Sunday, April 30, 2006

7000-Year-Old Mass Grave Discovered in Bolaghi Gorge

Tehran, 30 April 2006 (CHN) -- Archaeological excavations at the Bolaghi Gorge historical site led to the discovery of the remains of three skeletons dating back to 5000 BC in a single grave in the area number 131 at the closest point to the Sivand Dam. “Existence of three skulls and disordered bones shows that it must have been a mass grave. The discovered clays in this grave indicate that the skeletons found here belong to the Bacon era (fifth to fourth millennium BC). This mass grave was discovered in area number 131 which is the closest archeological site to the Sivand Dam. Two big and two small clay dishes have also been found in this grave,” said Mojgan Seyedein, Iranian head of the Iranian-German joint archaeology team in Bolaghi Gorge.
Prior to this, the remains of a skeleton of a young girl belonging to the Bacon era was discovered in area number 73 also by the joint Iranian-German team. According to Seyedein, the only difference between the skeletons found recently with that of the girl is that the skeleton of the girl was discovered almost intact while the ones which were discovered in their latest excavations are fragmented.
“Just like the skeleton of the Sivand Dam which is believed to have been a settlement area belonging to the fifth millennium BC, the team will continue their excavations until the end of May. Up until now, the joint team of archaeologists has discovered 5 clay ovens belonging to the fifth millennium BC in area number 73. The 18-kilometer Bolaghi Gorge is located 9 kilometers from the world heritage site of Pasargadae and is considered part of its landscape. Archaeological excavations in Bolaghi Gorge started when experts learned of the hazards the newly constructed Sivand Dam poses to this historical site. However, based on an agreement between Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization and the dam authorities, the Sivand Dam has to wait for the archaeologists to finish their excavations before it floods the area.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Stolen Ancient Goblet from Jiroft Found in Yazd

Tehran, 29 April 2006 (CHN) -- A 5000-year-old stone goblet with the design of two lions, two scorpions, and four wolves carved on it which had been stolen by illegal smugglers from Jiroft was seized in the city of Bafgh in Yazd province by the police department. According to Fotouhi, the director of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Bafgh, the height of this goblet is between 20 to 24 centimeters and the lion heads on the two sides of it served as handles.
Experts believe that the discovery of this goblet and other stone artifacts can be used as a proof to Iran’s claim in international courts for the ownership of the articles which were smuggled across Iran’s borders to other countries and are currently being kept in some of the world museums.
Halil Rud historical site, located on the basin of Halil Rud River in Kerman province, once enjoyed a rich civilization. A large number of stone, clay and architectural remains have been discovered during the excavations in this historical site so far. The wide plundering of the historical and archeological relics by smugglers led to the loss of many valuable evidences. Most of these historical relics were taken outside the country illegally and are being kept in galleries outside Iran. Unfortunately, those who now possess these artifacts deny that they actually belong to Jiroft’s civilization and thus refuse to give them back to Iran. To bring these ancient relics back to the country, Iran has asked for an international court to redeem its stolen historical artifacts.
Plundering of Matot Abad cemetery by the smugglers which was an unbelievable disaster in the history of archeology attracted the attention of the public to this region for the first time. The discovered stone objects in Jiroft belonging to the first half of the third millennium BC point to the developed art of carving on stones at that time which was more developed than that of Mesopotamia.
Analytical studies on relics found in Jiroft in a research center in the United States indicate that the discovered materials in this region date back to the third millennium BC. Considering an inscription found earlier in the region, archeologists believe that the writing language of Jiroft is more ancient than that of Mesopotamia and that the script language was transferred to Mesopotamia from this region.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Discovery of a Cemetery to Unveil People’s Migration Path

