The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
LONDON, (CAIS) -- Restoration works on the historic fortress denoted to the Achaemenid emperor, Darius the Great (549-486 BCE), located on Tal-e Takht near the world heritage site of Pasargadae is to start shortly after the permission has finally been issued by the Parse-Pasargadae Research Center. Cultural Heritage experts had previously warned about the poor conditions of this fortified complex and demanded immediate restoration to prevent it from collapsing.
“Sometime ago, a plan to carry out research and restoration works on the ancient monument of Tal-e Takht was submitted to the research centers of Parse-Pasargadae and Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization. Based on this plan, a long-term program is devised to restore and modify this ancient monument in accordance with its old structure just like what was done with other monuments in Pasargadae,” said Ali-Reza Asgari, the Iranian head of the joint Iranian-Italian archeology team at Pasargadae.
Asgari and his team resumed excavations at the historic site of Pasargadae after a 40 year gap since latest excavations in Pasargadae revealed evidence of the Achaemenid Empire (550-330 BCE) and they are determined to concentrate their studies on Tal-e Takht during this season of excavations at Pasargadae.
“During the reign of Darius the Great in addition to Persepolis Palace in Marvdasht, some other constructions were performed in Pasargadae archeological site such as changing the usage of Tal-e Takht in the northern part of Pasargadae from a ceremonial building to a strong and giant fortress spanning over a two hectares area,” said Alireza Asghari.
This fortress is consisted of a big hall with giant columns and several storage rooms. There was a big raised platform in the center of its central yard surrounded by several rooms. Some parts of this monument were identified by the Scottish archeologist David Stronach some 40 years ago. Due to lack of appropriate preservation methods, some parts of these historical sites have been destroyed and now Parse-Pasargadae Research Center is determined to restore them.
Construction of the Achaemenid fortress at Tal-e Takht started during the reign of Cyrus the Great, founder of the second Iranian dynasty, and the first Persian Empire, the Achaemenids, and was completed later during his successor, Darius the Great. Tal-e Takht, the towering stone platform that protrudes from the west side of this hump-backed hill, offers one further proof of the scale and quality of Cyrus’s building activities. Left unfinished upon Cyrus’s death in 529 BCE, this rigorously constructed palace platform provides a manifest link between the earlier Ashlar terraces at Lydian Sardis and the huge later terrace Darius chose to erect at Persepolis.
With reference to Tal-e Takht’s later history, the excavations of the early 1960s served to document a burnt part of the citadel in or near 300 BCE (an event likely to have marked the end of direct Seleucid control in Fars); the subsequent introduction of a more independent local occupation that may have extended down to 180 BCE; and the establishment of a short-lived fortified settlement tentatively dated to the beginning of the Islamic era (seventh and eighth centuries CE).
Some archeologists believe that Tal-e Takht is located on the ancient path connecting Iran’s Central Plateau to Fars province. However, Asgari said that this theory has not been fully proved yet. “If this hypothesis is approved, some new aspects about the role of the historic fortress of Tal-e Takht as a link between Fars and the nearby historic site of Bolaghi Valley and existence of settlement areas in this region would be revealed.”
Some archeologists believe that Tal-e Takht was a prison in use during the Achaemenid dynasty while others claim that the monument is the mausoleum of the mother of Cyrus the Great, the daughter of last Median dynastic emperor, or one of his other relatives. Later on, during the post-Achaemenid era the fortress was changed into a residential settlement.
Alireza Asghari from Parse Pasargadae Research Center and
Professor Pier Francesco Calliere from University of Bologna
in Italy will lead this season of archeological
excavations in Tal-e Takht and Pasargadae historical site.
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