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Murals of Sasanian Imperial Family Unearthed in Gur


18 February 2006



LONDON, (CAIS) -- The team of archaeologists working at the Sasanian city of Gur also known as Ardeshir-Khurra "Glory of Ardeshir", has completely unearthed the murals of four members of the Sasanian imperial family which they had discovered in the Menarshahr region of the ancient site in early January, the Persian service of CHN reported on Saturday.


Carved on one of the walls of a newly discovered palace at the site, these colorful unique mural depict two princesses along with a prince and child with a calf. The team had previously unearthed only the heads of the murals and knew nothing about their clothing or other accessories.


“The imperial family members are all young, and this is the first time such murals have been discovered from the era when King of Kings Ardashir I (224-241 CE) reigned,” the head of the archaeological team, Leili Niakan, said.


"All of the murals are intact except one of the princesses, whose head has been destroyed by the ravages of time", she added.


“These murals show the continuity and survival of Parthians art during the Sasanian dynastic era in its early stages. The colors have skillfully been used as the murals seem alive on the walls. They have used green and crimson to paint the shapes,” Niakan explained.


“The child seems to be the son of the princess standing beside him. The prince stands beside the other princess with a certain dignity. The clothing of the princess indicates that she also is young and may be the wife of the prince,” she added.


Located 10 kilometers from Firuzabad in Fars Province, the circle-shaped city of Gur was the first capital of the forth Iranian dynasty, the Sasanians, which was established during the reign of the founder of the dynasty, king of kings Ardashir I. Very few studies have been carried out on the city, which is one of the five most important Sasanian cities. It covers an area of 300 hectares.  

This city had four main gates on each side including Mehr (Mithra) gate on the east, Bahram (Vrahram) gate on the west, Hormoz (Urmazd) gate on the north, and Ardeshir gate on the south.


The first archaeological excavations in this historical site have been started under the supervision of veteran German archaeologist, Professor Dietrich Huff. The excavations are being carried outas a salvage operation in order to save the site, which is threatened by farmers who are cultivating the lands beneath which most of the ancient city lies buried.


Over 30 percent of the upper level of the city has been flattened and its walls have been seriously damaged by farmers’ activities over the centuries.  





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