Tehran, 28 April 2006 (CHN) -- Discovery of a 3200-year-old cemetery in Zarin Abad near Sari in Mazandaran province, revealed the migration path of those who were buried in Kharand historical cemetery in the nearby city of Semnan. Prior to this discovery, it was believed that cultural domain of the Kharand nomads only covered an area between Semnan plain and low heights of Caspian Sea southern shores. However, discovery of Zarin Abad cemetery in Sari which exhibits similar characteristics to that of Kharand showed that the culture of the ancient inhabitants of Kharand extends well beyond what had previously been assumed. Evidence of the existence of these ethnic groups can be traced in five northern provinces of Iran. Therefore, special studies were conducted in these provinces which include Golestan, Mazandaran, Semnan, Tehran, and Gilan to identify the path of migration of these tribes. Some similar sites to Kharand cemetery had already been discovered during previous archeological excavations in different parts of Iran’s Plateau; but the newly discovered cemetery in Zarin Abad is the most important of all which clearly shows evidence of culture of the people of Kharand miles away.
According to Abdolmotaleb Sharifi, head of excavation team in historical cemetery of Kharand, the recent excavations aimed at discovering different areas belonging to the Iron Age. He also said that the studies in Zarin Abad cemetery showed a lot of similarities between this cemetery with that of Kharand. Sharifi believes that there is a high possibility of finding more historical sites similar to that of Kharand Cemetery in other nearby provinces mentioned before.
Considering their characteristics and historical background, Zarin Abad and Kharand cemeteries are considered unique in Iran. Archeological studies in these cemeteries resulted in some strange discoveries about the cultural roots of Kharand ethnic groups.
Kharand graveyard is one of a kind cemeteries because of its untouched archeological remains and skeletons. The similarity between the artifacts found in the Kharand graves with the items excavated in Mazandaran led archeologists to believe that the answers to their questions regarding the lifestyle and migration pattern of the ancient inhabitants of Kharand can be found by expanding their excavations to cover a larger area around Semnan, where this cemetery is located. Therefore, a team of archeologists from Mazandaran, Gilan, and Semnan provinces are going to begin complementary studies in the southern coasts of Caspian Sea.

A 7000 years Old Girl Found at Bolaghi Gorge

Tehran, 26 April 2006 (CHN) -- Archaeological excavations in Bolaghi Gorge historical site led to the discovery of the skeleton of a young girl belonging to 7000 years ago, who apparently died in her sleep due to an unknown reason. “This is the first burial belonging to the Bacon Era (the fifth and fourth millennia BC) discovered so far during archaeological excavations in Bolaghi Gorge historical site. We have succeeded in unearthing the skeleton of the girl without causing any damage to it,” said Mojgan Seyedein, Iranian head of joint Iranian-German archeology team in Bolaghi Gorge.
According to Seyedein, eight stone beads have also been discovered with the skeleton of the girl. These stone beads were close to her wrist and neck. “The girl was buried while sleeping on her side and bending her legs with arms under her head like the sleep position of most children,” added Seyedein.
This skeleton was discovered in area number 73 near one of the clay ovens dating back to the Bacon era. Prior to this, the remains of a skeleton belonging to the Iron Age (some 3500 years ago) were unearthed during the archeological excavations of the joint Iranian-Italian team in area number 76 which is close to area number 73. This new discovery is one of the oldest human remains unearthed so far in the Bolaghi Gorge area.
“After cautiously removing the soil which was covering the skeleton, we transferred the skeleton delicately to the Parse-Pasargadae Research Center without causing any changes to its original position,” explained Seyedein. According to Seyedein, the skeleton of this girl is completely intact, and even after the passing of 7000 years, her teeth have remained unharmed. Considering the broken clays around the grave of the girl, archeologists believe that she should have lived during the Bacon era.
Burying the corpse in the floor of residential houses was one of the most common burial methods during the pre-historic time. Archeologists are now trying to figure out if it were also true about this 7000 year-old girl.
Archeological excavations in Bolaghi Gorge started when experts learned of the hazards the newly constructed Sivand Dam poses to this historical site. Several Iranian and foreign archeologists rushed to save this ancient site before flooding of the dam. Luckily, Iranian dam authorities accepted to postpone inauguration of the Sivand Dam until excavations finish in this area. Yet considering the enormous amount of historical relics hidden in this ancient site, it seems almost impossible to save all of them in any given time.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Ancient Graves of Hamadan Await Excavations

