Tuesday, January 31, 2006

8 Stolen Seals Found In the Toilet

LONDON, 31 January 2006 (CAIS) -- Eight ancient seals dating back to the 1000 BCE which had been stolen from a special display of Iran National Museum were found in museum's toilet. According to ISNA, the thieves, failed to get the seals out of the museum and they only managed to remove them from the display and were forced to hide them in the toilet.
Deputy head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO), Hamid Baqaei said that the seals were removed from their original location last month and museum officials reported the disappearance to Police. Police announced that was an inside job.
The museum spokesman said that all the seals belonged to the first millennium BC. Six seals were made of brass were unearthed from Lorestan province while the two other seals were also an amalgam of brass and silver with designs of a woman and half profile of a man respectively.

Salt Men to Go to Cambridge

Tehran, 31 January 2006 (CHN) -- To implement genetics studies and DNA analysis, biopsy samples of salt men found in Chehr-Abad Mine in Zanjan Province are going to be transferred from Oxford to the University of Cambridge.
“Following the end of the second season of excavations in the Chehr-Abad Mine, some archaeology, anthropology and in particular genetic experts were invited to analyze the outcomes of studies carried out so far on the mummies,” said Abolfazl A’li, head of the archeological excavation team in Chehr-Abad.
“After the visit of Dr. Ashrafian, the Iranian expert in genetics in Cambridge University, some biopsies were taken from all mummies to be transferred to the University of Cambridge by him,” added A’li.
According to A’li, the outcome of genetic experiments on the mummies will not be declared at a determined date. “We are trying to publish the results of the genetic studies which have been done on the salt men together with the report of the second season of excavations.”
Moreover, A’li said that the final result on the age of mummies No. 2 and 3 will be announced by Oxford University within a few days. He also stressed that based on the outcomes of the studies, the death of these mummies did not occur simultaneously and there is a period of 500 years between the dates of their deaths.
The fourth salt man which was found at an ancient salt mine in Chehr-abad, Zanjan last year has been identified as a young adult. Examination of the man’s face shows that it lacks any beard and his height is 165-70 cm. This last found salt man is the most intact of all four found so far.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Restoration of Parts of Pasargadae Staircase

Tehran, 30 January 2006 (CHN) -- Some parts of the staircase of the “Holly Area” of Pasargadae, which was destroyed by illegal diggers who were looking for a hidden treasure, have been restored. However, the reconstruction of the staircase has not been completed yet.
“Although the destruction in some parts of the staircase is so dramatic that actually nothing has been remained from the original stones, during the first phase of restoration we were able to find parts which were remained nearly intact and stuck them back to the staircase,” said Hassan Rahsaz, a stone restoration expert in Persepolis.
“To stick the discovered parts to the staircase and to strengthen them we used resins. However, after these fragments are put back to their places we must make sure that they are securely stuck to the rest of the staircase,” explained Rahsaz about the restoration of the staircase.
The damage to some parts was so great that some stones were turned into tiny fragments impossible to be restored. However, to maintain the ancient texture of this staircase, the restoration experts will not replace them with new pieces of stones.
“Whenever employing new stones is necessary in order to preserve a monument, we will do it. While the staircase of the Holly Area is strong enough to survive, according to the restoration rules, we see no need to reconstruct the staircase using new pieces of stones,” explained Rahsaz.
Pasargadae is one of the most important historical sites of Iran, located in the Fars province. This marvelous monument was constructed by the order of Cyrus the Great, the founder of Achaemenid dynasty, and has been registered in UNESCO’s List of World Heritage Sites. This historical site is as important as the Persepolis and Cyrus's castles in Pasargadae, and the destruction of the staircase can be compared to the loss of one of the pillars of Persepolis.
Staircases of the “Holly Area” of the historical site of Pasargadae lead to some raised platforms which seem to be a place of worship. This is the reason the area is being regarded as a holly area. The history of the holly area goes back to the Achaemenid period.
The “Holly Area” is not located in the vicinity of Pasargadae Complex; thus there were no security systems in the area to protect it from illegal diggers and smugglers. However, after what happened to the staircase, the historical site of “Holly Area” is now being protected by the police department to prevent such depredations in the future.

