Monday, March 20, 2006

For the First Time, a Sasanian Imperial Cemetery Discovered at Gur

LONDON, 19 March 2006 (CAIS) -- A team of Iranian archaeologists has discovered an Imperial cemetery containing four coffins in the Sasanian city of Gur near Firuzabad in Fars Province, the Persian service of CHN reported on Saturday.
“We were cleaning an early post-Sasanian era water well for study of historic strata. Surprisingly, we found some drawings on the walls of the well at a depth of 180 centimeters. We made large trenches in order to trace the (course of the) drawings to the floor, and consequently we discovered the cemetery and the coffins,” team director Leili Niakan said.
The U-shaped coffins are empty, but the cemetery floor has many colorful drawings depicting Sasanian princes, though they have been partially damaged over the years, she explained. Such a cemetery and such coffins have never been seen at any site before, she said.
“We found pieces of bone in the well, but it is difficult for us to study the bones due to the damage caused by the humidity of the well, so we plan to send the bones to an Iranian expert at Cambridge University for further study,” Niakan added.
In early January, the team unearthed bas-reliefs depicting four members of the Sasanian Imperial family in the Menarshahr region of Gur.
Located 10 kilometers from Firuzabad in Fars Province, the circle-shaped city of Gur was the first capital of the Sasanians, which was established during the reign of the founder of the Sasanian dynasty, King of Kings Ardashir I. Very few studies have been carried out on the site, which is one of the five most important Sasanian 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 years.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A Temporary Settlement from Neolithic Era Found in Shahrud Plain

Tehran, 15 March 2006 (CHN) -- The first season of archaeological excavations in pre-historic sites of Kalateh Khan and Qaf Khaneh in Semnan province resulted in understanding the fact that these areas were used just as temporary settlements by the people during the Neolithic era. Kalateh Khan and Qaf Khaneh, located in Shahrud plain in Semnan province, are two of the most ancient sites in Iran’s Central Plateau, dating back to the 7th to 5th millennium BC.
“It is believed that Shahrud Plain was a temporary settlement for migrating nomads, however more studies are still needed to confirm this new finding,” said Kourosh Roustayi, head of excavation team of this historical site.
According to Roustayi, due to the special geological condition of this area, archaeologists are hoping to discover more historical evidence there. “We hope to find more cultural evidence in the area such as more ovens which were discovered during archeological excavations in Deh Kheir historical site,” added Roustayi.
Some coaled seeds and animal bones had also been discovered during the first season of excavations in Kalateh Khan and Qaf Khaneh historical sites.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Sections of Achaemenid' Kabeh Zartosht at Naqsh-e Rostam have Collapsed

LONDON, 13 March 2006 (CAIS) -- As the result of the Islamic regime' negligence towards pre-Islamic Iranian heritage, sections of the Achaemenid structure known as Kabeh Zarthost which has recently renamed as the Bardia Tomb, located at Naqsh-e Rostam in Fars province, have collapsed. The regime has announced that the structure will be repaired and the surrounding walls will also be reinforced. A master craftsman, who has undertaken the repair operation of Parse historical site, Hassan Rahsaz said that walls of the structure were repaired in 1966-1967. The walls were located eight meters below the surface of the surrounding areas and the structure itself was excavated after 1935.
Rahsaz noted that sections of the walls were built in 1967 to preserve the mud-bricks which were used in constructing the temple. The walls have been damaged in the past 30 years and should be repaired for Norouz holiday season when visitors from different cities come to see the cultural heritage site.
He said that the Zoroastrian Temple was built of limestone, a category of white stone which has remained durable.