Tehran, 21 April 2006 (CHN) -- Scattered human bones from graves belonging to the Iron Age found in the vicinity of the Ecbatan Dam in Hamadan Province give clues to a possible graveyard behind this dam. To find this cemetery, which is estimated to date back to second millennium BC, archaeologists are to carry out excavations in the area.
According to Motarjem, besides the bone fragments found in the area, there have also been several reports on discovery of a number of pottery behind the dam which go back to the same period of time.
As regards to the dam itself and the possible hazards its flooding might pose to the ancient site which lies just behind it, Motarjem explained, “Since this dam is supposed to be inaugurated this year, we must start our excavations as soon as possible.”
“Although the permission to conduct archaeological excavations in this area was issued from Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) last February, we did not start excavations right away as we were waiting for the raining season to end since raining while the excavation is in progress would cause serious damage to the discovered historic relics and would ruin this ancient site. But now that the raining season is over, we are ready to start the process,” said Motarjem, adding that the only reason they are still waiting to begin is the 5,000 USD amount which was supposed to be given to the team of archaeologists from authorities of Hamadan’s Water Supply Organization which was never received. According to Motarjem, ICHTO has instead promised to grant a total of approximately 3,000 USD for this project.
“Considering the more appropriate weather condition and also ICHTO’s financial supports, we are going to begin excavations behind the Ecbatan Dam from next week,” concluded Motarjem.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Stolen Artifacts to Return to Ilam

Tehran, 19 April 2006 (CHN) -- Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Ilam Province has asked the Cultural Heritage Police Department to assist this organization in returning the stolen artifacts to the ancient village of Darreh Shahr.
Last month, some eleven rare objects dating back to 2800 BC were illegally unearthed from the village of Darreh Shahr in the southwestern province of Ilam including metal items such as arrows with designs, metals depicting wild goats, a golden cup, and a very unique and precious silver mask which is estimated to be from the first millennium BC. Together these items are valued at approximately 26,000 US dollars, and they could be sold outside the country for an estimated price of up to 80,000 USD.
Luckily this collection was seized in Tehran from an illegal digger on April 4th and was transferred to the Cultural Heritage Police Department to be kept under its custody. Now the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Ilam has sent a letter to this department asking for the return of the ancient relics to this province. “Since these items belong to the village of Darreh Shahr, we have asked the Cultural Heritage Police Department to send them back to Ilam province,” said Fereidoon Mohammadi, director general of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Ilam Province.“Ilam’s experts and representatives from its Cultural Heritage Police Dept. are to examine the places from which these artifacts were taken out in order to prevent such smuggling from happening again,” added Mohammadi.
There are 500 historical sites at Darreh Shahr. More security measures are needed to protect these areas; and Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) needs to know exactly from which point the illegal diggers had unearthed this collection.
According to ICHTO officials, these artifacts will be examined by the organization’s experts, renovated if needed, and then they will be sent to a museum to be displayed there.

15 Sassanid Castles Identified in Bastak

Tehran, 19 April 2006 (CHN) -- Archeologists succeeded in discovering 15 ancient castles dating back to the Sassanid period (226–650 AD) in the city of Bastak in the southern Iranian province of Hormozgan.
“The architectural styles of these castles and the material used in their constructions as well as the pottery found in the area together with other archaeological findings confirm that these monuments must have been constructed during the Sassanid era,” said Ali Asadi, head of the excavation team at the city of Bastak.
“These castles were not very big in size, and it seems that they had been built to control people’s entrance to and from the city,” added Asadi.
In addition, archaeologists were able to find four other relatively bigger castles with complex architectural style near other castles found in Bastak. “Near these castles there were residential areas which were probably residence to ordinary people who either lived or worked there. One of the major features of the discovered castles is the existence of at least one water reservoir in each of them. The number of these water reservoirs reach to three or four in some bigger castles. Since marine trade was very important during the Sassanid period, these bigger castles probably played a defensive role during that time built to protect trade routes which connected to Bastak from the Persian Gulf,” explained Asadi about the discovered castles.
During their excavations in the city of Bastak, archeologists also found several ancient sites in mountain-skirts and plains of the city which go back to the Sassanid dynasty as well and show that Bastak was a flourished city during that time. Studies on these sites also resulted in the discovery of a forgotten Sassanid city with a 40 hectare area.