Biggest Pre-Historic Cloth Collection in Burnt City

Tehran, 30 January 2006 (CHN) -- With discovery of enormous pieces of cloths, belonging to the third millennium BC in Burnt City, this historical site has become the owner of the most complete pre-historic cloth collection in Iran. 50 kinds of these cloths have been categorized into several groups.
Archeological excavations in Burnt City resulted in discovery of different kinds of cloths in this historical site. While discovering pieces of cloths is a rare phenomenon in historical sites, Burnt City is considered an exception in this respect.
“Following the establishment of a new workshop in Burnt City during the ninth season of excavation, we discovered several cubbyholes full of cloths, clays, and evidence of clay stamps. The architectural style of these rooms indicates that they must have been used as storage areas,” said Mansour Sajadi, head of excavation team in Burnt City.
“One of the things that has been found abundantly in Burnt City is pieces of cloths in small storage rooms, never seen before in any other historic places of Iran. We still don’t know what exactly was stored in these rooms,” added Sajadi.
Burnt City, located in Sistan va Baluchistan province in southeast of Iran, is a 5000-year-old ancient site with historicl 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.
“Considering the large number of discovered cloths in Burnt City, we have a collection of pre-historic cloths belonging to the third millennium BC in this historical site. 50 kinds of cloths in this large collection have been identified by now; and we are currently on the process of making a bilingual catalogue in which more information about these cloths will be available to others who wish to learn more details about them,” explained Sajadi about the discovered cloths in Burnt City.
Sajadi believes that with categorizing the discovered cloths in Burnt City, the process of textile industry during the third millennium BC would be identified and introduced to the world.
The discovered rooms next to the “monument building” (or building no. 1) in Burnt City were full of dust, clays, cloths, evidence of clay stamps and other historical relics, which have not been identified yet. Based on the historical evidence found so far in Burnt City, these rooms must have been used during the second period of settlement in the site, which were restored and reconstructed during the later periods. The usage of these rooms changed during the third period of settlement in Burnt City and most probably they were turned into industrial workshops.
Burnt City is one of the prominent historical sites of Iran. The first archeological excavations at this site were carried out by the Italians, later on followed by the Iranian archeologists. The site has so far undergone 9 seasons of excavations, which have led to the discovery of some interesting articles, some of which are unique in the world.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Geophysics Experts in Bolaghi Gorge

Tehran, 29 January 2006 (CHN) -- Geophysical studies have started in Bolaghi Gorge, while archeologists have studied two and half hectare of no. 64 area in the cold weather of the winter. This area belonged to wine production workshops dating back to the Sassanid era.
“Once the rain and snow stopped, geophysical studies were resumed in the no. 64 area of Bolaghi Gorge in order to finish the process of excavations before the next raining season. Geophysicists continued their studies for four days in the severe cold weather under the supervision of Babak Aminpour. Two and half hectare of this historical site was studied during that time,” said Ali Asadi, head of Iranian excavation team in the no. 64 area of Bolaghi Gorge.
These studies were in the continuation of search to delimit the fragments of a possible defense wall found in the region. Such excavations have already been carried out in the northern area of the region in which residential units were observed. Asadi believes that these studies will help archeologists in choosing where exactly the trenches should be dug in the next season of excavation to obtain more comprehensive details and information about the no. 64 area.
This area has already been excavated by a joint Iranian-Polish team under the supervision of Ali Asadi from Iran and Barbara Kaim from Poland. The next season of excavation in this historical site is supposed to start again by the return of Dr. Kaim to Iran, which most probably will be during April/May 2006.
Bolaghi Gorge, at the location of the ancient King Road, is one of the historical sites of the Pasargadae. With the flooding of Sivand Dam which was recently built in Bolaghi Gorge, hundreds of historical relics unearthed so far would have drowned. With the cooperation of Sivand Dam authorities and Bolaghi Gorge salvation team, some joint teams from Iran and foreign countries have been busy with archeological excavations in the site to save the main remains of Bolaghi Gorge before inauguration of the dam.
Excavations conducted by the Iranian-Polish team in Bolaghi Gorge led to the discovery of structures used for wine production. Discovery of new unknown structures belonging to the Achaemenid and Sassanid periods in this historical site increase the cultural importance of the region day by day. Inundation of the dam before completing the archeological studies in the site would be an irrecoverable loss of precious items still hidden in the site.
A joint team of archeologists and experts from Iran and Germany is also about to start excavations at Bolaghi Gorge to discover clay workshops estimated to date back to the 5th millennium BC. Two burnt clay workshops have already been discovered in the area. It is believed that some 7000 years ago, Bolaghi Gorge was a center for producing burnt clays.

Jiroft Relics Dispel Misconceptions

LONDON, 29 January 2006 (CAIS) -- The recent discovery of a head of an admiralty-metal goat statue in a cemetery in the historical site of Jiroft, which dates back to the third millennium BC, led to further interview with the head of Jiroft archaeological excavations, reported CHN.
The director of Jiroft archeological excavations, professor Yousef Majidzadeh pointed out that one of the misconceptions among archeologists and those who believe that Mesopotamia was once a cradle of civilization, is that the artifacts found in the region date back at most to the third millennium BC. Therefore it cannot serve as a cradle of civilization since no relics dating back to the earlier periods were found in this area, he argued.
This is while the latest excavations in the lower layers of the cemetery revealed that the antiquity of the relics discovered in the region dates back to the fourth millennium BC, said Majidzadeh.
“Two types of potteries each from different periods were found in the cemetery, of which one dates back to the fourth millennium BC,“ he noted.
Initially, it was presumed that the region was a cemetery in both periods but studies on the lower layers of the cemetery reveal that the region was a residential area some six thousand years ago, he added.
After a thousand years, the sediments covered the buildings and a cemetery was built over it.
Majidzadeh further stated that geophysical operations undertaken by the French experts indicated that beneath the layer as deep as 11 meters some items may be found.
Archeologists maintain that such a depth signifies ten eras of inhabitation in this area,“ he said.
More than 10,000 wells have been dug in the area by smugglers who have plundered the valuable items in Jiroft, which has been called the ’Lost Paradise’ of archeologists worldwide.

