Roofing covers almost complete over ‘city of the mouthless’

August 1, 2021 - 18:27

TEHRAN – The project of installing a series of custom-made roofing covers has become almost complete to help protect Shahr-e Yeri, a unique archaeological site in northwest Iran, from further erosion.

The installation of shielding structures is part of an extensive project aimed to protect the 400-hectare archaeological site, which is sometimes referred to as the “city of the mouthless”, against harsh natural conditions.

Shahr-e Yeri is one of the earliest settlements in the country, which is situated near Pirazman village of Meshkin Shahr in northwestern Ardebil province. The archaeological site was inscribed on the list of national heritage sites in 1931.

“More than a decade has passed since the (latest) archaeological exploration conducted on Shahr-e Yeri, and unfortunately this reminiscent of an 8,000-year-old civilization has been exposed to snow and rain… however, this project of [installing] roofing covers, as well as its associated studies, were conducted in less than two years,” CHTN quoted the provincial tourism chief Nader Fallahi as saying on Saturday.

The site embraces an Iron-Age fortress, three prehistorical temples, and tens of stones on which bizarre-shaped mouthless faces have been carved.  During its heyday bodies of the dead were buried with special ceremonies and rituals in compliance with religious beliefs… however, the majority of the tombs were found empty of skeletons due to illegal excavations, according to the Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies.

More than 10,000 ancient petroglyphs and rock-carved arts have been discovered in and near Meshkin Shahr over the past couple of years. Some of the objects bear depictions of human beings in archery, cavalry in rhythmic and magical themes. There are also petroglyphs depicting mountain goats, boat anchors, shooting and scenes of war, and scenes of deer hunting in individual and collective forms.