Achaemenid Stone Quarry of Dashtestan on the Verge of Destruction

LONDON, 19 April 2006(CAIS) -- Looking from the outside, no one can deny the glory of the Bardak Siah Castle which was once the royal residence of the Achaemenid king of kings. Studies on the tough stones used in construction of this huge monument show that they are very similar to those found in Pouzeh Palangi Mine in Dashtestan, Bushehr Province. Unfortunately, this ancient stone quarry is now being destroyed due to the activities of a cement company built nearby.
“The Pouzeh Palangi is an ancient and unique mine which is considered more important than other ancient mines, even the Majd Abad Mine from which stones used in the construction of the palace of Persepolis were extracted in the past. This valuable archeological site is unfortunately being destroyed and nothing has been done by the authorities to protect this ancient mine,” said Mohyedin Jafari, geologist who has had close cooperation with the excavation team at Bardak Siah castle.
“We have informed the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Iran about the dangers posed to this mine and have asked them to take all the necessary measures to protect it before it is too late. However, no one from that organization has visited the Pouzeh Palangi Mine. Although we have had talks with managers of the cement company and they seemed to understand the sensitivity of the case, as long as the cultural heritage and tourism organization has not taken any action, we can not expect the company to seize its activities,” added Jafari.
Bardak Siah Castle was discovered in 1977 where remains of another palace, called Sang-e Siah (Black Stone), and many stone inscriptions and bas-reliefs have been unearthed from this castle. More than twenty other palaces and halls from the Achaemenid dynasty have been identified buried under the palm trees of Dashtestan area.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

An Intact Brick Dome Discovered in Arjan

Tehran, 15 April 2006 (CHN) -- Over the years the illegal excavations in Arjan, Khuzestan province caused some serious harm to this 7000-year-old historical site, but recently an intact brick dome belonging to the Islamic period was discovered at this raveged site.
“Arjan Research Center is situated in Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Behbahan city and there is no building for the settlement of this center in Arjan historical site. On the other hand, the cultural heritage guards protect the area only during the days. The absence of cultural heritage guards in Arjan historical site at nights provides smugglers an opportunity to go to the site every now and then to carry out illegal diggings. However this time their excavations led to the discovery of an intact brick dome belonging to the Islamic period,” said Ganji, head of Arjan’s Research Center.
Khuzestan and Kerman provinces are known as the paradise of illegal diggers. According to Ganji, since the Arjan historical site is very vast, sometimes the research center does not get informed of some illegal excavations right away.
Arjan Elamite city is located 10 kilometers north of the city of Behbahan in Khuzestan province. A grave belonging to the New Elamite era was discovered during the construction of a dam on Maroon River in fall 1982. The grave belongs to Kidin Hutran, an Elamite king who ruled during the seventh century BC. A very unique and remarkable gold ring with the design of two winged lions on the two sides of a “holly tree” was also discovered in this grave. On this ring, a phrase written in the Elamite cuneiform is evident which reads: “Kidin Hutran, Son of Cyrus”.
Arjan historical site was a flourished city during the ancient times which stayed alive until the beginning of the Islamic period. The city underwent a lot of changes and got into conflicts with Al-e Bouye dynasty. Arjan was devastated by an earthquake in 1085 AD. Those who survived from the earthquake migrated toward the south of the area and established the present city of Behbahan.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A Forgotten Sassanid City Discovered in Hormozgan

