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CAIS ARCHAEOLOGICAL & CULTURAL NEWS©

 

Ancient City Possibly Sleeping Under Behistun Plateau

 

04 August 2004

 

 

Such telltale signs aqueducts, a unique stone quarry and potentials of urbanizations have led Iranian archaeologists to believe that an ancient city lies beneath the 3,500-hectare plateau of Behistun.


The first stage of geophysical surveys in the flat terrain started last year, providing experts with detailed information on 500 sites. “The information would be processed and analyzed in 3 months by geophysics and geology experts,” said Abdolazim A. Shahkarmi, project manager.


He noted that his team tentatively believes there must have been a city buried under the Behistun plateau, 30 km east of the western province of Kermanshah. Near the surveyed area, there are remnants of a bridge, named Khosrou, over the Gamasiab River, having its source in the Behistun Mountain. Shahkarmi said there is a channel beside the bridge, functioning as an irrigation system.


The plateau is famous for housing the Behistun inscription, a royal proclamation carved by Darius I on the great cliff known as “Mountain of the Gods” to celebrate his initial victories when taking power and consolidating the empire. It is etched on a cliff face about 100 meters off the ground along the road between modern cities of Hamadan (Iran) and Baghdad (Iraq), near the town of Bisotun. It originally build on the trade route between Babylon and Susa.


Below the inscription are two Parthian reliefs, those of Mithridates II (The Great) and Gotarzes II. These are badly worn and have been defaced by a later Safavid inscription.

 

 

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