studying engravings of Persepolis walls and
staircases have identified more than 13 types of
animals that either lived in Marvdasht area during
the Achaemenid reign or were brought to the Kings
Persepolis, in the southern province of Fars, is
one of Iran’s famous historical sites registered
on UNESCO renowned World Heritage List. The
complex was built by Darius I in 518 BC, including
palaces, defensive walls, military and service
An archaeo-zoologist working on the project of
Persepolis, Afshin Yazdani, believes that studies
of the engravings of the site can provide experts
with invaluable information on the era.
According to him, animals identified in the
engravings have been divided to two categories,
one the animals that lived in the area and the
other, those that were brought to the Achaemenid
kings as gifts from other nations.
“Animals brought to Marvdasht include lions,
horses, cows, camels, gazelles, and giraffes, each
from a specific region. For example, lions came
from Khuzestan [southwest of Iran], horses from
Central Asia, humped bulls from Iraq, cows from
Egypt, and giraffe from Sudan,” explained
The domestic animals identified among the
engravings include ibex, a special species of
deer, sheep, and goat.
Studies on animals engraved on Persepolis have
provided experts with information about the region
ecosystem, proving that the climate of Marvdasht
has been suitable for the species to live there.
Moreover, the offered animals are proof of the
historical relations of Persepolis with other
nations and governments of the world.
Some of the animals found in the engravings, like
the lion from Khuzestan and the special deer
species, are now extinct.