Tehran, 12 April 2006 (CHN) -- A 40-hectare forgotten city belonging to the Sassanid era has been discovered in Bastak city in the southern Iranian province of Hormozgan. This city was called Sibeh during the ancient times; however since the name of the city has not been mentioned in any historical document, archaeologists know it as the Sassanid Forgotten City.
“Archaeological excavations near a construction called “Hamame Sibeh” (Sibeh Bath) led to the discovery of a 2000-year-old city with 40-hectare area. Studies on this historical site indicate that its most ancient layer must have belonged to the Sassanid era,” said Ali Asadi, archaeologist and head of excavation team in Bastak city.
Some parts of the city have been buried under present Kukhrad Village and its cemetery. According to Asadi, the main part of the city is a water channel which transferred the drinking water of a spring from one side of Mehran River, located south of Sibeh discovered city, to the other side where the discovered city is located. The water of Mehran River is very salty; therefore the inhabitants of the city had to transfer the drinking water of a spring from one side of the river to the other side through a channel which was constructed very firmly on the basin of the river with stone and mortar.
The usage of some parts of this channel is still unknown to archaeologists. However, they believe that some parts of this channel structure might have been used as a transportation path by the inhabitants of the city.
According to Asadi, two water reservoirs have also been discovered in the area which might have been constructed during the initial settlement of human beings in the area. “Only the ceiling of the Sibeh bath has been remained almost intact and the rest of it has been destroyed and buried under mud due to the regional floods,” said Asadi.
Archaeologists believe that the name “Sibeh” was a common name during the Sassanid period. The usage of the famous Sibeh bath is not yet known since the building is almost completely buried in mud.
Prior to the discovery of the city, the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Hormozgan province was determined to register Sibeh Bath as the only remained construction of the city in the list of Iran’s National Heritage. Now with this new discovery it has been proposed to register the entire city, the bath, and the water reservoirs in the list of National Heritage.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Second Human Design Discovered in Espidej

Tehran, 11 April 2006 (CHN) -- The second design of a human being carved on a clay dish was discovered during the fifth season of archeological excavations in pre-historic cemetery of Espidej in Sistan va Balushistan province. This clay dish which depicts a naked man was unearthed in the 5000-year-old cemetery of Espidej.
“The clay on which this figure is illustrated is made of red clay and most probably was not dried completely when the craftsman carved the design of the naked man with a reed on it,” said Mohammad Heydari, archaeologists from the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Sistan va Baluchistan province and head of excavation team in Espidej.
According to Heydari, the artists who made this relic tried to create a piece of art that has a symbolic message; they tried to accomplish this goal by making small holes in some parts of the clay dish. Considering the style of the design, it seems the figure’s head must have been created by the stroke of reeds on the clay dish and then the rest of the body was etched by creating some lines.
This is the second human design discovered in Espidej historical site. The first was found during the archaeological excavations in 2003 which was the design of a dancing man and woman. The rest of the discovered articles were animal and geometric designs.
“The design of the dancing man and woman is a clay relief which is called positive design, while the design of the naked man was created by making holes in the clay which is called negative design,” explained Heydari.
Finding human designs is a rare phenomenon in archeological excavations which provides archeologist with a unique and valuable chance to discover more about the art of prehistoric and historical periods.
Espidej historical city is located 25 kilometer from Zabol in the southeastern province of Sistan va Balushistan. There are two pre-historic cemeteries in the area. During the previous excavations in one of these cemeteries, a grave of a blacksmith was unearthed which dates back to 3000 BC.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Discovery of a Giant Achaemenid Building in Bolaghi Gorge

Tehran, 10 April 2006 (CHN) -- Archaeological excavations in area no. 73 of Bolaghi Gorge historical site with the aim of finding cultural evidence from the fourth millennium BC led to the discovery of the remains of a big construction belonging to the Achaemenid era.
“Prior to this discovery, the remains of an Achaemenid architectural style was found by Iranian-Italian joint team in area no. 73 of Bolaghi Gorge, but the discovery of the remains of clay ovens belonging to the fourth millennium BC headed us to this historical site to find more evidence. Geophysical studies in this area resulted in unearthing a huge building. Three big trenches have been dug for identifying this building. Archaeological excavations indicate that this building with stone walls dates back to the Achaemenid era,” said Mojgan Seyedein, Iranian head of Iranian-German joint excavation team.
Rubble stones were used in the construction of the walls of this building. “The remains of two broken stone dishes were also discovered which are somehow similar to the present bowls. However, since we have not reached to pure soil yet, we can not determine the exact characteristics such as the size of the walls of this construction,” added Seyedein.
The remains of an Achaemenid village with 30 rural houses had already been discovered in area no. 73 of Bolaghi Gorge with a cemetery next to it. Getting closer to the time of the Sivand Dam flooding, archeological excavations in Bolaghi Gorge have been speeded up, which resulted in some considerable findings so far.
The 18-kilometer Bolaghi Gorge is located 9 kilometers from the world heritage site of Pasargadae in Fars province. Some experts believe that the site has been the location of the major ancient road of Iran, King’s Road, built by the order of Darius, the Achaemenid king. Bolaghi Gorge will sure drown after the inundation of Sivand Dam. The salvation project in Bolaghi Gorge started with the participation of 8 international and several domestic archaeological teams more than a year ago to save the archaeological relics buried in this ancient site as much as possible.

