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Experts Say Urartians had no Direct Presence in Northwestern Iran


06 December 2006




LONDON, (CAIS) -- A team of Iranian and Italian archaeologists which recently studied 27 ancient sites east of Lake Urmia said that despite the previous theory, the Urartians never had a direct presence in the region, the Persian service of CHN reported on Tuesday.


The team, led jointly by Iranian archaeologist Hamid Khatib-Shahidi and Italian archaeologist Rafael Bichone, began the surveys about three weeks ago to demarcate the boundaries of the Urartian state with Mannai and the Medes, the first Iranian dynastic empire in the region.


Before the studies, many archaeologists regarded the region as the centre of Urartu and consigned it to the map of the Urartian state.


“An appropriate environment, an abundance of water, and fertile land encouraged settlement and the establishment of local states in the region during the Iron Age,” Khatib-Shahidi said.


“It is certain that the Urartians had indirect relations with the people of the region. Sometimes they had clashes and sometimes allied (with each other). But the Urartians never had a direct presence or made fortifications in the Tabriz (region) and the Maragheh plains, i.e. north and south of Mt. Sahand,” he added.


The Iron Age castles near Mt. Sahand have mostly been built of stone without the use of mortar, he explained.


The ancient kingdom of Urartu, the biblical Ararat, flowered in the area south of the Caucasus from the ninth century to the seventh century BCE.


Urartu, centred in the mountainous region around Lake Van, existed from about 1000 BCE, or earlier, until 585 BCE, and stretched from northern Mesopotamia through the southern Caucasus, including parts of present-day Armenia up to Lake Sevan.


“The local governments of the region (east of Lake Urmia) were tributary states of the Urartian state before the Medes came to power. The extant texts from the Assyrians, particularly Sargon II, refer to this fact,” Khatib-Shahidi noted.


The team has also identified remnants of some fortifications believed to date back to the Chalcolithic period (7000?-3500? BCE).


“The inhabitants of the period built their castles on heights, but we have not yet been able to determine why they chose to settle on the heights rather than the plains,” Khatib-Shahidi said.


If it is proven that the remnants definitely belong to the Chalcolithic period, the fortifications will surely be among the oldest and last remaining very ancient defensive structures in the Middle East, he explained.


The team has also discovered potshards dating back to the Achaemenid dynastic era (550-330 BCE).




Extracted From/Source: Mehr News

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, transparent, accurate and suitable for academics and cultural enthusiasts who visit the CAIS website.



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