Bas-reliefs of four Sassanid princes unearthed at Gur: archaeologists

January 10, 2006 - 0:0
TEHRAN -- The archaeologists working at the Sassanid city of Gur have unearthed bas-reliefs that they believe depict four Sassanid princes in the Menarshahr region of the ancient site, the Persian service of CHN reported on Monday.

Located 10 kilometers from Firuzabad in Fars Province, the circle-shaped city of Gur was the first capital of the Sassanids, which was established during the reign of the founder of the Sassanid dynasty, Ardashir I (224-241 CE). Very few studies have been carried out on the city, which is one of the five most important Sassanid cities. It covers an area of 300 hectares.

“These unique bas-reliefs, which are colorful, are carved on one of the walls of a newly discovered palace at the site. This is the first time such bas-reliefs have been discovered from the Sassanid era,” the head of the archaeological team said.

“At the present time, only the heads of the princes have been unearthed, and we know nothing about their clothing or other accessories,” Leili Niakan added.

Niakan believes that there may be more bas-reliefs of Sassanid princes at the site due to the direction the bas-relief heads are pointed toward. The team is continuing the excavation of the site to unearth the entire wall and its ornamentation.

The palace was decorated with black and white stones and its columns closely resemble those of Persepolis.

Last week, the team unearthed a gate of a governmental site at Gur which is remarkably similar to the gates of Persepolis. However, the gate has no bas-relief.

Gur had four main gates: the Mehr Gate in the east, the Bahram Gate in the west, the Hormoz Gate in the north, and the Ardashir Gate in the south.

The excavations are being carried out in order to save the site, which is threatened by farmers who are cultivating the lands beneath which most of the ancient city lies buried.

Last year, experts warned cultural heritage officials of the damage being done to the ruins of Gur. They said that over 80 percent of the city, which contains significant artifacts from the Sassanid era (226–651 CE), is in danger. Over 30 percent of the upper level of the city has been flattened and its walls have been seriously damaged by farmers’ activities such as irrigation, plowing, and leveling the lands over the years.

Part of the site of the ancient city of Gur has been under wheat, barley, and corn cultivation for the past 30 years.