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More bas-reliefs of goddesses discovered in western Iran


15 October 2005


(MNA) -- A brick bearing bas-reliefs of two naked winged goddesses was unearthed at the 3000-year-old site of Rabat near the town of Sardasht in Iran's West Azarbaijan Province, the Persian service of the Cultural Heritage News (CHN) agency reported on Saturday.


Last week, the team of archaeologists working at the site had discovered a brick bearing bas-reliefs of four winged goddesses.


“This is first time such motifs (naked goddesses) were discovered in an archaeological site of the country. The importance of the discoveries created a worldwide media frenzy,” said Reza Heydari, an archaeologist of the West Azarbaijan Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department.


“The discovery of naked winged goddesses in the region has astounded everyone. The goddesses are lean. Thus the archaeologists believe that they are not goddesses of reproduction and fertility,” he added.


“Naked goddesses have frequently been seen in ancient Greek art, but the goddesses, which are wingless, are considered symbols of fertility. The newly discovered goddesses have two wings leaning toward below. They have also two arms opened horizontally. The bodies of the goddesses are white and one of them has some rings on her belly. The wings have been colored yellow and white. Both of the images are headless and one of them is legless. The archaeologists have not been able to determine what the naked goddesses symbolized or how the colors were produced and used in the region during that time,” Heydari explained.


In its higher strata, Rabat dates back to some time around 1000 BC. It is one of the richest archaeological sites of northwestern Iran. Archaeologists had estimated the site covered only a four-hectare area, but new studies have extended the area to 25 hectares.


The team of archaeologists working in the region believes that Rabat Tepe was the seat of government of Musasir about 3000 years ago.


Musasir was a semi-independent buffer state bordering Mannai between Assyria and Urartu. It was a vassal state of Assyria yet Urartu had some claims over it.


Experts believe that it was an ancient city probably located near the upper Great Zab River between Lake Urmia and Lake Van in Anatolia. Musasir was particularly important during the first half of the 1st millennium BC and is known primarily from reliefs and inscriptions obtained during the reign of the Assyrian king Sargon II, who captured it in 714 BC. According to the inscriptions, Sargon first plundered the palace and storerooms that belonged to Urzana, the king of Musasir, and then seized the even richer contents of the temple of Haldi, the god of the ancient kingdom of Urartu.