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Earthenware Figurine Discovered in Bukan


18 August 2006




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Source  (Click to enlarge)

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One of the Stolen Artifacts now in

Tokyo National Museum (Click to enlarge)

LONDON, (CAIS) -- Archeological excavations in Qalaichi Tepe in Bukan led to discovery of an earthenware figurine of a woman. This naked earthenware figurine is 20 centimeters in height, reported CHN on Thursday.

“The naked headless-figurine of a woman with her arms on her chest is made of clay, and discovered near a brick raised-platform. In addition to this figurine a large number of turquoise, yellow, and white coloured beads have been also found during the archeological excavations. All the discovered evidence show that most probably this figurine was an offering to the temple,” said Reza Heidari, archeologists of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department of West Azarbaijan province and member of Qalaichi Tepe excavation team.

According to Heidari, identifying the architectural evidence of Mannaean ethnic groups was one of the most important accomplishments during the eight seasons of archeological excavations in Qalaichi Tepe. “This is the first time that archeological excavations have been carried out on Mannaean culture in Qalaichi Tepe. Some important evidence including their architectural remains, materials and pigments have been discovered during eight seasons of excavations in Qalaichi Tepe,” added Heidari.

During their excavations, archeologists have concluded that Izirtu must have been the most important capital city of Mannai empire in Qalaichi. There is not much information about the characteristics of their ethnic group and the method of their living. 


Mannaean studies as an independent field began with the discovery of Ziwiye in 1936 and the initiation of scientific excavations there. The archaeological site at Ziwiye was at first identified as Izbie, one of the important Mannaean provinces in the Iron Age of Iran. After this, great efforts were made to discover Izirtu, soon identified with Qaplanto near Ziwiye. But these identifications have since been discarded. In 1956, R. Dyson from the University of Pennsylvania began his extensive excavations on the Hassanlu mound, proposing Hassanlu IV as a Mannaean settlement. In a short time, the presence of Mannaean at Hassanlu became abundantly apparent.


Since 1979 and the rise of Islamic regime to power in Iran, the level of plundering of Iran's antiquities gone beyond any imaginations. Between 1979-1985, illegal excavations were carried out on a massive scale at the site of Qalaichi, 7km north of Bukān (Fig. 1). Some unique glazed bricks were discovered, which soon found their way to international antique auction rooms, and the stolen artefacts were subsequently purchased by private collectors and foreign museums (Fig. 2).

The Mannaeans were an ancient people of unknown origin, who lived in the territory of the present-day province of West-Azarbaijan in the north-west of Iran, around the 7th to 10th century BCE. Their original homeland was situated on the east and south of the Lake Urmia, roughly centered around modern-day Mahabad, and at their greatest extent their borders expanded as far as the Kura river.

The original ethnic and linguistic affinities of the populace are uncertain. Although, they are sometimes considered to have been of non-Iranian origin, but other ethnic elements such as the Indo-European may also have been included by 800 BCE within the Mannaean ethic group. In the north and north-west the Manneans were neighbours of the powerful Urartians, whose centre was situated on Lake Van about 800 BCE. To the west of the Manneans were the Assyrians of Semitic stock, separated from them by the Zagros mountains. In the south-east the Medes of Iranian stock began to occupy the plain of Hamadan and emerged in the 7th century as a third largest power bordering Mannai. Nonetheless, there is a recognition by some historians, believing there are close similarities between Mannaeans and Iranian groups such as Scythians.

Subsequently, the Mannaeans domain were taken and replaced by the Iranian Medes, and most-probably after the establishment of the first Iranian government in the plateau by the Median Dynasty (728-550 BCE) the Mannaeans were incorporated and dissolved into Iranian society. 



For more information please on archaeological research at Qalaichi Site [ click here ]



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Extracted From/Source: CHN

Please note 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.


* Pictures courtesy of Yousef Hassanzadeh, National Museum of Iran




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