Post-Achaemenid Trench Discovered in Bolaghi Gorge

Tehran, 9 April 2006 (CHN) -- Archaeological excavations in Bolaghi Gorge led to the discovery of the remains of a long trench belonging to the post-Achaemenid era. This period was followed by the collapse of the Achaemenid dynasty in 330 BC and lasted to the Parthian era in 150 BC.
“The existence of this trench-like wall was confirmed by geophysical studies and aerial photographs reconfirmed its existence. Therefore, archeological excavations started in area no. 91 of Bolaghi Gorge during which some parts of the wall was unearthed. What has been unearthed so far is almost 3 meters and 17 centimeters in length and one meters and 60 centimeters in height. This wall was constructed from rubbles. Based on the archeological evidence this wall belong to the post-Achaemenid era, however its usage is not known yet,” said Mojgan Seyedein, Iranian head of Iran-Germany joint archaeological team in Bolaghi Gorge.
According to Seyedein, geophysical evidence and aerial photographs indicate that the wall of this trench should have been bigger in size.
Archaeological excavations started in Bolaghi Gorge, located 18 kilometers from Pasargadae historical site in Fars province, when it was announced that the inundation 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 most important 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 busy with archaeological excavations in this historical site with the cooperation of Sivand Dam authorities and Bolaghi Gorge Salvation Team.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Second Royal Inscription Discovered in Jiroft

Tehran, 8 April 2006 (CHN) -- Archaeological excavations in Kenar Sandal in Jiroft led to the discovery of the second and most complete royal inscription in the raised platform, which once again proves the existence of a civilization in Jiroft during 3rd millennium BC.
“This linear brick inscription which is the most intact inscription discovered in this area so far is 11 centimeters in length, 7 centimeter in width and its thickness is 2 centimeters. This inscription has 5 lines and each line has almost 12 characters. According to a French expert in Elamite studies, this inscription must have been a king’s order. Considering the similarity of this inscription with another one which had been discovered during the previous season of excavation, most probably it is the second king order inscription discovered in Kenar Sandal so far,” said Nader Soleimani, archaeologist and a member of excavation team in Kenar Sandal to CHN.
This inscription was found in the discovered ziggurat in the northern part of Kenar Sandal historical site. This ziggurat is one to three centuries older than the most ancient ziggurat in Mesopotamia.
Considering all these historical evidence, it is proved that Iran’s stone art was more developed than that of Mesopotamia. The art used on these stones shows Iranian skills in stone art during the ancient times. Such a delicacy can not be seen in Sumerian civilization of Mesopotamia during this period. Archaeological studies on the coals gathered during excavations in Jiroft revealed that the surface layer of this historical site dates back to 2800 BC. Besides, the geophysical studies of French experts in this historical site show the existence of 11 architectural layers beneath this ziggurat.
Archaeologists believe that Kenar Sandal enjoys a history of more than 6000 years, and the discovered evidence indicates the settlements of human beings in a region as vast as the Sumerian civilization in Mesopotamia. All of these together with the discovered inscriptions have somehow convinced archaeologists that Jiroft’s civilization is more ancient than that of Mesopotamia which is believed to be the most ancient civilization of the world.
The first inscription discovered in Jiroft studied by five linguists from the United States, France, Russia, Denmark, and Iran revealed that this Elamite script was 300 years older than that of the great civilization of Susa. Based on these new findings, archaeologist believe that Jiroft was the origin of Elamit written language in which the writing system developed for the first time and was then spread across the country and reached Susa. Now the second discovered inscription will be decoded by linguists from the United States and France to prove this claim.
The city of Jiroft is situated close to Halil Rud historical site. Halil Rud, located on the basin of Halil Rud River, was one of the first places where civilization and urbanization were established. Up until now, many stone and clay objects as well as other historical evidence belonging to the third millennium BC have been discovered on the 400-kilometer basin of Halil Rud River during the archeological excavations and also the illegal diggings by the smugglers. Archaeological excavations are still continuing in north and south shores of the Halil Rud River in order to discover different dwellings, architectural evidence, and cemeteries.
One of the most important architectural structures discovered in this area is a ziggurat belonging to the first half of the third millennium BC. Iranian and foreign archaeologists are searching to discover the original architectural form of this 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.
Archeologists strongly believe that the new discoveries in Jiroft historical site may change the trend of the civilization of the world.