Soapstones and Cultural Relations between Qom and Jiroft

Tehran, 28 January 2006 (CHN) -- Discovery of three ornamental soapstone beads, used in Jiroft during ancient times, in Qoli Darvish historical site in Qom, strengthened the possibility of the existence of cultural relations between the Central and Eastern Plateau of Iran during the third millennium BC.
“We discovered three ornamental soapstone beads in Qoli Darvish Tepe. The samples of this kind of stone can only be seen in Kerman province especially near Jiroft. They are very similar to those of Eastern Plateau of Iran,” said Siamak Sarlak, head of excavation team at Qoli Darvish historical site about archeological excavations in the third layers of this site belonging the third millennium BC.
According to Sarlak, since soapstone did not exist in the Central Plateau, these beads must have been brought to this region from the Eastern Plateau where they were largely in use, which indicates the existence of cultural relations between these two historical regions during the ancient times.
Prior to this, discovery of some kinds of special bowls in Qoli Darvish Tepe revealed a possible relationship between Qoli Darvish historical site in the Central Plateau and the Eastern Plateau of Iran.
“For sure Qoli Darvish Tepe was a prominent region during the third millennium BC. It was later transformed into a big city during the first millennium BC. Although we can not claim that this historical site was directly in relation with the Eastern Plateau of Iran and Jiroft, considering the evidence remained there, it can be concluded that there was somehow a cultural relation between the Central and Eastern Plateau of Iran despite the long distance that separates them,” explained Sarlak.

Friday, January 27, 2006

New Discoveries in Jiroft May Change History of Civilization

Tehran, 26 January 2006 (CHN) -- Latest archeological excavations in Jiroft, known as the hidden paradise of world archeologists, resulted in the discovery of a bronze statue depicting the head of goat which dates back to the third millennium BC. This statue was found in the historical cemetery of Jirof where recent excavations in the lower layers of this cemetery revealed that the history of the Halil Rud region dates back to the fourth millennium BC, a time that goes well beyond the age of civilization in Mesopotamia.
“One of the reasons the archeologists and historians give for Mesopotamia to be the cradle of civilization is that the most ancient historical evidence and relics which have been discovered in Jiroft so far date back to the third millennium BC or nearer, and therefore they argue that this region could not have been the place where civilization began. However, some cultural evidence and ancient artifacts belonging to the fourth millennium BC were traced while digging a trench beneath the Matot Abad cemetery which gave proof to the fact that the history of this region goes back to the sixth millennium BC. Aside from these ancient articles found so far, archeologists were able to unearth a bronze statue of the head of a goat from one of the graves of Jiroft cemetery which raised new questions about the history of this region and whether or not the civilization that lived here is older than that of Mesopotamia,” said Yousof Majidzadeh, head of excavation team in Jiroft.
“Two different kinds of clays were discovered in this cemetery, some belong to third millennium BC while the others go back to the fourth millennium BC. It was supposed that this area was a cemetery in both periods, but the trenches dug under the cemetery indicate that the region was a residential area during the sixth millennium BC. After this area was covered by different sediments and layers little by little over the period of 1000 years, the cemetery was established on the remains of the previous settlement area. The team of archeologists who are working in this area at the present is determined to continue the excavations to study more about the lower layers,” added Majidzadeh.
According to Majidzadeh, geophysical operations by French experts in the region indicate the existence at least 10 historical and archaeological periods in the region belonging to different civilizations who lived in this area during different periods of time in history. According to the French experts who studied this area, the evidence remained from these civilizations may be traced up to 11 meters under the ground.
“What is obvious is that the evidence of Tal-i-Iblis culture in Bardsir can be traced in all parts of the region. Tal-i-Iblis culture, known as Ali Abad period (fourth millennium BC) was revealed by Joseph R. Caldwell, American archaeologist,” said Majidzadeh.
Plunder of Matot Abad cemetery by the smugglers, which caused an unbelievable disaster in the history of archaeology, attracted the attention of public opinion to this region. Only from one of the cemeteries 30 stone dishes were plundered. Some metal and clay dishes as well as some gold articles were plundered by smugglers as well.
The excavations in the lower layers of Jiroft’s cemetery indicate that the history this region goes back to the fourth millennium BC. This further provided the proof to the claim that Jiroft was the cradle of civilization long before civilization first appeared in Mesopotamia, although this claim has not yet been approved by world organizations.
Analytical studies on relics found in Jirof 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 spread to Mesopotamia from this region.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

An Ancient Catacomb Discovered in Gilan

Tehran, 25 January 2006 (CHN) -- The first catacomb belonging to the Islamic era, which was used as a safekeeping place for the dead, was discovered in Manjil during the excavations in the east bank of Sefidrud River in Gilan province. Most probably this catacomb dates back to the Ilkhanid era.
Since the Parthian era, catacombs were built most often on the ways of caravans in Iran. These catacombs were used as a place for temporarily keeping of the dead. Whenever one of the members of a caravan died during the trip, his or her body would be “kept as a trust” in these catacombs and on their way back the caravan would pick it up to bury the body in a cemetery. The chilly weather of the catacombs, which were built inside the mountains, prevented the decay of the corpse.
“This catacomb was discovered during excavations in the east bank of Sefidrud River which started recently to determine the route of Qazvin-Anzali railway. Some parts of this catacomb, which must have belonged to the Ilkhanid era, had already been unearthed during the illegal excavations, and the rest of it was dug up by the excavation team currently active on the site,” said Vali Jahani, an archeologist from the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Gilan province.
“Big 3x1 or 3x1.5 meter stones, stuck together by mortar, were used in the construction of this catacomb. How such huge pieces of stones were dug from the mountain and transferred to this area is still a mystery to us. Today large capacity cranes are needed to lift such big stones. Most probably during the ancient times the stones were transferred to this area by several strong men,” added Jahani.
The rectangular-shaped catacomb discovered in Manjil has one entrance. During the Parthian era, catacombs were called “cubbyhole graves”. Today a large number of cubbyhole graves can be seen in different parts of Iran.
Archeologists believe that there might still be more catacombs on the basin of Sefidrud River and are conducting more archeological excavations in order to find them.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Discovery of 400,000-year-old Stone Tools in Gilan

