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Achaemenid Bronze Ornament, Handle of Dagger Discovered at Bardak Siah


10 June 2005



A bronze eagle ornament symbolizing the Achaemenid dynasty and an ivory handle of a dagger have been discovered at the Darius Palace at Bardak Siah by a team of archaeologists working at the 2500-year-old site, the director of the team announced on Thursday.


“It seems that the ornament was placed on the tip of an Achaemenid flagpole. Verdigris must be removed from the surface to determine its use during that era,” Ehsan Yaghmaii added.


The eagle was a symbol of power and wisdom during the Achaemenid era. The capitals of the palace had been decorated with the images of eagles and lions. Pieces of the capitals, including eyes, wings, fangs, and snouts, have been discovered during previous excavations. Such images can be seen at Persepolis as well.


Six bronze coins were also discovered beside the statue.


Referring to the discovery of a handle of the miniature dagger, Yaghmaii said, “We have not found the blade of the dagger, but due to the elegance and delicacy of the handle, it might have belonged to a woman of that era.


“The handle has a hollow gap in its end extending to where the blade had been installed. Archaeologists believe that the tube had transferred poison to the blade. The dagger was very delicate, such that it would only have been useful with poison,” he added.


If the blade were to be discovered, it would help to prove whether the theory is correct or wrong, Yaghmaii said.


The archaeologists have also discovered some ornaments made of ivory and several fragments of lapis lazuli and ironstone with the handle.


The archaeological team began the excavations in early winter under the supervision of Yaghmaii, whose earlier team had discovered the Darius Palace in 1977. The Darius Palace, also known as the Bardak Siah Palace, is somewhat similar to the Apadana Palace in Persepolis. The palace had 36 columns. Sixteen bases of the columns were unearthed during the first phase of the excavations. Each column rose to about 20 to 23 meters.


Bardak Siah is located near the city of Borazajan in Iran’s southern province of Bushehr.


Built during the Achaemenids’ zenith, the palace had been destroyed by fire in a war, the archaeologists explained.


Due to the region’s extremely hot weather in summer, the team will be taking a hiatus and will resume excavations in winter.  



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