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Stronach and Parthian Sad-Darvazeh


28 May 2006




LONDON, (CAIS) -- Head of Archaeological Research Institute affiliated to Iran Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization stated that the institute had spared no efforts since three years ago for arranging a trip to Iran by renowned Scottish archaeologist David Stronach.

“Unfortunately though all efforts have so far failed,“ Mehdi Azarnoush regretted.

Should the veteran archaeologist travel to the country, he could help prepare the final report on the ancient city of Sad-Darvazeh (Sad-Darvāzé: Hundred-Gate - also known as Qomes) in Damghan, Semnan province, he was quoted by ISNA as saying.

The official explained that Stronach, who was director of the British Institute of Persian Studies in Tehran during 1961-81, had carried out several excavations at the historical site.

According to Azarnoush, the team came across historical remnants, while excavating the ancient city. Sad-Darvazeh was one of the most important capitals of Arsacid (Parthian) dynasty (248 BCE-224 CE) in mainland Iran.

“The 1979 Revolution followed by eight-year Iraq-Iran war (1980-88) had naturally imposed limitations on cooperation with international archaeologists,“ the official mentioned.

Meanwhile, archaeological operations at Sad-Darvazeh were brought to a standstill, he stated.

Azarnoush is worried that endeavours to invite Stronach to the country would finally bear no fruit, due to the infirmity of the famous archaeologist.

“That means we might not be able to access all the information gleaned by Stronach,“ he mentioned.

“He was supposed to come to Iran last summer to help prepare the final report. Losing information collected by him would be a source of regret.“

Semnan province has had different names over centuries. However, most historians have recorded its name as Qomes or Kumesh.

The oldest city in the province was called Qomes. Qomes or Sad-Darvazeh (a city with 100 gates) used to be the capital of the Parthian Empire. Qomes was discovered by John Hansman and David Stronach in the course of excavations in 1967, 1971, 1976 and 1978.


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