excavation season in Espidej archaeological site
is to focus on discovering evidence which may
reveal the mysterious connections between Burnt
City (Shahr-e-Soukhteh), the eastern most ancient
civilization within Iranian borders, Jiroft
civilization and those of western parts of Iran.
Situated in Sistan va Baluchestan province of
southeast Iran, Espidej, a 5000-year-old cemetery,
has been plundered so many times by unauthorized
excavators that it is estimated over 5000
artifacts have so far been looted from the site.
Last week, Iran Archaeology Research Centre issued
the permission for the third season of
archaeological excavations at Espidej ancient
“Most of the civilizations of south and
southeast Iran are located amid a gigantic and
austere plain which is known as Jazmurian plain.
The plain is mainly divided into two different
parts called Delgan and Bazman, respectively
accommodating the watersheds of Bampour and
halilrood rivers, of which the first runs in
Sistan va Baluchestan, and the latter flows
through Jiroft,” said Mohammad Heidari,
technical preservation deputy of Iran’s Cultural
Heritage and Tourism branch office at Sistan and
Baluchestan, “Espidej is located between these
two parts and possibly served as a connecting
bridge for these regions.”
“Burnt City (Shahr-e-Soukhteh) was one of the
most important centers in Bampur region and Jiroft
is considered to be among the most prominent
ancient civilizations discovered in Halilrood
watershed,” added Heidari, who heads the
excavation team at Espidej, “Preliminary
archaeological studies show that thousands of
years ago these two cities were connected somehow,
however, the question that how they were connected
has still remained unanswered.” He hopes that
archaeologists find the answer in Espidej.
The geographical situation and vastness of Espidej
indicate that possibly it once served as a
connecting bridge between the easternmost city in
Iranian plateau, which is Burnt City
(Shahr-e-Soukhteh), and western civilizations.
Having been plundered by smugglers of ancient
artifacts for numerous times, Espidej
archaeological site is going to be put under
24-hour surveillance by setting up a guard station
Over 6000 potteries have been discovered at
Espidej so far, including both patterned and plain
earthenware; designs and patterns of 2000 of the
items are already sketched by experts.
One of the major obstacles in protecting Espidej
site is that most of unauthorized excavators
looting the site are armed with firearms and
weaponries, which in case of intervention of
Cultural Heritage and Tourism task forces may
cause the break out of violent and bloody clashes.
Once the guard station is set up, police forces
are going to back the Cultural Heritage and
Tourism task forces to protect the area against
unauthorized excavations. However, right now vast
lootings which are totally out of control have
periled this 5000-year-old site and if the problem
persists, the whole ancient site will be
completely devastated in a few months time.