Relics, remains of Parthian building discovered in northwest Iran

July 18, 2022 - 18:45

TEHRAN – Archaeologists have discovered some relics and the ruins of an ancient building in northwest Iran, which is believed to date from the Parthian era (247 BC – 224 CE).

The findings came to light in Qareh Hasanlu, an archaeological site that is situated in Namin county of Ardabil province, IRNA reported on Sunday.

“Four burials and a number of objects have been unearthed at the site,” Ardabil’s tourism chief Nader Fallahi said.  

The ritual building was discovered during a conservation project conducted under the leadership of archaeologist Fariborz Tahmasbi, Fallahi said.

The relics will be restored first before being surrendered to the UNESCO-registered Sheikh Safi al-Din Khanegah and Shrine Ensemble, the official added.

The project was launched to safeguard and protect the historical site against further destruction on the one hand, and to identify comprehensive information on possible cultural layers, particularly Iron Age settlements, on the other hand.

Establishing a primary residence at Ctesiphon, on the Tigris River in southern Mesopotamia, Parthian kings ruled for nearly half a millennium and influenced politics from Asia Minor to northern India, until they were overthrown by Sasanian armies from southwest Iran in the early third century CE. Parthian wealth obtained through lucrative trade networks resulted in substantial patronage of the arts, in particular, relief sculpture, statuary (large and small scale), architectural sculpture, metalwork, jewelry, and ceramics; coins with images of Parthian rulers form another important category of objects.

Iron Age is the final technological and cultural stage in the Stone–Bronze–Iron Age sequence. The date of the full Iron Age, in which this metal, for the most part, replaced bronze in implements and weapons, varied geographically, beginning in the Middle East and southeastern Europe about 1200 BC but in China not until about 600 BC, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

In Iran, the term Iron Age is employed to identify a cultural change that occurred centuries earlier than the time accorded its use elsewhere in the Near East, and not to acknowledge the introduction of new metal technology.

As mentioned by Encyclopedia Iranica, Iron artifacts were unknown in Iran until the 9th century BC (the cultural period labeled Iron Age II), centuries after the phase designated as Iron Age I came into existence.

Iranian sites with levels identified as dating to the Iron Age were first excavated in western Iran at Sialk, and later in northwestern Iran around the west, east, and south shores of Lake Urmia, close to the Zagros mountains bordering Mesopotamia and Anatolia. These sites remain to date the best-documented full-range Iron Age sites in western Iran.

Sprawling on a high, windswept plateau, Ardabil is well-known for having lush natural beauties, hospitable people, and its silk and carpet trade tradition. It is also home to the UNESCO-registered Sheikh Safi al-Din Khanegah and Shrine Ensemble. The province is freezing in winter and mild in summer, attracting thousands every year. The capital city of Ardebil is usually recorded as one of the coldest cities in the country in winter.


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