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Archaeologists: Yeri Inhabitants Abandoned their Gods


News Category: Prehistory

 01 December 2005



Based on the findings of the third archeological excavations in the Yeri city, the inhabitants of the region broke with their religious beliefs and holy prayer centers due to the prevailing of a political religion.

Yeri City, in a 400-hectare area, is located near Pirazman village of Meshkin Shahr, in Ardabil province, in which some layers belonging to the Iron Age (3200 to 2550 years ago) have been identified so far.

Based on the recent discoveries during the third season of excavations in Yeri City, archeologists believe that the inhabitants of the region broke with their religious beliefs after the domination of Urartu civilization over the region.

“The construction of the fortress wall over the prayer house of Yeri City indicates that it was no more holy for to the inhabitants of the region and that they did not show religious beliefs towards it any longer,” says Alireza Hajbari Nobari, archaeologist and head of the excavation team in Yeri City.

The historical site of Yeri City is consisting of a fortress, three temples and Qush Tepe historical site. The fortress dates back to the third period of the Iron Age (2800 years ago), and the temple to the second Iron Age (3200 years ago).

The construction of the fortress on one of the temples indicates that the temple existed before the fortress. The fortress was constructed on the remains of a burnt city. According to Nobari, the residents of Yeri City lived in the city previous to the attack of the Urartu people to the region. Following the attack and devastation of the city, the new fortress was built on the remains of the previous residences.

The main worship center of the site was unearthed in the previous excavation season. It consists of stones on which mouthless faces of human beings are carved. According to Nobari, these stones were used as totems, worshiped by the inhabitants of Yeri city before the collapse of the city following the defeat against the Urartu people.

Urartus were a tribe who seized power in the mountainous region of the east Minor Asia some 2900 to 2700 years ago and founded a powerful government. Their territory extended around Van Lake in today’s Turkey and Uromia Lake in Persia. They started their conquest from the north, Armenia, and entered Persia through Marand and Uromia.

“Following their capture of the city, the Urartians made the residents’ totems valueless and then preached the existence of one unique God and a political religion in the region,” said Nobari, noting the construction of the fortress over the worship center by means of its stones as sign of people abandoning their previous religious beliefs and the center losing its sanctity.

Source: CHN




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