Chamshir Dam: archaeologists race against time to safeguared relics 

December 24, 2022 - 17:59

TEHRAN – As a result of the water release in Charmshir Dam in southwest Iran a large area of a Sassanid-Islamic site will be completely submerged, an Iranian archaeologist has said. 

There is a high potential for answering ambiguous archeological questions of Iran about nomads from different periods in the area surrounding Chamshir Dam, Saeid Amir-Hajilu explained on Saturday. 

Although some 120 ancient sites were identified in the Chamshir Dam area during the initial speculation, rescue excavations have only been conducted at a limited number of these sites, he added. 

A team of archaeologists was given 34 days to complete rescue excavations and documentation during the last excavation project, which is insufficient, he mentioned. 

Earlier this week, Amir-Hajilu said that stone architectural structures, pieces of pottery from the Sassanid era to the Middle Islamic centuries, and stone and glass relics were identified and documented during an archaeological season on the ancient site at the basin of the newly constructed Chamshir Dam. 

It seems that the site was a seasonal winter settlement or a resort in the Sassanid period, based on the quality of the architectural structures and the surrounding landscape, he added.

Back in July, he announced that the site had been severely destroyed by local farmers.

About 70 percent of the archaeological site has been plowed and leveled by farmers, resulting in demolishing many relics buried in this area, he said.

“Archaeological excavations have yielded poor results so far due to an extensive level of destruction by farmers.”

“However, we have discovered a wide range of relics, including pottery, glass, stone beads, and stone mortars at the site,” he explained.

He also noted that architectural remnants of the Sassanids, early and middle Islamic eras have been identified at the site.

Sassanid architecture is characterized by the use of stone rubble and plaster mortar, whereas the early Islamic architecture found in this area lacks the quality of Sassanid architecture, he added.

“The architecture of the third period is very poor and lacked order and quality, and was probably developed by nomadic tribes that settled in this area during the middle Islamic centuries,” he mentioned.

As a result of the overlap of architectures from different periods, it can be said that in the early Islamic period, new walls were built on the walls of the Sassanid period without affecting the rest of the plan, he explained.

The Sassanid age is of very high importance in the history of Iran. Under Sassanids, Persian architecture, in addition to arts, experienced a general renaissance. Architecture often took grandiose proportions, such as palaces at Ctesiphon, Firuzabad, and Sarvestan, which are amongst the highlights of the ensemble.

Sassanid archaeological designs typically represent a highly efficient system of land use and strategic utilization of natural topography in the creation of the earliest cultural centers of the Sassanid civilization.


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