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In Search of Sasanian Wine Production in  Bolaghi Valley


30 September 2006




  World's Oldest Wine Jar

One of six jars once filled with resonated wine from the "kitchen" of a Neolithic residence at Hajji Firuz Tappeh. Patches of a reddish residue cover the interior of this vessel. Height 23.5 cm.

LONDON, (CAIS) -- Seeking to identify the extent of the wine production workshop belonging to the Sassanid dynastic era (224-651 CE) which was discovered two years ago in Bolaghi Valley, Iranian and Polish archeologists have started their third season of excavations in the area, according to a report by Cultural Heritage News Agency (CHN).


According to Ali Asadi, director of the the joint Irano-Polish excavation team in Bolaghi Valley, the team is determined to continue its excavations in area no. 64 of Bolaghi Valley in the southern bank of Polvar River, the area in which a large number of architectural remains belonging to the wine workshop had been observed during the previous excavation seasons.


Discovery of some evidence including two ancient coins belonging to Qobad (Kavadh) II , the Sassanid king of kings, shows that the discovered workshop was in use until the fall of the Sassanid dynasty and the invasion of Iran by Arabs in 7th century.


The geophysical map previously prepared from this area indicates the existence of more constructions still buried under layers of soil which according to the archeologists must have been parts of the wine production workshop as well.


“Some pool-like constructions were unearthed during two seasons of archeological excavations in area no. 64 of Bolaghi Valley which are believed to be part of the wine workshop. With discovery of some herbal seeds such as grapes in the area, archeologists concluded that these pools must have also belonged to the wine production workshop. However, with carbonizing the discovered seeds during the third season of excavations, we are determined to clarify the exact usage of these constructions,” explained Asadi.


Archeologists had previously assumed that the discovered wine production workshops of the Bolaghi Valley were used exclusively for making wine for the Sassanid Imperial Family. However, considering that the main settlement area of the Royal House was in the southern parts of Fars province while these workshops were discovered in the opposite side on the one hand, and discovery of large numbers of similar constructions in the area on the other have convinced archeologists that products of these workshops must have been much more than just for the use of the Imperial household.


“We have also taken into account the possibility that these workshops might have not belonged to the throne and rather could have belonged to a private owner who produced wine on a larger scale,” said Asadi.


Yet, one factor which has confused archeologists about production of wine in Bolaghi Valley is lack of grape trees in the area. Archeologists believe that the plant coverage of the area may have changed over time, and this issue might have something to do with the domination of Arabs in the area, since alcoholic beverages are forbidden according to the Islamic laws and thus their productions seized everywhere in the country once Arabs conquered Iran.


All of these new discoveries indicate that the Iranians' love of wine is deep rooted in ancient times. The most ancient wine of the world is believed to have been found in a vase in Haji Firuz Tappeh in Iran belonging to 5000-5500 BCE.


Bolaghi Valley, located 4 kilometers from the World Heritage Site of Pasargadae in Fars province, is one of the most important archeological sites in Iran where a large number of historical evidence including the remains of a village belonging to the Achaemenid dynastic era (550-330 BCe) have been discovered. 


With the flooding of Sivand Dam which was recently built in Bolaghi Valley, hundreds of historical relics unearthed so far would be submerged. With the cooperation of Sivand Dam authorities and Parse Pasargadae Research Center, some joint teams from Iran and foreign countries have started the salvation project of Bolaghi Valley to save the main historic and archeological remains of this ancient site before the inundation of the Dam.



Relevant Article: 

  1. Wine good and fine; The art of wine in ancient Persia, by Dr T. Daryaee

  2. Of wine and War, by G. Mirfendereski



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Extracted From/Source: Cultural Heritage News Agency (CHN)

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




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