Archeologists in Search of a Port Lost 700 Years Ago

Tehran, 8 April 2006 (CHN) -- Archaeological excavations are still continuing in Minab plain in order to discover the Old Hormoz Port which mysteriously disappeared in the 1300s and is believed to have been located around the present-day Hormozgan Province.
“The main aim of these excavations is to discover the original location of the Old Hormoz Port. It was a city which turned into an important international trade port after the collapse of Siraf Port. A lot of people even some contemporary historians believe that the present city of Minab is the old Hormoz. However, according to what is recorded in historical evidence such as the itinerary of Morco Polo, the famous Italian explorer, this can not be true and the old Hormoz port was different from the present Minab. Besides, Hormoz was a trade port with some places for ships to berth while the case is not true with Minab city,” said Siamak Sarlak, archaeologist and head of excavation team in Minab and Roodan.
In 1300 AD, a group of Mongols attacked the old Hormoz. Following that attack which devastated this portal city the governor of Hormoz accompanied by the residents migrated to the present city of Minab. Since that time the old Hormoz disappeared and no one knows precisely where it was located. “It is nearly 700 years since the old Hormoz port has vanished and no archaeologist has managed to find its exact place yet,” explained Sarlak.
According to Sarlak, 84 historical relics have been unearthed during the excavations in Minab port so far, some of which date back to the ancient Stone Age (some 150,000 years ago). However, there is not much information to assist archeologists to identify the origin settlements there.
“The previous excavations led to the discovery of two linear and radial styles of settlements in the area. Linear settlements are those which are situated in lines. This style of settlement goes back to the Islamic period. But radial settlements have a pattern of lines that go outward from a central point, making a circular shape. This style of settlement goes back to the pre-Islamic period. These excavations resulted in the discovery of about five or six ancient areas,” added Sarlak.
According to Sarlak, discovering the real place of the old Hormoz would be a great achievement for Iran’s history and archaeology.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Discovery of Ancient Statuettes and a Torso in Daqyanous

Tehran, 5 April 2006 (CHN) -- Archaeological excavations in Jiroft led to the discovery of some statuettes of men and women and the statue of a torso of an instrumentalist woman in the ancient public bathroom of Daqyanous city. Archeologists believe that the existence of these statuettes indicate the continuation of pre-Islamic art during the Seljuk era (900 years ago).
The Islamic city of Daqyanous, located north of the city of Jiroft in Kerman province is the only city dating back to prehistoric times which was registered as a national heritage some 70 years ago. Considering its 40-kilometer area, this city is considered one of the biggest Islamic cities, although its central part is only 12 kilometers.
“Studying the dress styles depicted on these statuettes will result in identifying the dress code of the people in Daqyanous city during the ancient times. The cloths of the men and women are very similar, consisting of trousers and coats. There is also some very beautiful ornamentation on their hats, head-covers and their trousers,” said Hamideh Choobak, head of archeological excavation team in Daqyanous city.
Considering the discovery of the statue of a torso of an instrumentalist woman in Daqyanous historical site, Choobak explained: “the statuettes indicates the continuation of the Parthian and Sassanid art during the Seljuk era since some statuettes belonging to the Elamite period have also been discovered. Later during the Parthian and Sassanid era it was common to carve images of instrumentalist women on silver dishes. Therefore, with the discovery of these statuettes we can see the influence of pre-Islamic art on that of the Seljuk period and that how they were used in the decorations of the buildings during the Seljuk era.”
Jiroft, in southeast of Iran is one of the most ancient centers of Iranian civilization comprised of archaic sites dating back to the third millennium BC up to the Islamic era. There are many historical sites in this area such as the city of Daqyanous near Halil Rud River.
Daqyanous historical city was one of the key areas in Iran through which Iran traded with eastern countries of the region. A lot of ceramic kilns and ancient layers of the prehistoric era up to the post-Islamic period can be found here. Some dishes engraved with images such as dragons, eagles, animals, temples, and idols and beads that change color when in contact with water have been discovered in Daqyanous historical site. Marco Polo, the famous Italian explorer, has described Daqyanous historical city as a magnificent city in his itinerary.
Some archeological excavations have been done by the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Iran in this historical site but only 2,000 square meters of it have been excavated so far. Archeologists believe that more than a century is needed to complete the studies here. Unfortunately some invaluable artifacts were seized during the illegal excavations by the smugglers. The latest season of excavations has been started since 17th of March and will run to 30th of April to extract more information from this historic site.