Tehran, 24 January 2006 (CHN) -- The initial excavations in the west bank of Sefidrud River in Gilan province resulted in the discovery of some man-made stone tools belonging to the Paleolithic epoch and the civilization that existed there 400,000 years ago.
Gilan province, known as “paradise of human beings” for its green nature and dazzling beauty, has been a settlement area for over a hundred thousand years. Recent discoveries in the caves and also in Rostam Abad area in Gilan province are all proof of this claim. Latest scientific studies and fieldworks in the vicinity of Sefidrud River reveal the existence of a rich culture in this region some hundred thousand years ago.
“The discoveries in Gang-Par historical site near Rostam Abad in 2002 were followed by more excavations and studies in Gilan Province. Some stone tools belonging to the Ashuli civilization were discovered during these excavations. The most ancient Ashuli cultural evidences were discovered in east of Africa and Palestine which all date back to some one million to one and half million years ago,” said Fereydoun Biglari, curator of Paleolithic Department of Iran’s National Museum.
“Discovery of Ashuli stone instruments in Gilan province indicate that the Ashulies brought in this industry with themselves when they migrated to West Asia and north of Iran from Africa, around one and half to two million years ago,” added Biglari.
According to Biglari, the plain of Rostam Abad had a higher altitude in the ancient times, but that water stream gradually washed away the basins of Sefidrud River and moved the rocks and sediments down the river. This caused the river to widen and cut down deeper into the lower rocky layers. Geological studies on these layers indicate that they go back to the Ice Age, some two million years to 10,000 years ago. The newly found stone instruments were discovered in one of these layers left by the stream.
“Considering that the bed of the river corresponds to the most recent period in its history, we are performing our studies on the upper layers of Sefidrud River. It is supposed that with further scientific studies on the upper layers of the river, more ancient stone tools belonging to the people of the Paleolithic era would be discovered in Gilan province,” explained Biglari.
Basins of rivers had always been centers of human settlements in the course of history. Sefidrud, the most important river of Gilan, divided the province into two west and east sections. Due to this division, various cultures were formed on each side of the river in present-day Gilan province.
Ashuli 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 Ashuli tribe. Archeologists believe that the discovered stone tools in the Sefidrud River bank belong to some 400,000 years ago during the time this tribe was living there.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Pre-Achaemenid Cuneiform Inscription Discovered in Qom

Tehran, 23 January 2006 (CHN) -- Discovery of repeated lines such as cuneiform and other inscription signs on a cylinder in Qoli Darvish historical site near the city if Qom strengthened the possibility of the existence of written language in this historical site during the first millennium BC.
“A 25-centimeter carved stone cylinder was discovered during the third season of excavations in the settlement layers of the Iron Age (3000 years ago) in Qoli Darvish historical site, on which some lines which look like cuneiform writing have been incised. There are some signs on the lower part of this cylinder which might be another form of inscription,” said Siamak Sarlak, head of excavation team in Qoli Darvish historical site.
Zigzag geometrical lines are carved on the upper part and a cuneiform inscription can be seen on the lower part of this cylinder.
“The evidence indicates that a particular word has been repeated on this inscription. Such a phenomenon can be seen in Tchogha Zanbil inscription on which a special name was repeated on all parts of the inscription,” explained Sarlak.
According to Sarlak, the stone cylinder has been sent to Iran’s Archeological Research Center so that the inscription may be studied in detail.
If this inscription belongs to the Iron Age, this would be the first time that such a written script has been discovered in the Central Plateau of Iran. Prior to this, archeological excavations in the residential layers of the third millennium BC in Qoli Darvish Tepe led to the discovery of a 5000-year-old jar burial of a child at the bottom of a room belonging to the Bronze Age (2200-1200 BC).
Qoli Darvish historical tepe (hill) is located on the way of Qom-Jamkaran highway. The construction of this highway resulted in the destruction of more than 40 hectare of the 50 hectare area of Qoli Darvish Tepe; and the height of the hill was reduced to 6 meters while once it was more than 30 meters high. However, this historical hill reveals some of the mysteries of the pre-Achaemenid era civilization who were settled in the Central Plateau of Iran.
Unfortunately, all the residential layers of the Medes, Achaemenid, Parthian, Sassanid, and Islamic periods have been destroyed in this historical site. If this historical site had remained intact, some comprehensive information could have been extracted from the first inhabitants of Qom.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Discovery of a Staircase in Babak Fortress ( Eternal Fortress)

