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Latest Archaeological and Cultural News of Iran and the Iranian World


Discovery of a Partho-Sasanian Settlement in Semnan


18 July 2008



LONDON, (CAIS) -- During an archaeological salvage operation in Kesht-Dasht Tappeh in Semann province, archaeologists have discovered a settlement and numbers of historical cemeteries dating from Parthian (248 BCE- 224 CE) and Sasanian (224-651 CE) dynasties to post-Sasanian period, reported Persian service of CHN on Friday.


The archaeological rescue operation has taken place in order to salvage as many historical relics as possible prior to the construction of Cheshmeh-Ali Road, connecting Semnan to Mazandaran province. Construction of this road will cause extensive damages to the pre-Islamic historical sites in the province.


“We have been engaged in archaeological salvage excavation for about 40 days, and after opening ten trenches we have obtained enough information to establish that the site was occupied during the Parthian and Sasanian dynastic eras” said Mahnaz Sharifi, director of archaeological research team in Kesh-Dasht.


“A large terracotta vessel [known in Persian as Khomré], oven, drop-spindles made of terracotta, and a seal adorned with scorpion design were the most interesting finds among the discovered artefacts”, said Sharifi.


She added, “over the Sasanian cemetery there is a post-Sasanian Islamic cemetery where we discovered very intriguing burial methods. No evidence of gift burials were found but some of the skeletons are not buried in an Islamic fashion. The deceased’s heads are not facing Mecca, and even some were even buried faced down.”


She further noted: “we have even found a coffin containing a skeleton, this is while in post-Sasanian period usage of coffins in Islamic-burials were abandoned.”


Archaeologists believe this cemetery belongs to the early post-Sasanian period (651-850 CE), and demonstrates the transition of Iranian society from Zoroastrian to Islamic religious domination.


The archaeological rescue operation stopped due to the lack of funding.



Original News bulletin published in Persian by CHN , and translated and modified by CAIS [*]




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