History of the Central Plateau should be Rewritten Due to the Discovery of a River

LONDON, 13 March 2006 (CAIS) – Discovery of the traces of an ancient river belonging to the fifth millennium BC in Mafin Abad historical hill provided some important information about the cultural and economical life in Central Plateau of Iran for archaeologists. Archaeologists believe that an important event must have happened in the region which led to some atmospheric changes in Central Plateau of Iran and terminated the trend of urbanization life in this region.
Prior to this, it was supposed that Central Plateau of Iran has always been a desert and therefore the existence of some civilizations in this region such as Cheshmeh Ali remained a mystery to archaeologists. However, discovery of the traces of a historical river in the region changed the archaeological beliefs.
“Remains of a historical river which was discovered during the archeological excavations in Mafin Abad region, changes the current attitudes towards the atmospheric condition of the Central Plateau. With the recent discovery, the former archeological beliefs about the economical and social situation of Central Plateau of Iran during ancient times will be revised,” said Ahmad Chaichi, director of archaeological research center and head of excavation team in Mafin Abad.
According to Chaichi, discovery of the remains of a river in this region may result in finding out how some rich civilizations were established in the area. Now the question is that what happened some 6,000 years ago which caused the civilizations that were going towards urbanization to came to a sudden end. Archaeological excavations in Mafin Abad historical site which have been started since January this year, has led to some important accomplishments about the biological and cultural situation of Central Plateau of Iran.
Chaichi believes that discovery the remains of a river in the region indicate the development of culture and civilization in Cheshmeh Ali region in Central Plateau. On the other hand discovery of a large number of spindles indicate that Mafin Abad was an industrialized region in Central Plateau of Iran during ancient times.
“In addition to spindles, some pottery equipments were also discovered in the region which indicates industry development of pottery during ancient times. The standard method of producing clays indicates that this industry was reached to a developed situation in the course of history,” explained Chaichi.
Mafin Abad Tepe is located in Eslamshahr in south of Tehran. It is near Vavan Tepe which belongs to the Sasanid dynastic era.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

World Oldest Observatory Discovered in Gur

LONDON, 12 March 2006(CAIS) -- The oldest observatory was discovered in Gur city, Fars province, along with frescos of Sasanid princes. The Iran-Germany archaeological team, headed by Professor Dietrich Hoff, in its excavations first reached a circular structure which led to the Iranian observatory, dating back to the first Islamic century.
Similar buildings have previously been found in the Indian cities of New Delhi and Jaipur, ISNA reported. The adobe structure is in excellent condition. Its diameter is about 5.65 meters and there are 12 zodiac signs on the structure.
An Iranian member of the archaeological team, Jafari-Zand, said, “The observatory has been repaired and reinforced. Rest assured that natural parameters will not affect the structure and after the completion of excavations, it will be kept in a protected area.“
He noted that in the current phase, a part of the observatory, which is a masterpiece of Iranian science and technology, was unearthed and in the next phases other parts will be unearthed. Gur city was founded during the reign of Sasanid emperor, Ardeshir Babakan. In the Post-Sasanid era, its name changed to Firouzabad. The city was thriving in terms of scientific considerations in the 10th century CE.
Fars province was at the forefront of astronomy in Iran in the 10th century CE and Gur was a prominent city.

8000-Year-Old Pottery, Kilns Discovered Near Shahrud

LONDON, 12 March 2006 (CAIS) -- A team of Iranian archaeologists has discovered kilns, some pottery, and several stone blades during the current phase of excavations at the 8000-year-old Deh-Kheyr tepe, which is located near Shahrud in Semnan Province.
“The discoveries indicate that the site might have been an industrial region in ancient times,” team director Hassan Rezvani told IRNA on Saturday.
Excavations carried out over the past few years by Iranian and Japanese experts at Deh-Kheyr and Tappeh-Chakhmanq, south of Shahrud, resulted in the discovery of traces from the Neolithic era (circa 9000–8000 BC), putting the region on the archaeological map.
In the new phase of excavations, the cultural sequence of this era and previous periods will be studied, Rezvani said.
After the Neolithic era, people settled in the Shahrud region due to its hospitable environment, he added. Shahrud is located 398 kilometers east of Tehran and the Deh-Kheyr tepe is 15 kilometers north of the city.