Tehran, 22 January 2006 (CHN) -- For the first time, a staircase and a double-floor building were discovered during archeological excavations in Babak fortress near Tabriz city.
Babak fortress is one of the most important historical sites of Iran, located in a mountainous region in Eest Azarbaijan province. This fortress was built during the Sassanid era; however it is famous for the 23 years residence and resistance of Babak Khoramdin who fought against the Arab rulers of the Caliphate of Baghdad. At last, Babak was betrayed and murdered in this castle.
Following the recent excavations in Babak fortress and removing of the debris, some important parts of the fortress, which had previously been unknown, were unearthed. “Archeological excavations in Babak Fortress have started since 2002, and some parts of this fortress have been unearthed so far. The most important discovery has recently been made in this historical site which was finding of a staircase with a double-floor building dating back to the beginning of Islamic period,” said Mohammad Pashayi, head of excavation team in Babak Fortress.
According to Pashayi, the main activities of the excavation team was excavating and restoring the western part of the main staircase of the fortress which dates back to the Islamic period. Due to the large number of visitors, this part of the staircase was not in a good condition and if nothing had been done to preserve it, it would have suffered a real harm in the future.
“A 4.5x 5.5 meter room with two windows, which must have been a guard room, was discovered during the latest excavations in this historical site. There is a 35-meter corridor beside the room. This corridor leads to two towers which have already been unearthed. The discovered staircase and the two-floor building at the back of the corridor and towers all belong to the beginning of the Islam era,” added Pashayi.
Since removing the debris has not been finished in the two-floor building, the usage of this discovered staircase may not be determined yet. Considering that the staircase leads to the two-floor building with a steep slope, experts believe that this building might have been a reservoir or food storage.
“Stonework with mortar was used in the construction of this double-floor building, a feature not found in the construction of the staircase. Using stones and mortars in the construction of buildings was an architectural style common during the Sassanid era; therefore, we can not say for sure that the staircase and the building were constructed during the same historical period,” explained Pashayi.
The discovered staircase is walled from both sides but experts believe that it should not have been covered from the beginning.
Every year in early July, tens of thousands of Iranians gather at Babak Fortress in the town of Kelidar, in East Azarbaijan province to commemorate the braveries of Babak Khoramdin, Iran’s national hero who fought in this site for many years.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

New Architectural Style Discovered in Burnt City

Tehran, 21 January 2006 (CHN) -- A new architectural style was discovered during the archeological excavations in the residential area of Burnt City which had never been seen before in this historical site. This newly discovered style is somehow similar to the common architectural style of the mid-Islamic era.
The ninth season of excavations finished in the Burnet City, while during this season, in addition to the cemetery, the residential areas were excavated as well. Archeologists were faced with new architectural styles in this 5000-year-old historical site during this season of excavation.
“Archeological excavations in workshop no. 6, which is in the remains of a building, resulted in the discovery of a new architectural style in Burnt City, in which wood was used in different architectural layers,” said Mansour Sajadi, head of excavations team in Burnt City.
A 90-centimeter-wall has been discovered, on the surface of which some horizontal woods were used. Some mortar and mud were used in the construction of the wall to cover the wood chips,” explained Sajadi.
Prior to this, some 100-120 centimeter walls had been discovered in Burnt City's historical site. However, in none of them traces of wood chips were found. This is the first time such architectural style has been discovered in Burnt City historical site; nevertheless it is similar to architectural style of the mid-Islamic period. Such architectural style can also be seen in the construction of the Jame Mosque in Masouleh village in Gilan province, which was intended to strengthen the building against earthquakes.
In this architectural style which has been abandoned since Safavid era, the woods used in the construction of the building prevent transforming of the earthquake vibrations to other layers of the wall and therefore save the construction from collapsing.
“We are still not sure about the reason for using this architectural style in Burnt City. If it was meant to strengthen the buildings against earthquake, this architectural style must have been used in other constructions of Burnt City as well, while such method has not even been seen in the Burnt City's castle. Moreover, the Italian archeological team, who had carried out a lot of excavations in this historical site, would have at least given some report in this respect if such architectural style had been observed before,” said Sajadi.
Burnt City (Shahr-e Sukhteh), located in Sistan va Baluchistan province in southeast of Iran, is a 5000 year old ancient site with historical graveyards and architectural structures. The city was once 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 first archeological excavations at this site were carried out by the Italians, later on followed by the Iranians. The site has so far undergone 9 seasons of excavations, which have led to the discovery of some interesting artifacts such as the oldest backgammon of the world, the first animated feature of the world, and some edible seeds such as caraway, wheat, barley, grape, and garlic.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Kadusi Governmental Citadel Discovered in Gilan

