Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
& CULTURAL NEWS OF IRANIAN WORLD©
from proto-Zoroastrian Era
01 August 2006
Tower of Silence (Click
(CAIS) -- A Zoroastrian high priest said Dakhmeh (tower of
silence) has had a very long history, adding the structure was for the first
time built by the proto-Zoroastrians (pre-1800 BCE).
Mobed Fariborz Shahzadi asserted that the burial of the dead in Dakhmeh was
never a religious ritual in the Zoroastrian faith.
corps in the open air, contradicts the Zoroastrian divine laws. Polluting
the sacred element, "air, earth, fire and water", is considered as
great-sin and a corps is considered to be "nasa" (Av. nasu-),
meaning the defilement; demon of corruption.
Dakhmeh, also known as the Tower of Silence, is a place where the dead bodies
were placed in the past. The flesh was scavenged by vultures and the bones were
In an interview with ISNA Persian Service, Mobed Shahzadi cited scientific
studies based on which laying the dead in Dakhmeh was a method used in southern
Siberia by Scythian of Iranian stock.
Shahzadi further stated that in those areas, according to Vandidad Scripture,
ten months of the winter were very cold and two months of spring were moderately
cold; so instead of burying their dead, the people placed the corps on hilltops
within structures enclosed by walls. This was done to keep them away from wild
“Laying the dead in Dakhmeh was not recommended by the Zoroastrians; rather,
it was a ritual observed by the proto-Zoroastrian people,“ he said.
“During the Achaemenid and Arsacid dynastic eras, the dead were laid to rest
in rock-tombs, large-jars and coffins were made of earthenware. It was only
during the Sasanid dynastic rule when placing the dead in the Dakhmeh became
popular. The ritual was practiced up until 40 years ago in Yazd. However, today
the dead bodies are buried in a sealed coffins, with the head facing the east
where the sun rises,“ he stated.
the above-news is NOT a "copy & paste" version from
the mentioned-source. The news/article above has been modified with
the following interventions by CAIS: Spelling corrections;
-Rectification and correction of the historical facts and data; -
Providing additional historical information within the text; -Removing any
unnecessary, irrelevant & repetitive information.
All these measures have been taken in order to ensure that the
published news provided by CAIS is coherent, accurate and suitable for
academics and cultural enthusiasts who visit the CAIS website.
is the Light on the Path to Future"
British Institute of Persian Studies