7000-Year-Old Animal-Designed Clays Discovered in Shushtar

Tehran, 12 March 2006 (CHN) – Archaeological excavations in Khuzestan province led to the discovery of three earthenware ovens of clay designed with exaggerated pictures of animals called “Mosabak” in 7000-year-old architectural remains of Tal-e Abouchizan in Shushtar. This is the first time such clay relics has been discovered in Khuzestan historical sites. “Existence of four earthenware ovens in architectural remains indicate that this historical structure was not a settlement area and mot probably it is the remains of a pottery workshop. Some clays with very beautiful designs were also discovered near this workshop,” said Mehdi Moghadam, head of archaeological team in Tal-e Abouchizan in Shushtar.
According to Moghadam, such decorated clays were only discovered in Backoon historical site in Fars province which was one of the most important centers in forming political governments.
The first season of excavations has started in Tal-e Abouchizan to find out the role of this 7000-year-old historical area in the establishment of the first governments in Susa.
Tal-e Abouzhizan 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.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Largest Sasanid City Discovered in Fars

LONDON, 11 March 2006 (CAIS) -- A large Sasanid city has been discovered near the town of Kazerun in the southern Iranian province of Fars, the Persian service of CHN reported on Saturday. “The city is located 70 kilometers from Kazerun near the bas-relief of Bahram II (Sasanid king of kings, reigned 276–293 CE) and Sar-Mashhad village, so we tentatively named it Sar-Mashhad,” the director of the archaeological team working at the site said.
Although no one knew its extent, people were aware of the existence of the buried city due to several small mounds at the site, but during the new phase of studies, the team found a large site that covers 600 hectares, Saeid Ebrahimi explained.
Based on the shards gathered at the site and its proximity to the Bahram II bas-relief, the archaeologists believe that the site dates back to the Sasanid dynastic era and was still inhabited in the early Islamic era.
The team is currently searching for references to the city in historical texts, Ebrahimi added. Villagers who use some sections of the area for farming believe that the site was used by Bahram II for lion hunting, but Ebrahimi rejected the idea, arguing, “The site contains many mounds and a large tepes, which all point out to an urban life.”
With Persepolis and the city of Gur, Fars Province is home to major palaces of the great dynasties of the second Iranian dynasty, the Achaemenids (about 550-333 BC) and the forth dynasty, the Sasanids (224-652 CE).

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Marlik Mounds Turned Into Paddy Fields

LONDON, 09 March 2006 (CAIS) -- While the historic mounds at Marlik, Gilan province, can be the site for further archaeological studies, farmers have turned the area into farmland and are engaged in cultivating crops. Expressing this, an Iranian archaeologist, Mohammad Reza Khalatbari told ISNA that excavations at Marlik cemetery was of significance given the fact that archaeological studies in Gilan province have entered a new phase.
Khalatbari, who is also director the excavation team at the historical site of Tool, Talesh city, Gilan province, recalled that the first team set up in 1960 with the aim of compiling the country’s archaeological atlas, selected Gilan province as the first subject for study.
The team directed by Mohsen Moqaddam conducted archaeological studies in Deilaman in the same province. Stating that Marlik Mounds earlier belonged to a person named Cheraqali, who was used to cultivate the land, he said following the identification of the mounds, two rounds of excavations in the area led to the discovery of valuable objects including admiralty-metal and golden items as well as potteries.
After the head of the team submitted his report, professor Ezzatollah Negahban, a US-based Iranian archaeologist, who was the technical deputy of the Archaeology Department in 1960, drew attention to the importance of the mounds and he himself directed the team.
During the excavations conducted by Negahban from 1961-1962, 53 graves belonging to the kings ruling the region and some other valuable objects were unearthed. The relics in Marlik belonged to kings who ruled the area in the second millennium BC and the early centuries of the first millennium BC were also discovered during this excavation.
During the most recent excavations the Kadusi Governmental Citadel was aslo discovered in the Marlik mound.