Tehran, 18 January 2006 (CHN) -- Archeological studies in Kaluraz Tepe in Gilan province indicated that this historical site was once the governmental citadel of Kadusi people. Being used as a border guard, it prohibited the invasion of Amarta and Marlik people to this region. The first season of archeological excavations in Kaluraz Tepe led to the discovery of the first architectural plan belonging to the Iron Age (800-550BC). There is a construction with big halls and several rooms in this historical site. Kaluraz historical hill, located in Rostam Abad, is the most ancient historical site of Gilan province. This historical site was once excavated by Iranian archeologists in the 1960s, but since it belonged to an official authority of the previous regime, archeological excavations had stopped until recently. Finally, last year digging boring pits and stratigraphy works started on this site.
“The discoveries during the first season of excavation in Kaluraz Tepe indicate that this hill could not have been the residence of ordinary people or even the aristocrats of the society. The 2-meter shell-keep surrounding the hill and the halls as well as the intricate rooms with brick floors all indicate that this complex should have been the residence of prominent social classes. Considering these evidences and that this historical site was a frontier area during Kadusi era, prove the fact that Kaluraz was a governmental citadel which also played a defense role,” says Mohammad Reza Khalatbari, director of the pre-historic unit of the Archeological Research Center and head of Kaluraz excavation team.
According to Khalatbari, Sefidrud River has always played an important role in shaping the culture and civilization in Gilan province. “During the middle ages, Sefidrud River divided Gilan province into two sections of biapas and biapish regions, with Lahijan and Fooman being their capital cities. Prior to this and during the first millennium BC, the river had separated Gilan province into two parts. The eastern section was captured by Amarta people, and the western section by Kadusi people. The latter was located at the present-day Talesh region,” added Khalatbari.
Khalatbari believes that Kaluraz and also the Pila fortress located in Marlik historical site in west and east of Sefidrud River were two governmental citadels which were established on the frontier zone of this river to protect Kadusi and Amarta borders.
Marlik Tepe, which is considered as the first cemetery of the inhabitants of Pila fortress, is one of the most important historical sites of Iran which was excavated by Ezatollah Negahban in 1961. Marlik bowl is one of the most valuable Iranian historical relics found in the region.
Archeologists believe that most probably Kadusi and Amarta people had got into conflicts and the governmental citadels were constructed on the Sefidrud River’s frontier zone to protect the borders between these two tribes.
Most parts of Kaluraz architectural construction is made of earthen and stones which have also been used in some parts including the shell-keeps.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Two 400-year-old Stone Inscriptions Discovered in Tehran

Tehran, 17 January 2006 (CHN) -- Two historical stone inscriptions have been accidentally discovered in a park in Takhti St. of Tehran. Archeologists of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of the province of Tehran believe that these inscriptions belong to 400 years ago.
“Following the accidental discovery of these two stone inscriptions by the workers of Tehran Municipality, the case was reported to the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Tehran province to be studied by this organization,” said Mohammad Reza Miraftabi, technical deputy of Tehran’s municipality in district no.12, to CHN correspondent.
According to Miraftabi, the experts of cultural heritage confirm that these two stone inscriptions are historical. However, since some parts of the carvings have been destroyed, they are not easily readable and more studies are needed to clarify the exact identities of these inscriptions.

A 3000-year-old Architectural Plan Discovered in Gilan

Tehran, 17 January 2006 (CHN) -- The first season of archeological excavations in Kaluraz Tepe in Gilan province led to the discovery of the first architectural plan belonging to the Iron Age (800-550 BC). There is a construction with big halls and several rooms in this historical site. Kaluraz Tepe is one of the most important historical sites in Gilan in which for the first time an architectural plan dating back to the first millennium BC was discovered. This historical site is located in Rostam Abad and recently archeologists have succeeded to find the architectural remains dates back to the Parthian era.
“During this season of excavation we succeeded in discovering architectural remains belonging to the Parthian era, and some intricate rooms. We also found out that the hill is surrounded by a 2-meter-wide shell keep,” said Mohammad Reza Khalatbari, director of the pre-historic unit of the Archeological Research Center and head of Kaluraz excavation team.
“Architectural units, with halls in different sizes, are situated near the shell keep of the complex. The heater system, located at the central part of the hall, consisted of some brick bake ovens (tanoors) underneath the floor, the walls of which have been whitened by the heat of fire. Some jars have been discovered near these ovens. Archeologists believe that they might have been used in Korsies,” added Khalatbari.
Some living rooms with 38x38x10 brick floors have been found in these halls. In some other architectural areas, baking ovens and garbage cans have also been discovered.
According to Khalatbari, some dishes which have remained almost intact which belong to the second half of the first millennium BC have been discovered under the floors of the rooms. The discovered architectural areas are mostly clays while stones have been used in the construction of some parts as well. “This is the first architectural plan which has been discovered from the inhabitants of the first millennium BC in Gilan province, which is a turning point in Gilans’s archeological studies,” explained Khalatbari.
Archeological evidence and the remains of the enormous clays under the floors of the rooms indicate that this historical site was a residential area for a period of time at the end of the Parthian era. Moreover, stones were added to this construction during this period which resulted in some changes in the previous earthen architectural style of Kaluraz Hill.

