March 15, 1999
ILAM An ancient area dating back to the old stone age has been discovered in
Mehran plain in western Iran, Director of Cultural Heritage Department of Ilam
Province announced Saturday. Arash Lashkari said that the area which is located
north of the border city of Mehran in Ilam Province, is among ancient
pre-history regions. He said that the area was discovered during the second
phase of the archeological excavations conducted to identify pre-history regions
in western Iran. The first phase was launched in 1996 by the late archeologist
Mohammad Ali Khalilian who identified 62 hills in the area, the official said,
adding that another team continued the late Khalilian's work recently.
Head of the excavation team Jebreal Nokandeh said that hundreds of pieces of
stone tools have been discovered during excavation operations which have been
put on display at the provincial cultural heritage department. He said that
similar stone objects, including axe and cleavers, were first discovered by a
Danish archeologist in an area known as `Pol-e Barik' in northern Ilam Province.
He said that other areas discovered during recent excavations date back to the
new stone, copper and stone ages where a large number of stone and clay works
have been unearthed.
Nokandeh further added that the objects reveal that the inhabitants of the hill
consumed plants and were used to weaving, farming, pottery and writing.
Moreover, he said, the discovery of volcano stones in the ancient area lend
further proof to the flourishment of trade transactions with other regions at
that time. According to Nokandeh the nearest place where similar volcano stones
can be found is Van river in east of Turkey. Archeologists say that the old
stone age began some three million years ago and continued about 300,000 years.
Meanwhile, a research center will become operational soon in Haft-Tappeh,
Khuzestan Province in southern Iran, for conducting study works over
Choghazanbil temple international project. Rasoul Vatan-Doust, director of the
project, said that all books and works by domestic and foreign archeologists on
the temple will be collected and compiled by the center. The project which is to
be carried out jointly by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO) will be implemented in a two-year time, said the official.
Moreover, he added, an equipped laboratory is also under construction in the
neighborhood of the center to conduct experimental tests on the unbaked clay
used in the construction of the temple. A team of French archelogists will soon
arrive in the area to study effects of rain on the temple's structure. The
project is the first international program being carried out jointly by UNESCO
in the field of archeology in the past 20 years.
UNESCO has contributed $500 million to the project. Choghazanbil Temple which is
situated 45km southeast of Shush dates back to 1300 B.C. and has been registered
as a universal monument. The five-storey temple was built by an Ilamite king for
the God protecting Shush.