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The Oldest Iron Age Temple and Brazier Discovered in Qom


News Category: Prehistory/Proto-Elamites (from 8000 BCE- )

 14 December 2005



During the archaeological excavations in the historical site of Qoli Darvish Tepe in Qom, a temple and a brazier dating back to the Iron Age have been unearthed, which are believed to be the most ancient ones in the Central Plateau. The brazier has a hole inside in which remains of ashes can still be detected.

Qoli Darvish historical tepe (hill) is one of the most important historical sites in the Central Plateau belonging to the Iron Age, located on the way of Qom-Jamkaran highway. The construction of this highway resulted in the destruction of more than 40 hectare of the 50 hectare area of Qoli Darvish Tepe; and the height of the hill was reduced to 6 meters while once it was more than 30 meters high. Archaeological excavations in Qoli Darvish historical site indicate that residency in Qom dates back to fourth millennium BC.

“After studying the upper layers of Qoli Darvish Tepe, some parts were removed in order for the archeologists to gain access to the lower layers. During that process we surprisingly discovered the remains of a temple alongside a brazier beneath a clay platform,” said Siamak Sarlak, head of archaeological excavation team at Qoli Darvish Tepe about the latest discoveries in the site.

“The discovered temple is the most ancient one in the Central Plateau, and dates back to 3300 years ago. The temple is made of adobe mortar and was designed by stucco mason,” added Sarlak.

According to Sarlak, the temple is consisted of several earthen raised platforms. There is a flat square shaped brazier made of clay in the center of the temple. The evidence indicates that the brazier was broken in the past and was later repaired with stucco.

Regarding the raised platforms he explained: “The raised clay platforms are located in the eastern and western sides of the area. The remains of a staircase made of adobe belonging to the Iron Age have been found on the eastern platform. Two and a half stairs are remained and the rest have been destroyed by bulldozers.”

According to the archaeological evidence, a large part of the temple had been remained intact before the highway construction.

“Qoli Darvish clay platform was built on the temple, but since the temple was regarded as a holy place, the raised platform was built on top of it without causing any harm to the temple itself. Thus, fortunately the temple was not devastated and the ancient people only closed its doors. Most probably, there should have been another temple on the raised clay platform which has also been devastated by bulldozers,” explained Sarlak.

Sarlak believes that based on the current evidence, the temple should have been used for holding special religious ceremonies. The way these ceremonies were held is still unknown for archeologists.

The temple was beautifully decorated and strengthened with stucco which shows the importance of worship places during the ancient times.

Qoli Darvish Tepe, located in the Iranian central plateau, was one of the few settlement places of human beings during the Iron Age. This historical hill was a big city 3000 years ago. Unfortunately, more than 90 percent of this historical site has been devastated due to the modern constructions. The destruction of this historical site was so profound that is regarded as one of the worst cultural devastations.


Source: CHN




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