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13 Animal Species Identified among Persepolis Engravings


15 August 2005



Archaeologists 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 as offerings.

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 sectors.

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 Yazdani.

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.




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