interesting artifacts, some of which are unique in the world. The first archeological excavations at this site were carried out by Italians, later on followed by the Iranian archeologists.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

3000-Year-Old Prayer House Discovered in Qoli Darvish

Tehran, 7 February 2006 (CHN) -- Everyday some new interesting discoveries are made in Qoli-Darvish historical site near Qom. Discovery of a fire temple and prayer house with an urban architectural plan belonging to the Iron Age for the first time in this historical site as well as a jar burial dating back to the third millennium BC have encouraged archaeologists to continue their studies in Qoli-Darvish historical site.
“This season of excavation in Qoli Darvish historical site was so fruitful that two months of excavations was not enough to finish excavation studies on this ancient site. Therefore, we need more time to complete our excavations,” said Siamak Sarlak, head of excavation team in Qoli-Darvish historical site.
Qoli Darvish historical Tepe (hill), located on the way of Qom-Jamkaran highway, is one of the most important historical sites in the Central Plateau belonging to the Iron Age. Archaeological excavations in Qoli Darvish historical site indicates that residency in Qom dates back to the forth millennium BC.
During the third season of archaeological excavations in Qoli Darvish Tepe, the first fire temple and prayer house belonging to the Iron Age in the Central Plateau of Iran was discovered and unearthed which had remained almost intact and is considered one of the most important discoveries in this historical site (besides the Pre-Achaemenid Cuneiform Inscription).
“This prayer house with the fire temple at its center was deliberately sealed with adobe during the first millennium BC, and then the raised platform of Qoli Darvish was built on it. The excavation team in Qoli Darvish succeeded in unearthing this prayer house, which is almost intact after 3000 years,” added Sarlak. The first urban architectural plan belonging to the Iron Age (the first millennium BC) along with a jar burial dating back to the third millennium BC were the other important discoveries in Qoli Darvish hill.
“During the archaeological excavations in the 5000-year-old layers of Qoli Darvish, we could trace the developed culture of inhabitants of this region which was quite unique in Central Plateau of Iran,” explained Sarlak.
The first archaeological excavations in this historical hill started three years ago which resulted in numerous discoveries such that the archaeologists now regard Qoli Darvish Tepe as a potential archaeological site in which hides valuable information about this region’s past.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Discovery of 35 Historical Sites in Qasr-e Shirin

Tehran, 6 February 2006 (CHN) -- Archaeological excavations in Qasr-e Shirin in Kermanshah Province led to the discovery of 35 historical sites belonging to the Neolithic (6500 BC) and Chalcolithic period (5000-3000 BC).
“Discovery of clays belonging to Uruk period (Early Mesopotamian civilization), and special bowls ( clay bowls belonging the beginning of written language), were the other discoveries in this historical site,” said Ali Hajbari, archaeologist and head of excavation team in Qasr-e Shirin.
According to Hajbari, among the discovered historical sites, some date back to the Middle Elamite, New Elamite and the Achaemenid era, while some contemporary evidence belonging to the Pahlavi era have also been discovered.
A 40-kilometer defensive wall, built by Khosrow Parviz to defend the Qasr-e Shirin had already been discovered during the archaeological excavations in Qasr-e Shirin. This discovered wall in Qasr-e Shirin continues to Iraq after passing through the border.
Sassanid channel is the other important historical evidence of Qasr-e Shirin which is aborted in Iraq. The water of Alvand River enters this channel through a trench, and after passing the eastern and northern parts of Qasr-e Shirin it flows towards Iraq. A rich civilization was established on the basin of this river in Qasr-e Shirin area.
This channel was constructed by sand stones and stucco. The method of constructing the channel on an uneven land is considered one of the world engineering feasts in irrigation style. In order for the water to flow smoothly in this channel, the ground had to be leveled first. In doing so, the channel was filled up to 7 meters above the ground level in some parts, while in some others the mountain cliffs were scraped or the earth was dug 10 meters.
The ruins near Qasr-e Shirin were excavated for the first time in 1891, and later in 1910 by British archaeologist and writer Gertrude Magaret Lowthian Bell (1868-1926).
Qasr-e Shirin or the Place of Shirin is the name of a historic city in Kermanshah Province, west of Iran. During his reign, Khosrow Parviz, the Sassanid King, built several palaces in this city including a palace he named after his queen, Shirin; hence the city got its name from there and is now called Qasr-e Shirin, literary meaning “Place of Shirin”.
The excavations in Qasr-e Shirin historical site will continue to 19th of February, while archeologists are hoping to find new architectural and historical evidence.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Tomb of Khosrow I, Found in Khafr