Monday, January 16, 2006

4,000-year-old Residential Area Discovered near Persepolis

Tehran, 16 January 2006 (CHN) -- Archeological diggings in southern Barzan in south of Persepolis which originally started with the aim of finding early Achaemenid clays, resulted in the discovery of a residence area which dates back to the second millennium BC. How the Achaemenid dynasty came to power and took the control within its domain is still a matter of controversy. Since archeologists were unable to find any clay relics from the beginning of the Achaemenid era, the time of Cyrus and Cambyses reigns has remained a mystery.
“The famous Timuran clay, identified and categorized by an archeologist named Wanderburg, is one of the most important clays found in the area. This clay relic dates back to the Elamite to the Parthian eras and was discovered in Marvdasht near Persepolis historical site. Archeologists believe that this kind of clay was made by the local people in second millennium BC. After that, Timuran clays were not produced any longer until the Achaemenids came to power,” said Kamyar Abdi, Iranian archeologist in the United States and head of the excavation team in southern Barzan.
“Based on historical evidence, Achaemenid dynasty came to power around 550 BC in Fars, but there is no evidence on the way in which they come to power. We do not know what happened in the region between the years 800 to 550 BC which led to the stopping of the production of the prominent clay of the Elamite era and a historical standstill took place until the empowerment of the Achaemenid dynasty in the region,” added Abdi.
Based on archeological excavations in Tal e Timuran, Wanderburg studied the Timuran clays concluded that they belong to two distinct groups, namely Timuran A and Timuran B. The clays of the Elamite era are categorized in the Timuran A, and the characteristics of the clays unearthed in Central Plateau and places such as Gudin Tepe and Hasan Lu belong to the Timuran B group. Wanderburg carried out some excavations in the north of Persepolis in Jalabad area and discovered some clays there which were similar to those of the Sialk cemetery.
Considering Wanderburg’s discoveries, Abdi explained, “We believe that Timuran A clay was the prominent clay made during the Elamite era in the region. Later, between the years 800 and 550 BC, some kind of clay was imported to the area from the Central Plateau which caused changes in the forms of these clays and ultimately raised new questions. Something that has still remained a mystery is the shape of the clays of the beginning of Achaemenid era.”
According to Abdi, the discovered clays in Pasargadae historical site belong to the end of the Achaemenid dynasty, which means the time of Alexander’s attack to Persepolis, and have no relations to Cyrus’ era.
“Between the years 1967 and 1973, another archeologist, Akbar Tajvidi, unearthed some dwellings in southern Barzan. In his report Tajvidi says that after passing the sedimentary layers he was faced with a residential area in which a kind of clay was discovered which was different with those of the Achaemenid era. However, he did not give any further explanations about this clay in his report, and thus we do not have any information about the way this clay looked like. Therefore, we concluded that the sedimentary layers were the foundations of the Achaemenid castle and that the clay he had found most probably belonged to the Cyrus and Cambyses eras,” explained Abdi.
With this conception, the archeologists started excavations in southern Barzan by digging a 3 by 2 meter trench to study the area.
“The sedimentary layers that Tajvidi mentioned in his report were in fact natural sediments formed over the course of a thousand years. After removing these layers we faced the “Golbeie” clays which belong to 4000 years ago, contrary to what we had previously anticipated. Most probably these clays belong to some settlements from this period near Persepolis which have remained unknown so far. Although we discovered these clays, since they were not what we were looking for, we are going to continue our excavations to discover some clays belonging to the beginning of the Achaemenid era,” explained Abdi about the result of the excavations.
According to the historical evidence, there used to be a city called Matezish near Persepolis historical site, from which nothing has remained. This city was a residential area during the Elamite and maybe Achaemenid eras. It is not clear yet what happened to this city after the Elamite period. However, for sure it existed during the ancient times and it might have been in located in the present-day Barzan or Firuzi cities or the perhaps the west of Persepolis.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Discovery of Hundreds of Ancient Bronze Relics in Lorestan

Tehran, 15 January 2006 (CHN) -- Discovery of more than one hundred bronze relics belonging to some 3000 years ago, has puzzled archeologists who were faced with such a large number of bronze relics all in one area. These articles which were accumulated in one particular area have been unearthed in Sangtarashan near Khoram Abad city.Archeological excavations in Sangtarashan historical site which started in order to stop the illegal diggings and save the area resulted in the discovery of one of the most stunning and unique historical sites of Iran. “More than 50 holes have been dug illegally in the one hectare area of this historical site which indicates that the smugglers were not so successful in finding many things.
Not only were these illegal diggers unable to find anything in these holes, they even sometimes left their mattocks broken because of the hard land. After settling in Sangtarashan historical site, we dug some 10x10 meters trenches including some holes which had already been partially dug by illegal diggers which led to the discovery of more than 100 bronze articles piled in a mess in one of these holes,” said Mehrdad Malekzadeh, head of Sangtarashan excavation team.“These large numbers of articles were discovered within three days which is unprecedented in the history of Iran’s archeological excavations. Some tiny buttons, arrow heads, kashkools and edged two axes, ornamental and military blades and cutlasses, and some delicate teapots have been fond among these items,” added Malekzadeh.
While only 15 of these unique bronze teapots have been discovered in all historical sites of Iran, 18 of such teapots which were unique during the Iron Age were discovered in Sangtarashan historical site alone.
Since archeologists have found neither any grave nor any architectural evidence in Sangtarashan historical site, they believe that the area was once a sacred place and these articles were taken there as gifts to this holy place. About other archeological discoveries, Malekzadeh said, “There are some blades and cutlasses among these relics which are not more than 10 centimeters long.
These military instruments are absolutely ornamental and it seems that they were oblations.”Sangtarashan historical site is located 52 kilometer from Khoram Abad on the height of “80 Pahlo” and “Taf” mountains, and is considered an important archeology site of the country.

