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10 km Long Ancient Wall Discovered near Pasargadae


12 March 2007




LONDON, (CAIS) -- Archaeological excavations by a team of Iranian and Japanese archaeologists in Bolaghi Valley in the vicinity of ancient Pasargadae world heritage site resulted in unearthing a number of stonework walls and a 10-kilometer bulwark, dating back to Achaemenid dynastic era (550-330 BCE).


Discovery of these walls, which had long remained unknown, shed light on the high security measures implemented during the Achaemenid dynastic period to protect palaces against possible attacks.    


“In an attempt to find the paths connecting Bolaghi Valley to Pasargadae, the archaeology team launched excavations in the area which led into discovery of a number of stonework walls, the longest one of which was found to be 10 kilometres,” said Mohsen Zeidi, head of Iran-Japan excavation team in Bolaghi Valley. Zeidi believes that discovery of this 10-kilometer-long wall shows that the palaces of Pasargadae were closely protected.


Most parts of the discovered wall have been destroyed over time and only its foundation has remained, showing that it was stretched to the foothill. Similar stonework walls had previously been discovered in Bolaghi Valley indicating that the newly discovered walls must have dated back to the Achaemenid dynastic era.


Regarding some other archaeological achievements in the region, Zeidi said: “A large number of pre-historic to historic residential settlements as well as some 200 stonework graves most probably belonging to the Parthian dynastic era (248 BCE-224 CE) have also been discovered in the suburban areas of Pasargadae historical site. Discovery of these graves indicates that most possibly the stones used in constructing walls during Achaemenid period were later used for constructing graves during post-Achaemenid period.”


According to Zeidi, irrigation channels and guard houses are among other discoveries in northern Pasargadae during this season of excavations.


Director of Iran-Japan archaeology team in Bolaghi Valley further pointed to unearthing a 3-kilometer passageway in the region. “This pathway is located amid agricultural lands and most parts of it have been destroyed. It was constructed during the Achaemenid dynastic era by creating a 1 to1.5 meters embankment with stone and soil,” added Zeidi.


The new discoveries in Bolaghi Valley have encouraged Parse-Pasargadae Research Centre to continue excavations in the region until completion of the work. All the new discoveries have been documented and pinpointed on the satellite map and aerial pictures prepared from the area. Based on initial negotiations, UNESCO has agreed to expand the district of Pasargadae world heritage site in its list and add some surrounding areas as annexes to the already registered historic site of Pasargadae.


Pasargadae was the first dynastic capital of the Achaemenid Empire, founded by Cyrus the Great in the 6th century BCE. Its palaces, gardens, and the tomb of Cyrus the Great are outstanding examples of the first phase of royal Achaemenid art and architecture and exceptional testimonies of the rich Iranian civilization.  


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