The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
(CAIS) -- Aerial images taken in 1976 from the historic site of Dashtestan
(daštestān) in present day Bushehr province showed five archaeological hills
nearby from which almost nothing has remained due to uncontrolled cultivation of
tamarisk and palm trees. Only a quarter of one of these ancient hills has
survived in the past three decades while the ancient site of Dashtestan is
rapidly being changed into a forest. The site is also the location of an ancient
palace, known as Bardak Siah (bardak sīyāh), which is denoted to the
Achaemenid Emperor Darius the Great (549-486 BCE).
excavations first began in the area in 1976, we could easily identify and see
its archaeological hills since the number of trees in the region were
considerably less than what they are today. However, this historic site has now
turned into a palm garden and large number of its ancient evidence has been
destroyed since the locals have levelled off the ground [for agricultural
purposes],” said Ehsan Yaghmayi, head of the excavation team at Bardak Siah
Castle who also directed the excavations of the 1976 in this ancient monument.
28 years of recess, excavations at Bardak Siah were resumed early last year but
lasted for only a few months. This is while local farmers continue to use the
land for planting tamarisk and palm trees which ruthlessly destroy the
region’s archaeological relics with their hard roots.
his concern over the postponement of archeological activities at Barkas Siah and
its surrounding historic site, Yaghmayi said that the remaining archeological
evidence of the area will also be destroyed if excavations do not begin
the meantime, Yaghmayi has been tirelessly urging the Iranian cultural heritage
officials to buy up the problematic farmlands before time runs out. According to
him, the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization finally purchased some of
the lands adjacent to Bardak Siah. However, this was done without consulting
with archeologists to determine which areas contain archaeological evidence in
order to better maintain the ruins of this Achaemenid palace.
Siah was discovered in 1977 when aerial images of Dashtestan revealed the
existence of architectural remains in the area. The ruins were later confirmed
to have been a palace, called Bardak Siah, built by the Achaemenid Emperor,
Darius the Great. The palace resembles Apadana of Persepolis and has 36 columns,
16 of which were found during the first season of excavation along with a number
of inscriptions and bas-reliefs.
columns were made of wood timbers and were covered with brick and plaster
layers. They once had capitals resembling eagles and lions, remains of which
including an eye and feather of the eagle, plus the muzzle and some teeth of the
lion have so far been discovered.
two years ago, a broken stone inscription, believed to be part of a pillar, in
New Babylonian language was discovered in the same area. The text was later
deciphered by experts of ancient languages. The inscription, which is missing
large parts, says: “… I put … on top of the gate…” Since in the
Achaemenid dynastic era, each tablet was usually inscribed in three languages of
New Babylonian, New Elamite and Ancient Persian, archaeologists are hoping to
find the rest of the tablet in the area.
in Dashtestan in the southern province of Bushehr also led to the discovery of a
relief denoted also to Darius the Great which, according to Yaghmayi, is now
being kept at the Bardak Siah Palace. “This invaluable relief which is
extremely similar to Darius the Great’ relief at Persepolis could easily be
stolen any time and we must think about ways to protect it,” added head of
Bardak Siah excavations.
Siah Palace is one of most glorious palaces of the Achaemenid period. Remains
discovered in the area shows that the palace was constructed at the time the
Achaemenids were at the height of their power. Also, military instruments found
in the site are evidence of the wars between Persians and Greeks in the region.
Other architectural remains, some stone inscriptions, and four pieces of gold
weighing three kilograms discovered beside one of the pedestals of the central
hall of the palace are among other treasures unearthed in the area.
believe that the gold pieces are most probably the golden layers of the wooden
doors of the palace or the monumental plates of the building which were usually
written on thick golden pieces during the Achaemenid time. Three of the pieces
are thick pleated tablets and the fourth looks like part of an Achaemenid
strongly believe that continuation of agricultural activities such as irrigation
and farming will cause more irrecoverable damages to the ancient monument of
than twenty other palaces and halls from the Achaemenid dynasty have been
identified buried under the palm trees of Dashtestan area.
Copyright © 1998-2015 The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies (CAIS)