archaeological excavations by Iranian and American
experts have proven 40-50% of the sites identified
in Marvdasht plain of Fars province to be nearly
Marvdasht is one of Iran’s key archaeological
centers which houses many remains from the fifth
millennium BC and the Achaemenid reign. The world
heritage site of Persepolis is just one of the
jewels of the plain.
According to Iranian supervisor of the joint team,
Ali Asadi, comparisons of recent studies and
archaeological maps produced by American
archaeologist working in the area in 1960s,
William M. Sumner, prove that 40-50% of the
historical sites of the area have been completely
“The main reason of the destructions is
agricultural activities expanding in the area.
Right now, the historical lands are either located
within the borders of agricultural terrains or
nothing remains of them except few potsherds
scattered around,” explains Asadi.
The destroyed sites have included, according to
Asadi, remains dating to the prehistoric times,
Achaemenid, post-Achaemenid, Sassanid, and Islamic
times, which could have provided archaeologists
with significant information.
The rich soil of Marvdasht plain makes it suitable
for agricultural activities, however, it is surely
no competitor for the archaeological richness of
During the past months, Parse-Pasargadae Research
Center has started to demarcate the historical
sites, setting up fences around to protect them
from further damages.
Moreover, the joint activities of Iranian and
American archaeologists were launched one month
ago in Marvdasht, aiming at completing work done
before the Islamic Revolution of Iran.
The team has so far discovered 22 fortresses and
settlement areas dating to the Sassanid dynasty,
early Islamic era, and third millennium BC.
As the American supervisor of the team, suggests,
the settlement areas seem to have been villages,
each two to six hectare vast. “The fortresses
show that we have discovered an important ancient