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Arsacid Fire Temple Emerges at Dam Construction Site in Kermanshah


News Category: Arsacid Dynasty

 30 October 2005



A Parthian fire temple was discovered at the future site of the reservoir of the Shian Dam, which is being constructed near the western Iranian city of Kermanshah (Kermânshâh), the Persian service of the Cultural Heritage News (CHN) agency reported on Sunday.


“An archaeological team tasked with saving ancient sites at the reservoir site discovered the fire temple, which had never been referred to in any document before,” team director Hassan Rezvani said.


“Covering an area of about 283 square meters, the fire temple seems have been in use until the Sassanid era. The foundations of the monument have been strengthened with stone and mortar and the floor has been covered with numerous blocks made of plaster. The fire temple has a collection of unique plasterworks. The pillars of the five censers have been ornamented with stuccos featuring lotus motifs. The censers are located beside the circumambulation area,” he explained.


“The floor of the fire temple was restored by the dynasties that came to power after the Parthians. Due to some structures in the fire temple, the archaeologists surmise that the monument had been used as a mosque (after the advent of Islam in Iran). They also infer numerous Islamic burials near the fire temple.


“The fire temple has a structure adjacent to the northern part, which the archaeologists believe was a place for vows. The monument also has some structures believed to date back to the Achaemenid era.”


Archaeologists believe that the flowing Shian fountainhead encouraged the first settlements in the region in about 2400 BC. They have identified a great number of historic and ancient sites in the region from the Parthian to the Islamic eras.


Shian Dam is scheduled to come on stream in 2007. A number of other dams, all in advanced stages of construction, have been identified as threatening Iran’s ancient sites in several provinces including Fars in the south, Gilan in the north, Khuzestan in the southwest, and East Azarbaijan in the northwest.