The Staircase of the Red Dome Unearthed in Hamadan

Tehran, 9 March 2006 (CHN) – Restoration and reconstruction works in Red Dome historical tower led to discovery of two rows of the staircase which was buried for years. “Two rows of Red Dome staircase which are 2 meters in height and 40 centimeters in width were unearthed during the excavations,” said Naser Zavari, head of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Maragheh.
Red Dome, located in southwest of Maragheh city in Hamadan province, is the most ancient tomb in northwest of Iran constructed in 592 AH by the order of Abdolaziz, Azarbaijan’s governor. For the first time a combination of brick and tile-mosaic were used in the construction of this historical tower and therefore it is known as the start of Razi architectural style.
“The embellishment and reconstruction of the dome’s area started 5 years ago and last year with the cooperation of Maragheh municipality the lands in the vicinity of the dome were registered for the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Maragheh city to enlarge the area,” added Zavari.
According to Zavari, the restoration of some worn out interior parts of the dome has been started. He also explained about the construction of a vertical sun clock in the Red Dome area, “this unique clock in Iran, constructed by the cooperation of the physics and astronomy center of Maragheh and cultural department of France Embassy in Iran, is the third biggest vertical sun clock in the world after Paris’s sun clock and the sun clock of Egypt’s president house,” said Zavari.
He expressed hope that with allotting enough budgets to this project, this historical monument will be ready for public visit by next year.
Red Dome is a squared building consisted of a catacomb and a main room on a stone raised platform which is accessible by seven stairs. Five stairs of this building are in front of the raised platform and the sixth and seventh stairs are in the portal. The catacomb is located on the center of the raised platform and is accessible through the eastern part.

An Achaemenid Dam Discovered in Marvdasht

LONDON, 09 March 2006 (CAIS) -- Archaeological excavations by a French team in Fars province led to the discovery of the remains of a big dam belonging to the Achaemenid dynastic era. “Archaeological evidence indicates that most possibly the earthen dam located in Hana Gorge, was constructed by stone channels during the Achaemenid dynastic era. It is also believed that this dam must have been constructed to bring the water of the river under control and direct it to agricultural lands of Marvdasht plain,” said Remy Boucharlat, head of French Archaeological team in Marvdasht to CHN.
This earthen dam consisted of a canal, built with scraped grey stones for directing water. Metal joints were used for fastening these stones. The remains of this dam are known as the Demon Cave for the people of the region. More Archaeological excavations are still needed to determine the characteristics of this dam.
The discovered dam was almost 500 meters in length, 10 to 15 meters in height, and 10 to 30 meters in width. The eastern part of this dam has been destroyed due to the flooding of the river. “Northern and Southern parts and the stone canal of this dam have been destroyed by loader and explosive materials to some extent,” said Hamidreza Rezaei, director of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Marvdasht and head of Pasargadae Research Center.
Despite all these destructions caused by loaders, explosive materials, and also illegal diggings, this dam has still remained intact in some parts up to 5 meters high. Using explosive materials and loader for the destruction of this dam indicate how strong this dam was constructed substantially during the Achaemenid period, that after 2500 years from its construction explosive materials are needed to destroy it.
“Mapping of this earthen dam has been finished and it is ready for Boucharlat Archaeological excavations,” added Rezaei.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Discovery of Achaemenid Settlements in Marvdasht

LONDON, 07 March 2006 (CAIS) -- Second season of excavations by a joint Iranian-French team in Marvdasht foothills in Fars province resulted in the discovery of some settlement areas belonging to the Achaemenid dynastic era. “The previous excavations in Marvdasht historical site were merely focused on the plains. The recent excavations by Iranian-French joint team in Marvdasht foothills led to the discovery of some residential areas belonging to the Achaemenid dynastic era for the first time in this region. Our main aim was to find out traces belonging to the Achaemenid period and the first millennium BC in Marvdasht plain”, said Mohammad Feizkhah, Iranian head of the team.
Little information have been obtained so far about the way of urban and rural living during the Achaemenid dynasty which is one of the questions occupied the mind of archaeologists about this period.
According to Feizkhah, most of these settlements areas are rural houses, located on the foothills and archaeological excavations in this historical site would provide some important information about the system of ordinary peoples’ life during the Achaemenid dynasty.
“During the excavations near the plain rivers, we found a barrier used to function as small dam, which must have belonged to the Elamite period. This joint was destroyed in the course of history and during the Achaemenid dynastic era a settlements were constructed over it,” added Feizkhah.
The recent discoveries during the second season of excavations in Marvdasht have encouraged the archaeologists to head for a third season, commencing in spring 2006.

