The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
(CAIS) -- Latest season of archaeological excavations
which recently came to an end at the historic Valiran cemetery is anticipated to
open new windows to the Parthian dynastic period (248 BCE–224 CE).
Mohammad-Reza Nemati, head of the excavation team at Valiran Cemetery, evidence
of this historic period are not seen commonly in present-day Iran. “Our
information about the Parthian period is mainly limited to results of
archaeological studies at Jazmurian, Zahak Castle, Mount Khajeh, and a few other
places,” added Nemati.
Parthian communal grave, several coins and other artifacts believed to have been
burial gifts, fragments of human skeletons, some rhytons and amphorae, all
dating back to Parthian dynasty were discovered during initial emergency
excavations at Valiran.
the four different burial methods including jar (pithos)
burial, loculus, stone-paved and
surface burials observed at Valiran Cemetery and also seven coins belonging to
Arsacid kings Mithradates the Great (123-88 BCE), Orodes I (88-80 BCE) and
Artabanus II (10-38 CE), were discovered,” explained Nemati.
most prominent discovery at Valiran, according to Nemati, was that of a communal
grave in which 21 human remains were found along with a number of burial
offerings. “This grave is 60 centimetres wide and 1.60 meters deep. The main
part of the grave measures 60x160 centimetres in dimension and is divided by
clay walls. Three rhytons with ibex heads and seven coins belonging to Arsacid
kings were found along other objects in this grave,” added Nemati.
made of silver, bronze, and iron including rings, bracelets, arrowheads, arrows,
different kinds of knives, earrings, belt buckle, nails and needles as well as
different kinds of vessels were also unearthed from this grave.
type of communal grave was in use for continual reburial for 25 to 30 years.
Usually the graves had an empty space in the middle for placing the dead, which
were surrounded with a number of caverns in the walls. Every time before placing
a new dead in the middle to be decomposed, the previous bones of the deceased
were removed and replaced within the caverns.
addition to the Parthian remains, evidence from Sasanian dynastic era (224-651
CE) such as remains of an architectural style was also found in this ancient
site. “Eight silver coins belonging to the Sasanian dynastic period, from
which three belonged to Khosrow II Parviz, together with three pieces of clay
tablets in Sasanian-Pahlavi script, and a number of gemstones made of agate,
glass and tar were discovered at Valiran,” said team director, Nemati.
The historic cemetery of Valiran was discovered recently during the construction of a new branch for Elm-o Sanaat (Science and Technology) University in the city of Damāvand in Tehran province.
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