Webinar to discuss 50 years of archaeological survey on Burnt City

November 5, 2021 - 21:3

TEHRAN – An online seminar will be discussing archaeological projects carried out in the Burnt City, a UNESCO-registered site in southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan province, the deputy provincial tourism chief has announced. 

Organized by the province’s association of archaeologists, the session will review the archaeological activities and surveys in the World Heritage site over the past 50 years, Majid Kolanuri said on Friday. 

Iranian archaeologist Seyyed Mansour Seyyed Sajadi is scheduled to give a speech at the webinar, which will be held tomorrow at 7 p.m., the official added. 

“Organizing such webinars is aimed to analyze information on archaeology research, as well as information dissemination obtained from archaeology activities, while also reviewing recent findings in the field in the province,” he noted. 

Called “Shahr-e Sukhteh” in Persian, the Burnt City is associated with four rounds of civilization, all burnt down by catastrophic sets of fire. It is situated in Sistan-Baluchestan province, which was once a junction of Bronze-Age trade routes crossing the Iranian plateau.

Spanning an area of 280 hectares, the site had extensive commercial, political, and social relations with other important cities in the region. Founded around 3200 BC, the city was populated during four main periods up to 1800 BC, during which time there developed several distinct areas within the city. These include a monumental area, residential areas, industrial zones, and a graveyard.

Previous rounds of excavations showed that the residents of Burnt City had great skills in weaving, creating fine arts such as decorative objects, stone carving, and pottery painting. Four civilizations have lived in the city which was burnt down three times and not rebuilt after the last fire. The world’s oldest animated picture, as well as the earliest-known dice, backgammon set, caraway seeds, and artificial eyeball, are among the most significant discoveries at the site.

According to UNESCO, diversions in watercourses and climate change led to the eventual abandonment of the city in the early second millennium. The structures, burial grounds, and a large number of significant artifacts unearthed there, and their well-preserved state due to the dry desert climate, make this site a rich source of information regarding the emergence of complex societies and contacts between them in the third millennium BC.

Sistan-Baluchestan is home to several distinctive archaeological sites and natural attractions, including two UNESCO World Heritage sites, namely Shahr-e-Soukhteh (Burnt City) and Lut desert.

In ancient times, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, the Baluchistan region provided a land route to the Indus Valley and the Babylonian civilizations. The armies of Alexander the Great marched through Baluchistan in 326 BC on their way to the Hindu Kush and their return march in 325 experienced great hardships in the region’s barren wastes.


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