Experts to Unravel the Mysteries of Post-Achaemenid ear Laodicea Temple

LONDON, 07 March 2006 (CAIS) -- The Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (CHTO) plans to buy a number of houses in a region of Nahavand (Nahâvand), which archaeologists believe the Hellenistic Laodicea Temple lies buried, the Persian service of CHN reported on Tuesday.
Last June, a team of Iranian archaeologists led by Mehdi Rahbar began searching for the temple in Nahavand, which is 40 kilometers southeast of Malayer in Hamedan Province . The locals have been building many residential units on the site over the years, so the ICHTO must buy the houses in order to facilitate the excavation of the area.
“The team’s archaeological studies determined that only 12 residences must be bought in the first phase,” the director of the Laodicea Archaeological Study said.
The upcoming excavations will help determine exactly how many other houses must be bought to make the archaeological project possible, Ali Torabi added.
In 1943, archaeologists discovered an 85x36 centimeter ancient inscription of 30 lines written in Greek calling on the people of Nahavand to obey the laws of the government. The inscription indicated the existence of the Laodicea Temple, which had been built by the Seleucid ruler who ruled Asia Minor, Antiochus III (223-187 BC), for his wife Laodicea.
Two other inscriptions as well as four bronze statuettes have been unearthed at the site, which are on display in the National Museum of Iran in Tehran . A number of capitals and bases of the temple’s columns excavated over the years are currently being used as decorations in Nahavand’s Hajian Bazaar and several other parts of the city.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Discovery of Parthian Earthenware Floors in Dastva City

Tehran, 6 March 2006 (CHN)- Discovery of an earthenware floor in depth of 25 centimeter in the Sassanid halls in Dastva city surprised archaeologists. In addition, two other pillars were discovered in the Sassanid hall in Dastva historical city in Shushtar in Khuzestan province.
“In 25 meters depth of one on this pillars an earthenware floor were discovered. Although, some flag stoned floors had already been discovered, this is the first time an earthenware floor has been unearthed in an historical site in Iran. The architectural style of the discovered pillars indicated that most probably it must have been constructed during the Sassanid era, however it seems that the earthenware floor belonged to the Elamite-Parthian era,” said Mehdi Rahbar, archaeologists and head of excavation team in Dastva city.
Last season of archeological excavations in Dastva historical site led to the discovery of a 2000-year-old plaster window belonging to the Parthian-Elamite era and some unique stucco decorations for the first time in this historical site. Dastva city was established on the basin of Gargar River (the ancient name for Karun River) during the first century AD during the Elamite Period. This historical city was inhabited until the 9th and 10th centuries AD, and then little by little it was abandoned.
There were different local governments in this region some 2000 years ago; each of them functioned like an independent country. Sometimes the local rulers were allied and sometimes they came into clash with one another. The remained historical sites from that period indicate that the inhabitants of these regions enjoyed a comprehensive urban system contemporary with the Seleucids period (320-141 BC).

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Remnants of Buddhism Found in Sabzevar

LONDON, 05 March 2006 (CAIS) -- A team of Iranian and Japanese experts have discovered remnants of Buddhist culture at a site near Sabzevar, Khorasan Province, the Persian service of CHN reported on Saturday. The team, which began their research work last year, believes that they will find a Buddhist temple at the site. The Iranian director of the team, Hamid Fahimi, said that nineteen sites in the provinces of Zanjan, West Azerbaijan, Central, Kordestan, Hamedan, and Khorasan were studied, and the Pirestir site near Sabzevar was the location where Buddhist ruins were discovered.
According to Fahimi, architectural ruins, historical documents, and the local oral history have provided more evidence that Buddhists lived at the site in the late Sasanid and early post-Sasanid eras.
“According to the regional people, there were forty rooms around the Pirestir monument which non-Muslims used for worship. They said that the worshippers would not leave the rooms before they finished their prayers. The rooms had low ceilings and no windows. Inside the rooms were totally dark and the smoke left on the ceilings and the shelves show that the rooms had no holes to allow light to enter. The ceremony was similar to those of Buddhists,” he noted. He went on to say that the historical documents identify it as a site belonging to the Buddhists of ancient Iran, adding, “There is no accurate date for the events, but it is assumed that the rooms are older than Pirestir, dating back to the late Sasanid and early post-Sasanid eras.
“The team plans to continue their studies and work based on the historical documents. Studying the coins of the late Parthian and Sasanid eras is also one of the main tasks of the team since, in those years, the regional governors of Khorasan who had a tendency toward Buddhism used to mint coins bearing the image of Buddha,” he noted.
The Japanese team is directed by Tsuchi Hashirikobe and the experts come from Japan’s Nara International Foundation (NIFS). NIFS, a public-service corporation established by the governor of Nara prefecture in July 1989, aims to develop Nara into a center for historical and cultural research on the Silk Road, based on the achievements of the Silk Road Exposition of 1988.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Discovery of the Western Platform of Apadana Castle

