Archaeologists uncover Sassanian funerary ruins in northwest Iran

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TEHRAN – A follow-up archaeological dig near a developing dam in northwest Iran has yielded some funerary ruins, estimated to date from the Sassanid era (224 CE–651).

Covering 230 square meters in area, the ruins have been unearthed in a salvage work in which archaeologists are racing against time before the site is submerged when Chaparabad Dam is launched, ISNA reported on Wednesday.

The site bears one of the rare burial traditions (and associated architecture) of the Sassanid epoch being identified so far, the report said.

According to experts, Sassanid architecture is characterized by a special use of stone rubble and plaster mortar, which makes it different from the early Islamic architecture found in the area.

The Sassanid era is of very high importance in the history of Iran. Under the mighty empire, Persian art and architecture 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.

In that epoch, crafts such as metalwork and gem engraving grew highly sophisticated, yet scholarship was encouraged by the state. In those years, works from both the East and West were translated into Pahlavi, the language of the Sassanians.

Moreover, rock-carved sculptures and bas-reliefs on abrupt limestone cliffs are widely deemed as characteristics and striking relics of Sassanian art, top examples of which can be traced to Bishapur, Naqsh-e Rostam and Naqsh-e Rajab in southern Iran.

In 2018, UNESCO added an ensemble of Sassanian historical cities in southern Iran — titled “Sassanid Archaeological Landscape of Fars Region”– to its World Heritage list. The ensemble comprises eight archaeological sites situated in three geographical parts of Firuzabad, Bishapur, and Sarvestan. It reflects the optimized utilization of natural topography and bears witness to the influence of Achaemenid and Parthian cultural traditions and Roman art, which later had a significant impact on the architecture and artistic styles of the Islamic era.

AFM

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