Ilkhanid-era tombstone discovered in central Iran  

September 28, 2021 - 18:45

TEHRAN – An ancient tombstone, estimated to date from the Ilkhanid era (1256 to 1335), has recently been discovered in one of the surrounding hills near Mahallat, central Iran.

“This magnificent tombstone was located in one of the hills northwest Mahallat on the path of an urban development project…. It was found with the guidance of a cultural heritage-loving resident,” Mahallat’s tourism chief Mehdi La’lbar said on Tuesday, CHTN reported.

“A legibility project for the inscription, and a detailed examination performed by cultural heritage experts suggest the tombstone dates back to the Ilkhanid period,” the official explained.

The object is 120 cm in length, 70 cm in width, with a thickness of about 20 cm, he stated.

"After the discovery of this historical tombstone, with the help of the municipality of Mahallat, it was transferred to the anthropological museum of Mahallat for protection, maintenance, and display.”

Earlier this month, a giant piece of rock bearing some 30 petroglyphs was discovered in Mahallat. According to experts, its motifs belong to the Sassanid period (224-651 CE) carved by engraving tools such as flint, iron, and thick hunting bones.

Ilkhanid dynasty, also spelled Il-Khanid, was a Mongol dynasty that ruled in Iran from 1256 to 1335. Il-khan is Persian for “subordinate khan.”

Hulegu, a grandson of Genghis Khan, was given the task of capturing Iran by the paramount Mongol chieftain Mongke. Hulegu set out in about 1253 with a Mongol army of about 130,000. He founded the Il-Khanid dynasty in 1256, and by 1258 he had captured Baghdad and all of Iran, according to Britannica.

The Il-Khans consolidated their position in Iran and reunited the region as a political and territorial entity after several centuries of fragmented rule by petty dynasties. During the reign of the Il-Khanid Maumud Ghuzun (reigned 1295–1304), the Il-Khans lost all contact with the remaining Mongol chieftains of China. Mahmud Ghuzun himself embraced Sunni Islam, and his reign was a period of Iranian cultural renaissance in which such scholars as Rashid al-Din flourished under his patronage.

Ghazan’s brother Oljeitu (reigned 1304–16) converted to Shia Islam in 1310. Oljeitu’s conversion gave rise to great unrest, and civil war was imminent when he died in 1316. His son and successor, Abu Sa’id (reigned 1317–35), reconverted to Sunni Islam and thus averted war.

However, during Abu Sa’id’s reign, factional disputes and internal disturbances continued and became rampant. Abu Sa’id died without leaving an heir, and with his death, the unity of the dynasty was fractured. Thereafter various Il-Khanid princes ruled portions of the dynasty’s former territory until 1353.