Parse-Pasargad Foundation Outlines Projects

LONDON, 05 March 2006 (CAIS) -- Repair works on the southern section, the tower on Mehr Mountain, tomb of Darius III, 100 Columns Palace and clearing the southern platform of Persepolis (Takht-e Jamshid) are priorities of Parse Pasargad Foundation in the new Iranian year to March 2007. ISNA quoted Hassan Rahsaz, an expert and counsellor of the foundation, as saying that reconstruction work at southern section, which is home to adobe structures and cuneiform inscriptions, will continue in the Iranian year.
The foundation will clear 150 to 200 meters of the Persepolis platform and direct waterways out of the platform. With the implementation of these projects, the platform in the eastern section of Mehr Mountain will be unearthed.
Rahsaz also hoped that waterways in southern section would be cleared during operations planned in the current year. Since excavated earth was dumped in southern section in 1931, no exploration has been conducted in the area.

Grave of Karim Khan’s Mother Discovered in Malayer

Tehran, 4 April 2006 (CHN) -- Archeological excavations in Malayer, a city in Hamadan province, led to the discovery of the grave of Karim Khan’s mother in Pari Tepe. “The gravestone of Karim Khan’s mother has been transferred to the public bath of the village by the inhabitants to be kept in a special condition. The villagers have taken the charge of preserving the gravestone themselves and they rarely show it to the others,” said Javad Babapiri, head of excavation team in Pari Tepe in Hamadan province.
Pari Tepe is the birth place of Karim Khan, the founder of Zand dynasty (1750–1794 AD), a Lur-Bakhtiari ethnic group in Iran. Karim Khan Zand became one of the generals of his predecessor, Nader Shah. In the chaotic aftermath of Nader Shah’s assassination in 1747 AD, Karim Khan became a major contender for power but was challenged by several adversaries; however he finally seized the power over Iran. In the course of Iranian history, Karim Khan Zand, enjoys a good reputation among the people; he did not adopt the title of Shah (the king) for himself, preferring the title Vakil-ol Roayaa (The Peasants’ Regent).
According to Babapiri, the gravestone is made of igneous rock and has a rectangular shape. 150 graves have been discovered in Pari Tepe so far. The initial studies on Zandieh graves show that the design of worry beads and seals and the prayer cloth, two-sided combs and mirrors were carved on the graves of women while the worry beads and seals, hubble-bubble pipe, dagger, gun, and sometimes the design of horses can be seen carved on the gravestones of men.
“There is a vertical stone above the grave of the lords and the headmen of the tribes on which the scene of bringing hubble-bubble pipes and tea for the lord were carved,” added Babapiri.
Discovery of 45-centimeter long clay pipes with 15-centimeter diameter in Pari Tepe attracted the attention of archaeologists to the irrigation system of this historical site. The discovered clay pipes also date back to the Zand period and they were covered by mortar and dregs of burnt bricks. Based on the studies the irrigation channel was led to the Zand Fortress.
“The studies of the irrigation system of the Zand Fortress discovered in Pari Tepe indicate that it is very similar to the irrigation system in Fin Garden in the city of Kashan. The water of the river was carried to the fortress with maximum pressure by clay pipes,” said Babapiri.
The historical site of Pari Tepe (hill) is located in Pari Village near the city of Malayer in Hamadan province which was excavated by Hakimi in 1970 for the first time.