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Secret of Parthian Aqueduct Remains Unravelled


16 June 2004


Iranian Empire in  1st Century CE, under the Parthian Dynasty



The inadvertent destruction of an aqueduct, dating back to the Parthian dynasty, robbed Iranian archaeologists of a rare opportunity to unraveling the secret behind its use.

Oil development workers with Khuzestan Oil Company, based south of Iran, were constructing a pipeline when they bumped into the historical construct.


They alerted archaeologists from the Cultural Heritage Organization (CHO), though it was too late, since their bulldozer had already damaged a great part of the aqueduct, made of bricks and pottery slabs. Researchers are still working on the site, but their hope to decipher the secret has been dented.

“Oil workers mistakenly ruined a huge section of the aqueduct, thus now we are not able to assert how the Parthian used it,” Abdolreza Paymani, research officer of the CHO bureau in Khuzestan Province.

Parthians (of the semi-nomadic Parni tribe of Iranian people), whose name was used by all subsequent Arsacid Emperors, revolted against the foreign invasion of Iran by Seleucids in 247 B.C. and established a dynasty, the Arsacids, or Parthians.


During the second century, the Parthians were able to free the rest of Iranian world, extend their rule to Bactria, Babylonia, Susiana, and Media, and, under Mithradates the Great (123-87 B.C.), Parthian conquests stretched from India to Armenia. After the victories of Mithradates II, the Parthians began to claim descent from the Achaemenids. Their language was Parthian-Pahlavi of western-Iranian branch, closely related to Persian. Parthians established an administrative system based on Achaemenid precedents.



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