Architecturally-rich Tepe Ashraf to be turned into open-air museum

February 21, 2021 - 21:5

TEHRAN – Tepe Ashraf, an architecturally-rich mount that has so far yielded ancient human remains and relics, will be turned into an open-air museum in the touristic city of Isfahan, central Iran.  

“Isfahan province’s department for cultural heritage, tourism and handicrafts on Saturday signed a memorandum of understanding with Isfahan Municipality to reorganize Tepe Ashraf,” the provincial tourism chief, Freydoun Allahyari, said on Saturday, CHTN reported.

The MoU touches upon future excavations, landscape architecture, debris removal, and the establishment of an open-air museum at the ancient site, the official said.

Recent archaeological excavations have brought to light some human remains and skeletons, estimated to date from the Parthian era. The ancient hill originally measured some 13 ha in area, however, only seven hectares of it has been remained being owned by the provincial administrations (some six ha has been tuned into modern urban spaces).

Iranian researchers, led by Jafari-Zand, found a new range of discoveries that offer novel clues about the history of Isfahan. Furthermore, they found an ancient burial containing the remains of a horse -- estimated to be four years old was found near a place where a giant jar-tomb was unearthed weeks earlier.

“Tepe Ashraf is the second place after the Tepe Sialk (in Isfahan province) that has yielded the discovery of such jar tombs that offers valuable clues to uncover the obscure history of pre-Islamic Isfahan,” according to Jafari-Zand.

Excavations at Tepe Ashraf initially began in 2010 when Jafari-Zand announced his team found evidence at the site suggesting that the Sassanid site had also been used during the Buyid dynasty (945–1055). “We stumbled upon a reconstructed part in the ruins of the castle, which suggests that the structure had been used during the Buyid dynasty.”

The Parthian Empire (247 BC – 224 CE), also known as the Arsacid Empire, was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran. The Parthians largely adopted the art, architecture, religious beliefs, and royal insignia of their culturally heterogeneous empire, which encompassed Persian, Hellenistic, and regional cultures. At its height, the Parthian Empire stretched from the northern reaches of the Euphrates, in what is now central-eastern Turkey, to eastern Iran.

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