Tehran, 4 March 2006 (CHN) -- The giant western platform of Apadana Castle with a 380 square meters area has been unearthed after 12 years of archaeological excavations in this historical site. “The reconstruction of the previous accomplishments will be carried out after finishing the excavations. With the cooperation of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Khuzestan province and Susa city, this wall would be restored. The area between the wall of the platform and Imam Street in Susa city is supposed to change into a museum. However until this wall is not reconstructed we can not establish the museum,” said Mir Abedin Kaboli, head of archeological excavation team in Apadana Castle.
During their excavations in Susa historical site, French archaeologists believe that the only entrance of Apadana Castle located on the eastern side of Susa and there was no other gate, while western gate of Apadana Castle discovered during the recent excavations.
Discovery of the cladding and staircases in the western platform of Apadana Castle indicate that the castle entrance was from the western part.
Apadana Castle in Susa historical city in Khuzestan province was one of the most important castles during the Achaemenid era, and one of the most splendid ones in the world. Before the Islamic revolution in 1979, a French archaeological team carried out excavations in this castle which led to the discovery of a large number of valuable relics belonging to the Achaemenid era. These relics are now keept in the Louvre Museum in Paris.
Susa historical site in Khuzestan province is a large area containing various architectural structures belonging to the pre-historical to the Islamic period. This historical site was one of the most prominent centers of civilization in the world during the ancient times.

Iron Age Arrowhead Discovered in Zanjan Province

LONDON, 4 March 2006 (CAIS) -- The team of archaeologists working at historical sites of Zanjan Province recently discovered several dishes and a brass arrowhead dating back to the Iron Age, the Persian service of CHN reported on Saturday. The discoveries were made at the historical sites of Abhar and Khorramdarreh.
The archaeologists were surprised to discover Iron Age artifacts in Zanjan Province. The director of the Abhar Cultural Heritage and Tourism Office said that the artifacts were found in an ancient cemetery near Abhar but gave no details about the exact location of the discovery.
Davud Abyan noted that during the previous two stages of excavations at Abhar and Khorramdarreh, several sites and artifacts were found, adding, “Most of the finds date back to the prehistoric era and the Iron Age, including ancient cemeteries, tepes, caves, and ancient sites.”
He also said that twelve historical sites which date back to the Achaemenid and Parthian dynastic eras, as well as early Post-Sasanian era were found on the grounds of the Soltanieh Dome and expressed hope that the next stage of excavations would begin soon.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Historic Sialk Left to be Destroyed

LONDON, March 3, 2006(CAIS) -- Long-term plans should be devised to protect the historical Tappeh Sialk in the city of Kashan. Sadeq Malek Shahmirzadi, leading the Sialk excavation team, told ISNA that a five-year project had already been implemented on the ancient hill.
He recalled that French archaeologist Roman Ghirshman had initially excavated the area back in 1930s. Shahmirzadi regretted that vast sections of the hill had been destroyed due to poor protection.
Sialk is the oldest historical site in the Central Plateau, he said, recalling that a five-year project had been devised in 2001 to continue excavation work. “Three books have already been published on the results of the first three seasons of excavations. The collected information during the fourth season is also being compiled as a book,“ he explained.
Protection guards were stationed in the area since 2001. Making the remarks at the end of the five-year excavation project at Sialk, the archaeologist said he would no longer go there “because local officials are ignorant of archaeological considerations and they act in whatever way they desire.“
The archaeological site of Tappeh Sialk is an important Early Neolithic site near the modern town of Kashan in Iran, with occupations dated to as early as 6000 BC. The site contains one of the oldest ziggurats in the world, said to be 7,500 years old, and belonging to the Elamite civilization. The site was fist excavated in the 1930s, at least partly funded by the Louver Museum, where some of the artifacts are still stored.