Arjan Historical Site of Over 6500 Years

LONDON, 15 January 2006 (CAIS) -- Discovery of new clay relics in Homayoun Tepe which belong to Susian and Lapouei periods indicate that the history of Arjan historical site goes back to 6500 years ago.Arjan Elamite city is located 10 kilometers north of the city of Behbahan in Khuzestan province.“In this season of excavations, the most important accomplishment of the archeology team that is working in this site was the discovery of some relics which revealed that settlement in Arjan historical site goes back to the fifth millennium BC,” said Kamyar Abdi, head of archeological team of Arjan historical site.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 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”.
“Some clay relics belonging to the New Susan era (about 4500 years BC) and the Lapoyi era were found in Homayoon Tepe. In addition, remains of a kind of special clay from the beginning of the writing period (around 3500 BC) were discovered during the 1970s in Tal Sabz (a pre-historical site five kilometers east of Arjan). All of these discoveries indicate to a continuous settlement in Behbahan plain for some 6500 years,” explained Abdi.“Arjan site consisted of two old and new areas. Due to the construction activities of Shohada Dam on Maroon River, most parts of the old area which is located on the basin of this river were destroyed. However, studies on this historical site indicate that the old region was an active settlement during the Elamite period (about 2000 BC) and Achaemenid era (about 300 BC). According to historical documents, the new area was established a few kilometers from the old area by the order of Qobad I, Sassanid king (499-531 AD),” added Abdi.
Arjan historical site was a flourished city during the ancient times which stayed alive until the beginning of the Islamic period, based on the historical evidence, it was a very affluent city which covered a vast area that extended to the southern mountain-skirts of Zagros. 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 today’s Behbahan city.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Jiroft Inscription, Oldest Evidence of Written Language

Tehran, 12 January 2006 (CHN) -- Studies by five linguists from the United States, France, Russia, Denmark, and Iran on a discovered inscription in Jiroft indicate that this Elamit script is 300 years older than that of the great civilization of Susa. Archeologists believe that Jiroft was the origin of Elamit written language in which the writing system developed first and was then spread across the country and reached Susa. The discovered inscription of Jiroft is the most ancient written script found so far.The city of Jiroft is situated close to Halil Rud historical site. Halil Rud, located on the basin of Halil Rood River enjoyed a rich civilization. Many stone and clay objects as well as other historical evidence belonging to the third millennium BC have been discovered during the archeological excavations and also the illegal diggings by the smugglers in this area. 120 historical sites, including that of Jiroft, have been identified in the basin of the 400 kilometer length of Halil Rud River.
According to archeological studies, the history of Halil Rud area goes back to some 3000 years ago. The discovered stone dishes in the area belonging to the first half of the third millennium BC point to the developed art of carving on stones at that time.“Five Elamit professional linguists from different countries have studied the brick inscription discovered in Jiroft. According to the studies, they have concluded that this discovered inscription is 300 years older than that found in Susa; and most probably the written language went to Susa from this region. However, more studies are still needed to give a final approval to this thesis,” said Yousof Majid Zadeh, head of archeological excavation team in Jiroft. “This inscription was discovered in a palace. Although it is not yet known which Elamit king this inscription belongs to, it is definitely an Elamit inscription. More studies are needed to determine the exact time in which it was inscribed, but most probably it is the most ancient written language. Further excavations are being carried out to find the rest of the inscription. However, what is obvious about this discovered inscription is that it is older than the Elamit inscription of Susa,” explained Majidzadeh. The inscription was carved on a brick, and only the lower left corner of it has been remained. Although only two lines with a few words are remained intact on this inscription, there is no doubt that it is an Elamit written script.
The most famous Elamit script is the Susinak inscription which was unearthed during archeological excavations in Susa. This inscription is most probably left from the reign of Susinak, Elamite king who ruled during the second half of the first millennium BC. .Elamit language is only partly understood by scholars. It had no relationship to Sumerian, Semitic or Indo-European languages, and there are no modern descendants of it.
After 3000 BC the Elamits developed a semi-pictographic writing system called Proto-Elamit. Later the cuneiform script was introduced. Archeological excavations are being carried out in north and south shores of the Halil Rud River in order to discover different dwellings and cemeteries in the region. The wide plundering of the historical and archeological relics by the smugglers led to the lost of a lot of these invaluable evidences. Most of these historical relics were taken out of the country. Although Iran is trying to redeem them, some of those who have collected these relics refuse to give them back claiming that these articles were not made in Iran and thus don’t belong to this country. Iranian archeologists are trying to discover more evidence to prove Iran’s possession over these historical objects.

Largest Container Of Ancient Persia Found in Bolaghi Gorge

Archaeologists working in Bolaghi Gorge have discovered a claycontainer, weighing 120 kilograms, which they believe is the largest container of all times of Ancient Persia.Bolaghi Gorge is located near the world heritage site of Pasargadae and is believed to have been the location of the King Road, the most important ancient road of Persia. It will be going under water when the newly constructed dam of Sivand is flooded by next year, and therefore,archaeologists from Iran and some foreign countries including France,Germany, and Poland are right now busy with some salvation projectsthere.