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Franco-Iranian Archaeological Team Explore Kohan-Dedz


News Category: Sasanian

Province of: Khorasân

 28 October 2005



(CHN) -- Regarding historical documents and the remaining clays, a joint team of French and Iranian archaeologists have started their excavations in the historical site of Kohan Dezh (Kohan-Dež  = Ancient Fortress) in Nishabur to find out more on the city in the Sasanian era.

The second season of archaeological excavations of Kohan Dezh will be undertaken to continue the excavations of the American team which excavated the historical city of Nishapur under the supervision of the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1935 to 1940.

“A joint team of French and Iranian archaeologists have started their excavations in the historical site of Shâdyakh and Kohan Dezh of Nishapur to discover more on the city during the Sasanian era. The excavations will be undertaken based on a memorandum of understanding between the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Iran and the CNRS (centre national de la recherche scientifique). Monik Kervran, French archaeologist, will supervise the French team,” said Rajab Ali Khaniki, head of the archaeology team of Shadyakh and Kohan Dezh of Nishapur.

“The excavation of Kohan Dezh, located 5 kilometers east of Shadyakh and in the center of the old city of Nishapur started last year. Previous to these excavations, the pre-Islamic history of Nishapur was a mystery to experts. The excavation team is searching to find traces of civilization which show the existence of Nishapur during the Sasanian era. Exploration of some important monuments of the old city of Nishapur such as Masjid-e Kabir (the big mosque), gates of Kohan Dezh, and its fire temples are the other aims of the archaeological excavations,” added Khaniki.

Historical documents indicate that Nishapur existed during the Sasanian era. Furthermore, archaeologists believed that the city has derived its name from its reputed founder, the Sasanian king of kings, Shapur, which indicates the existence of the city at that time. Based on historical documents, the city was ferociously invaded by Arabs in A.D. 650, an event which itself is proof of the existence of a big city during Sasanian era.

“In addition to historical documents, the existence of clays and cultural evidence belonging to Sasanian era in the city, all indicate the existence of the city during the time. The cooperation of Iranian and French team is a scientific cooperation based on two different methods of excavations and studies, and some satisfying results have been gained so far,” explains Khaniki.

These excavations led to the discovery of some important quarters in the old city of Nishapur. The most important one is Kohan Dezh or the Heart of Nishapur which was the residence of the rulers and the noble people of the city. These excavations have helped reveal the aristocrat life and the developed artistic points of view during this period.

Nishâpur or Neyshabur, is a town in the province of Khorasân in northeastern Iran, situated in a fertile plain at the foot of the Binallud Mountains, near the regional capital of Mashhad. Nishapur occupies an important strategic position astride the old Silk Road that linked Anatolia and the Mediterranean with China.