Islamic, Sassanid, and Parthian Sites Discovered in Qeshm

Tehran, 3 March 2006 (CHN) -- Archeological excavations in Qeshm Island (south of Iran) led to the discovery of 32 historical sites belonging to the Parthian (150 BC–AD 226), Sassanid (226–650 AD), and Islamic (650 AD-present day) periods. Existence of abundant evidence from Islamic era is indicative of trade growth in this part over this period of time, in particular over the Safavid Age (1501-1736 AD).
In an interview with CHN, Alireza Khosrowzadeh, archeologist and the head of survey and identification team in Qeshm Island said, “Survey of different islands of Persian Gulf which have been started with the goal of identifying pre-Islamic sites led to the discovery of one Parthian site, one Sassanid site and 30 Islamic sites. ”He added, “These settlements have mostly been formed in this region for trade and business purposes, a fact which shows that Qeshm Island has been located in the trade route connecting the northern parts of the Persian Gulf to its southern areas.”
On the different processes of excavations in the Island, Khosrowzadeh pointed out that various historical periods from ancient time to the Islamic era, different kinds of defensive fortification and citadels built during the pre-Islamic era, and the special systems of water transfer and water storage during the warm seasons will all be investigated in this stage.
The largest island in Iran, Qeshm, is located in the Persian Gulf and covers an area of 500 square miles (1295 sq km). Qeshm Island is a mostly rocky and barren island with a small human population. On the little cultivated land there is, dates and melons are grown. Qeshm Island was once an important center of trade in the Persian Gulf region.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Traces of Prehistoric Civilization Discovered in Shahrud

Tehran, 2 March 2006 (CHN) -- Discovery of an 8000-year-old oven in Shahrud, a city in Semnan Province, revealed some evidence regarding the lifestyle of the people who lived in Shahrud Plain around 6000 BC. This discovery raised new questions about the method of life and crafts of the inhabitants of the region during the Neolithic epoch and before.
Soundings and stratigraphy works during the first season of excavations in Deh Kheir area, the area in which the oven was discovered, led to the discovery of some other heating systems in this pre-historical site. A similar oven has also been found during the second season of excavations.
“Discovery of these heating systems have helped in understanding the historical identification of these heating elements and the lifestyle and crafts of the people who lived in Shahrud Plain 8000 years ago,” said Hassan Rezvani, head of excavation team in Deh Kheir historical site.“In addition to crafts workshops and ovens, some clays and evidence of settlements were also found during the excavations which have increased the hope for finding more architectural remains in this area. A pile of burnt soil was found in the western part of the oven which has strengthened the possibility of the existence of pottery workshops in this area,” added Rezvani.
According to this archeologist, the most important characteristic of these ovens are their lids which are built in a way to allow air circulation in these ovens. He also expressed hope to find more ancient architectural evidence and ovens in the lower layers of the area.
The pre-historical site of Deh Kheir is located in Shahrud Plain, 15 kilometers from the city of Shahrud and near Deh Kheir Village. Archeological excavations in different parts of Shahrud Plain reveal the existence of life in this area during 7-5 millennium BC.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

