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Discovery of Thousands of Ancient Burials in Fars Province


News Category: Pre-Islamic

 03 January 2006



LONDON, (CAIS) -- Archaeological excavations in the vicinity of Persepolis, Pars City, and Estakhr Sasanid City in the foothill and the heights of Rahmat Mountain in Fars province resulted in the discovery of five strange burial methods and thousands of graves which date back to the late Achaemenid period.

Rahmat Mountain was considered as a sacred mountain during and after the Achaemenid dynastic era. Burials in this mountain made it a holy place and the people insisted on burying the dead bodies in this sacred mountain.

“There is an 8 by 8 kilometer area between Pars and Estakhr cities in which archaeological excavations have been carrying on since 2004 to identify the graves. The excavations have led to the discovery and categorization of five different methods of burial and thousands of graves, most of which date back to the period that came right after the fall of the Achaemenid kingdom and continued to the early Sasanid period,” said Mohammad Jafari, graduate student of archaeology in Tehran University who is cooperating with Parse-Pasargadae Research Center to carry out excavations in Rahmat Mountain.

Late Achaemenid era is one of the important historical periods of Fars province. During the period that followed the collapse of the Achaemenid dynasty and lasted until the Sasanid reign, several local rulers took control over different parts of the province, which turned this province into a colonization society.

“It seems that different methods of burial were used during that era, the most practical of which was apparently burying the bodies in stone graves which took three forms. One was to bury the corpse after scraping the stone of the mountain, another method was to dig further into the natural cracks of the mountain to bury the corpse in them, and the third method of burial was to bury the dead in the natural cracks of the mountain without making any changes in them,” explained Jafari about some discovered burial methods in Rahmat Mountain.

According to Jafari, these three methods of burial in stone graves reflect the social classes of the people in ancient times. Most probably, the mountain was dug out for the burial of the high class people of the society.

Cliff burials have also been observed in this mountain. In this method, the mountain was cut and dug away and the corpse was put inside. Archeologists believe that due to the little space of these graves, most possibly the corpse was put in the grave in a squad position.

Although large parts of these graves have already been plundered by illegal diggers, there are still some untamed regions in this historical site which need more archeological excavations. Ever since the start of excavations at Rahmat Mountain, the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Iran has undertaken some security measures to protect this area.



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