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Archaeologists Studying Sasanid city in Ilam Province


03 July 2005



A team of Iranian archaeologists recently began studying a Sasanid era city in the Gamgam region of Iran’s western province of Ilam, the director of the Ilam Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department said on Sunday.


“The archaeologists found some clay items, shards, and ruins in their initial studies, indicating that the city is as old as Sasanid cities in Darehshahr and Seymareh (two other cities located in Ilam Province). The studies also show that the city dates back to pre-Sasanid eras in the lower strata,” Fereidun Mohammadi added.


“The ruins are in their natural undamaged state because the surrounding mountains make the paths inaccessible. This condition allows the team easy access to the information,” he noted.


After this phase of their studies is completed, the team plans to excavate the city.


The fact that it is located in the neighborhood of Mesopotamia increases the significance of the archaeological work being conducted in Ilam Province.


No archaeological studies were conducted on the ancient city in Gamgam until the early 20th century when the French civil engineer, geologist, and archaeologist Jacques de Morgan and a Belgian archaeologist excavated the ruins. According to their traditions, the local people used to consider the excavation of ruins and cemeteries indecent.


De Morgan believed that the city was Madaktu, the political capital of Elam for a time in the Neo-Elamite period. This news drew experts as well as smugglers into the region.


Decades later, some Iranian and foreign archaeologists rejected de Morgan’s theory and stated that the site was a city named Mehrjan Qazaq, which they said dated back to the Sasanid and post-Sasanid eras.  




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