LONDON, 5 February 2006 (CAIS) -- Archeologists conducting excavations in Khafr, Fars province have come across the tomb of the Sasanid King of Kings, Khosrow I, known as Anušakruwān (pr. Anushirvān), (531-579 AD).
Archeologist Jamshid Sedaqat-Kish told ISNA in Jahrom, Fars province, that foreign sources had earlier confirmed that King’s grave was located at Khafr.
“It was discovered at a palace in Khafr. Prior to the 1979 Revolution, works had begun to build a tomb at the site, but, the project went into oblivion after the revolution,“ he said.
Khosrow I, was one of the greatest of the ancient world's sovereigns. He succeeded his father, Kavadh I (Qobād), but before becoming king of kings, Khosrow was responsible for ending the communistic Mazdakites movement (c.528). He extended Persian rule East to the Indus River with the capture (560) of Bactria, West across Arabia by establishing (570) at least nominal rule over Yemen, and north and northwest by taking part of Armenia and Caucasus from the Byzantines.
Khosrow is revered as a just (Dādgar), who encouraged learning, stimulated commerce, rebuilt cities, and set up a reformed system of taxation.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Bronze Daggers and 300 Lapis Beads Discovered in Jiroft

Tehran, 4 February 2006 (CHN) -- Archaeological excavations in Kenar Sandal area in Jiroft resulted in the discovery of two bronze daggers, a saw, and 300 lapis beads. Most of the discovered bronze and stone tools in this area had agricultural purposes which further indicate that Kenar Sandal area was an agricultural society and its residents did not earn their livings through hunting.
“The lapis beads discovered in a grave indicate that the women of this area wore these beads as necklaces some 5000 years ago,” said Majid Yousofzadeh, head of excavation team in Halil Rud region. “Since the inhabitants of this region had a material attitude toward afterlife, such articles were buried with the corpses as burial gifts,” added Yousofzadeh.
According to the researches the people of this area were professional craftsmen 10,000 years ago. They used to bring lapis lazuli to this region from Badakhshan Mountains in Afghanistan and after cutting the stones they would export them to different countries from this area.
Four seasons of excavation in the Halil Rud region has convinced archaeologists that unlike what most people had previously believed, Jiroft was the cradle of civilization not Mesopotamia.
Halil Rud historical site, located near the city of Jiroft in Kerman Province, was one of the first places where civilization and urbanization were established. 120 historical sites have been discovered on the 400-kilometer basin of Halil Rud River so far. A large number of stone, bronze and architectural relics belonging to the third millennium BC were unearthed during the illegal excavations by smugglers.
Recently, two snake-men reliefs were discovered during the fourth season of excavations in Jiroft. All these evidence can be used as proofs to Iran’s claim over ancient relics which have been stolen from this region and sold to museums and private collectors in different countries throughout the world.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Snake-Men Stone Reliefs Discovered in Jiroft

Tehran, 2 February 2006 (CHN) -- Recent archaeological excavations in Kenar Sandal area in Jiroft resulted in the discovery of two stone reliefs. The reliefs depict two men with human faces but snake tails instead of legs.
“These reliefs were carved on soapstones. They are 25 by 17 centimeter in size with a thickness of about 1.5 centimeters,” said Yousof Majidzadeh, head of excavation team in Jifort.
“This is the first time that such stone reliefs of creatures that are half human and half snake have been discovered in this historical site. However, carvings of scorpion-like human beings on stones and eagle reliefs had previously been discovered in this site. These stone reliefs were carved on a flat stone, and there are 12 circles on the arms of each of them. Most probably, this flat piece of stone had an entertainment usage some 5000 years ago, something like today’s backgammon. These circles are carved around the arms and the chests of the carved figures. Similar instruments have been seen in Burnt City as well, and archeologists believe that these must have been objects built for playing games,” added Majidzadeh.
Some of these stone relics were plundered during the illegal digging of the smugglers and were taken outside the country. To bring these ancient relics back to the country, Iran has asked for an international court to redeem its stolen historical artifacts, mostly unearthed in Jiroft. According to Majidzadeh these new discoveries can be used as a proof for Iran’s claim over these relics in international courts.
Halil Rud historical site near Jiroft was one of the first places where civilization and urbanization were established. Studies on this historical site indicate that the region, especially the ancient city of Kenar-Sandal near Halil Rud, was the commercial link between Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, countries of the Persian Gulf region, and Transoxiana some 5000 years ago. So far, 120 historical sites have been discovered on the 400-kilometer basin of Halil Rud River.
A large number of stone, clay, and architectural remains from the third millennium BC were discovered during archeological excavations in the site. Illegal diggings of the smugglers in this historical site resulted in the loss of some valuable evidence. These historical treasures were then sold to museums and private collections outside the country. Therefore, Iran’s government has asked an international court to be set up to identify these relics.
Archaeologists believe that the recent discovery of the snake-men not only proves that this region was the cradle of civilization more that 5000 years ago, these historic relics can also be used as essential documents to prove Iran’s rightness in international courts.

