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Khomeini Tomb and International Airport Lies on 3,200 Year-old Treasure


Monday, 24 January 2005




  A seal Impression from Ma'mourin Tappeh

Edited by Shapour Suren-Pahlav


Ma’mourin Hill which was the civilization hub of Iron Age 3200 years ago, today finds itself surrounded by the newly built International Airport called Khomeini in Southern Tehran.


Scholars believe that the 3,200 year-old historical hill which was found accidentally during the construction project can be turned into the greatest historical, scientific, and tourist attraction in Iran.

In 1989, during construction works of airport, workers came accidentally to artefacts and architectural remains in Ma’mourin Hill, which further studies by an archaeological team headed by Jafar Mehrkian revealed can date back to the Iron Age or even before.

Further work in the area led to the discovery of more than 50 structures in the airport and its vicinities. The structures included a fortress, a village fortress, mills, millstones, ducts, historical hills, cemeteries, religious tombs, and water structures, but today only remains of a fortress dating to the Islamic era, some Imamzadehs (religious tombs) and the historical Ma’mourin Hill remain.

“The discovery of the hill has been one of the most important archaeological events of Iran in the recent decades, because the finds could provide new information on people of the Iron Age,” head of the archaeology team of airport, Jafar Mehr Kian, told Persian service of CHN.

One of the important discoveries have been the architectural features of the structures, which include the use of rectangular mud bricks, raised platforms all around the rooms, and installation of large clay casks on the platforms.

According to Mehrkian, gray crocks have also been found with raised depictions and seal impressions indicating the use of plough to prepare the earth for agricultural works at that time. The finds also rejects the belief so far that people were migrates during the Iron Age.

Another factor that makes the discovery of the crocks important is that they are found in a hill that was the habitat of a great civilization, unlike the previous ones that have been discovered in cemeteries.

The seals moreover show that a government and some laws were in force then, and the two-faced casting molds discovered are evidence that metal tools and armoury were produced abundantly and transferred to other areas.

The discoveries in the site have helped archaeologists gain more information on life in the Iron Age. For example, people used plaster as whitening cover for buildings and did gardening and produced wine in two-story pools.

Although the Ma’mourin site is inscribed on the National Heritage List, the studies have now come to a halt due to problems such as budget deficiency, making archaeologists wait for more information on the Iron Age. 

During the building of the extravagant tomb of Khomeini that cost Iranians US $2.5 billion, near the airport, construction workers have found large number of artefacts dated back to the dame period, which later were destroyed.




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