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CAIS ARCHAEOLOGICAL & CULTURAL NEWS©


Iran’s 72-hectare Acropolis Deserted

 

 

 

13 September 2005

 

The history of Tepe Mil coincides with mythological Rey city which is a remnant of the Assyrian rule.

 

The historical site of Tepe mil, 72-hectare vast, and several satellite hills hiding lots of secrets from the Parthian era to the time of flourishing of Islamic Art, are in danger of destruction due to lack of facilities and preservation.

A building has been discovered in the excavations in Tepe Mil, which is one of the most important hills of the historical site located 11 kilometers South East of Tehran. Archaeologists have not yet reached an agreement on the identity of the hill, whether it was a Fire Temple or a Royal Castle.

The destruction of the monument, which the experts believe, based on historical evidence there, can be compared to Acropolis in Greece, has become the main concern of archeologists.

Six years ago the site was covered with a temporary ceiling to help preserve it against rain and wind, which has been broken during the years and nobody is taking any action to prevent the destruction of this historical site.

The site was covered with this temporary ceiling after the last excavations in the site which go back to 1999. The project for preservation and excavation of the site was supposed to be completed by support from the German government, but no contracts have been signed yet between the two countries in this respect.

According to Firoozeh Sheibani, head of the research team of Tepe Mil, no budget has been considered for preservation of the site yet. Because of rain and the changes of weather, the collapse of the iron pillars of the temporary roof has inflicted serious damages on the site.

Tepe Mil is not only important for its cultural, historical, and archeological characteristics, but according to what experts and archeologists believe, it is an area in which evidence of transition from the Parthian to the Sassanid era, and pre- Islamic to Islamic periods can be found. The geological conditions of the area from the forth geological period have made this area an appropriate settlement choice. Therefore, archaeologists try to study it in order to find out some historical secrets and answer questions about the process of life from the Paleolithic period to the present time.

In addition to the damages of the main building, the last plaster works of Sassanid era, which in are as important as those of Sassanid Castles in Chal Tarkhan, Nezam Abad, and the mighty Castle of Kish in Mesopotamia, are in danger under the broken preservative ceiling of the site. While according to Sheibani, these plaster works belonging to the Sassanid era, can be an important evidence for the historical art researchers.

Sheibani says, “Although the main part of the plaster has been plundered during the first excavation which had been done by Pezar, a French archaeologist working in Iran during the last years of Qajar era, but there are still invaluable evidence which can be a guide to discover a lot of secrets.”

The site was dug for the first time in 1909 was by the French archaeologist, Pezar. Due to the incorrect and careless method of excavations serious damages were caused to the historical layers of Tepe Mil. Then the site was neglected for 43 years until 1950s when Ali Hakemi, an archeologist, started some excavations there. After that, the historical site of Tepe Mil was abandoned again until 1999 when a team headed by Firouzeh Sheibani started some new excavations there, which led to the discovery of some unknown architectural structure of the site, transforming it into a unique heritage. The space consisted of a central opened yard with porticos around.

Most probably this historical site has been called Tepe Mil (hill of pillars) because of the two high pillars remaining from the old building.

“Since the historical evidence gained from the recent excavations indicate that the hill is comparable to Acropolis hill in Greece, we can attract a lot of tourists there,” says Mehdi Memarzadeh, head of the Restoration Center of Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Tehran province.

According to Memarzadeh, during the first excavations in 1909, 7 meters of the building and the east pillars on which some molding animals and humans were designed, and some parts of the surrounding cells were unearthed. Considering the evidences, it is believed that the building was a worship place for Zoroastrians, but until ashes are not found, the belief can not be confirmed.

The diameter of the pillars is 2 meters and two porticoes are found around it. A panel which is decorated with a broken cross, belonging to the Sassanid era, has also been found near the building.

Despite all the significance experts attribute to the site, the Acropolis of Iran is not receiving the proper treatment it deserves.

 

 

 

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