Sasanian Defensive Wall Unearthed Near Qasr-e Shirin

LONDON, (CAIS) -- A wall believed to date back to the Sasanian dynastic era has recently been unearthed near the city of Qasr-e Shirin in the western Iranian province of Kermânshâh, the Persian service of CHN reported on Wednesday.
The wall is about 40 kilometres in length and surrounds the Shirin Palace. It was used as a defensive device for the palace, which was built by the Sasanian King of Kings Khosrow II, Parviz (reigned 590-628 CE) for his wife Shirin, said Ali Hodzabri, the director of the archaeological team working at the site.
The palace was 285x98 meters in diameter, and constructed eight meters above the surface level. The wall is located 17 kilometres from Shirin Palace and is near the Sasanian monuments Bân-Qaleh and Châhâr-Qâpi fire-temple.
The wall, which was constructed in the anathyrosis style (stone-cutting techniques and building with dry stone without mortar), begins at the Bâzi-Derâz heights and stretches into present-day Iraq.
No historical document or study refers to the existence of such a wall, which was discovered during the current phase of excavations that began on January 5.
The ruins near Qasr-e Shirin were excavated for the first time in 1891 and later in 1910 by British archaeologist, writer and government official, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell (1868-1926).

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Asheulian Stone Tools, New Mystery of Kaluraz

Tehran, 1 February 2006 (CHN) -- Discovery of man-made stone tools in Parthian layers of Kaluraz Tepe in Gilan province which are similar to those of the Asheulian epoch have raised new questions about the age of this historical site. Prior to this, the existence of Asheulian culture had already been discovered near this historical site at Ganj-Par.
“Some stone tools similar to those which had already been found in the basin of Sefidrud River belonging to the Asheulian culture (some 700,000 years ago), have been discovered in the Parthian layer of Kaluraz Tepe. Discovery of this stone tool in the layers belonging to the Parthian era indicates that most probably a mistake has been made in dating these objects,” said Mohammad Reza Khalatbari.
Previous studies on the upper layers of Sefidrud River resulted in the discovery of a collection of man-made stone tools belonging to the Asheulian culture, which were a proof of existence of human beings in this region.
“The question is that if these artifacts belong to the Paleolithic era, why have they been found in the upper layers of the ground? Most often such artifacts are expected to be discovered in caves or among the layers of sediments,” explained Khalatbari.
According to Khalatbari, such stone tools are still being used in regions such as Roudbar to crush olive then it can be concluded that these tools were used by human beings in their everyday life.
In any case, Paleontology experts believe that the newly discovered stone tool in Kaluraz is most probably a whetstone, formed by abrasion, while the stones dating back to the Paleolithic era were carved stones. Besides, according to geological studies, the upper layers of the basin of a river, called terrace, are older than the lower layers since the water stream gradually washes away the river basins and move the rocks and sediments down the river.
Experts on the Paleolithic era, such as Professor Jack Joubert, who examined the collection of stone tools discovered near Sefidrud River and Ganjpar area in Rostam Abad, have confirmed that they must have belonged to the Asheulian culture. A report about the discovery of this collection was published in the “Antiquity Journal” and a seminar has also been held in the United States in Pennsylvania in this respect. Both Iranian and foreign experts have confirmed that stone tools of the Ganjpar region and the surrounding areas of Sefidrud River must have belonged to the Asheulian culture.
The similarity of the discovered objects in Sefidrud River and Kaluraz historical hill must be studied by experts to reveal the exact date of Kaluraz Tepe in Gilan province.
Asheulian culture is an ancient one dating back to some one and half million to 250 thousand years ago. It was formed in east of Africa and then was spread to Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Caucasian region, Armenia, Georgia, and the Indian Peninsula with the migration of Asheulian people.

A Zooarcheology Center to be Established in Iran

Tehran, 1 February 2006 (CHN) -- The first center for research and archive of animal studies in archeology will start its work from the coming spring in Iran’s National Museum.
“Unfortunately despite the existence of many historical sites in Iran and the close relations between human beings and nature seen in different Iranian ethnic groups, we do not have a center for archeological and historical studies on animals and Dr. Marjan Mashkour, the only archaeozoologist in Iran, has to carry out her researches outside the country,” said Mohammad Reza Kargar, director of Iran’s National Museum.
In order to solve this problem, director of Iran’s National Museum is going to establish a research center for animal studies in archeology with the cooperation of Dr. Mashkour who is also a member of France National Research Center in Iran’s National Museum.
Considering the development in archeology, studying the remains of the discovered plants and animals from different areas will be the main aim of this research center. Studies on various kinds of animals and plants will reveal some important secrets about life during different periods of time.
According to Kargar, this center will be established by next spring and it will provide facilities for paleontologists to carry out their studies in this respect. “The bone remains of different animals are being kept in Iran’s National Museum. Besides, Mrs. Maskhkour will cooperate with the center by sharing her enormous findings and researches on this field,” explained Kargar.
In Iran, some animal studies in archaeology have been done so far by Marjan Mashkour who conducted her research mostly on the animal remains of Zagheh Tepe. This is one of the most important historical sites of Iran, located near Boien Zahra in Qazvin province, with 7000-years of civilization. The bone remains of sheep, deer, cow, and some other domestic and wild animals found in the initial studies on the soil of this region indicate the developing coexistence of human beings with environment some 7000 years ago.
More zooarchaeology studies in this historical site led to the discovery of large amounts of jackal bone remains in this site. This discovery revealed that Zagheh city had seen two periods of human settlements. There must have been a 50-year interruption between these two periods during which the city was abandoned completely by human beings and occupied mostly by jackals.