First Elamite Inscription Discovered in Bandar Abbas

Tehran, 1 March 2006 (CHN) -- The recent archaeological excavations in Bandar Abbas, the southern port of Iran, led to the discovery of a Middle Elamite cuneiform inscription belonging to 1500 BC for the first time.
“Part of an inscription has been discovered in the city of Bandar Abbas in the vicinity of Sarkhoon Village in Hormozgan province, near a cemetery belonging to the Qajar era. Archeologists believe that this cuneiform inscription must have belonged to the Middle Elamite period. This is the first time such an inscription has been found in the city of Bandar Abbas. Considering the long distance between the province of Hormozgan and Khuzestan province, which was the origin of Elamite culture, discovery of this inscription in Bandar Abbas indicates the expansion of Elamite civilization to a great extent. This Elamite inscription is one of the few inscriptions which have been discovered in Hormozgan province and in Sarkhoon plain so far,” said Hossein Tofighian, head of archeological team in Bandar Abbas.
According to Tofighian, the expansion of Elamite civilization to the southern parts of the Persian Gulf and Boushehr Port and the traces of this civilization in Hormozgan province had already been approved. However, this is the first time such evidence has been found in Bandar Abbas.
The size of this inscription is six in seven centimeters with the thickness of two centimeters, and is carved on a stone. Archaeologists believe that this discovered inscription dates back to 1500 BC.
“The inscription has suffered serious harm and the other parts of it should be found in order to be more certain about the information given about it. Based on the evidence, the inscription should have been written in Elamite cuneiform. It was carved on a black stone in 9 lines. Some of the words are visible but no phrase can be read easily,” said Shahrokh Razmjou, an archeologist.
Bandar Abbas is a port city on the southern coast of Iran in the Persian Gulf. It is the capital of the Hormozgan province. The city occupies a strategic position on the narrow Strait of Hormoz. Thus, Bandar Abbas serves as a major shipping point for most imports, and has a long history of trade with India. Thousands of tourists visit the city and its nearby islands such as Qeshm and Hormoz every year.

Turkey to Return Iranian Antiques

Tehran, 1 March 2006 (CHN) -- Following the previous efforts to redeem Iranian historical and cultural properties from Turkey, the authorities of Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) has prepared the draft of a memorandum of understanding to be signed by Tehran and Ankara authorities in order to protect the national interests and to return the historical and cultural relics which have been taken out of the country illegally.
"This is the first time such a memorandum of understanding has been prepared by ICHTO to redeem Iran’s historical and cultural relics which have been taken out illegally,” said Maryam Taheri, judicial expert of ICHTO in international affairs.
“After obtaining legal process we are determined to use the contents of this memorandum of understanding to prepare other ones to reach to an agreement in this respect with other countries as well,” added Taheri.
According to Taheri, this memorandum of understanding has been prepared in accordance with 1970 UNESCO Convention on the means of prohibiting and preventing the illicit import, export, and transfer of ownership of cultural property and the UNIDROIT Convention of stolen or illegally exported cultural objects adopted in Rome on June 29, 1995.
“Some expert investigations have been made so far for preparing this memorandum of understanding considering the existed files in international organizations and the conventions. Iran’s Foreign Ministry and the President Office have shown positive cooperation in this respect,” explained Taheri.
Joint cooperation among neighboring countries through signing agreements in this respect is one of the issues which Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization has recently focused on in order to strengthen the power of governments to prevent the illegal exit of historical properties from the countries.
Prior to this, some negotiations had been made between Iran and Turkey in this respect during which both countries reached an agreement to prevent the illegal entrance of smuggled historical and cultural relics to the country and to pave the way for returning those ones which have been found in either country by deferent organizations.

Western Dais Discovered at Susa’s Apadana Palace

LONDON, March 01, 2006(CAIS) -- Another dais was discovered on the western side of the Apadana Palace in Susa by chance during operations to install electrical power lines, the Persian service of CHN reported on Wednesday. Apadana had been excavated by a team of French archaeologists shortly before the 1979 revolution and many priceless artifacts discovered by the team were taken to the Louvre.
Archaeologists originally believed that the palace only had a dais in its eastern section until the new discovery. The western dais covers an area of 380 square meters. Susa was the capital of ancient Elam and also contains palaces of the Achaemenid emperors such as Darius the Great and Artaxerxes I. Apadana was Darius the Great' audience hall. The name was also given to a similar hall built by Darius at Persepolis.
“Archaeologists will begin restoration of the palace wall and other discoveries after the excavations are completed. But we need the assistance of provincial and cultural heritage officials for this,” said Mir Abedin Kaboli, the director of the archaeological team working at Apadana. “We plan to establish a museum in the area between the wall and Imam Khomeini Street in Shush (Susa), but it will be impossible before restoration of the wall,” he added.