The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
(CAIS) -- The director of the
archaeological team at Yazdgerd fortress announced a possible second season of
archaeological research at the historical site, reported by the Persian service
of ISNA on Saturday.
The first season of
archaeological research was conducted after 30 years of absence of
archaeologists in the area. The archaeological complex was first excavated by
Edward J. Keall of Toronto Royal Ontario Museum, who found a collection of
artistic symbols, dating back to the Arsacid (Parthian) dynasty (248 BCE-224
“The first season of
archaeological excavations with the assistance of Kermanshah Cultural Heritage
and Tourism Organisation (KCHTO) was completed and we are currently preparing
the preliminary reports of our work” said veteran Iranian archaeologist Dr
Masud Azarnoush, the director archaeological research team at Yazdgerd Fortress.
“In the previous season we
worked on the Eastern and Western sections of the palace, which are known as the
Eastern and the Western gypsum-domes, and managed to unearth both buildings. We
are hoping with the future implementation of safety measures we will be able to
facilitate tourists to visit the site,” said Azarnoush.
With regard to the possible
second season of archaeological research which was proposed by the Kermanshah’
governor office he said: “the previous archaeological research in the area
proved to be fruitful, and with the presence of large historical, archaeological
and natural sites in the province, we will be able to turn it to an attraction
Azarnoush previously announced
the discovery of a hallway within the chapel of the palace with its ceiling
still intact, as well as some murals, all dating to the Parthian dynastic era.
According to Azarnoush the
palatial and fortress complex were constructed similar to edifices discovered at
Hekmataneh Tappeh (also Ecbatana, modern day Hamadan), which date back to the
Parthian dynastic period.
He concluded: “the Parthian
remains of the site including a large palace, a number of constructions which
may have had military use, and a large garrison which is surrounded by defensive
walls 40 square kilometres long.”
According to the local folklore the fortress named after the last Sasanian emperor Yazdgerd III when he and his daughter Sharbanu had to seek refuge in the fortress while they were running from the invading Arab army. According to the Shi’a Islam tradition Princess Shahrbanu was sold as a slave and purchased by Hussain the second Shi’a Imam, thus connecting the shi’a’s lineage to the imperial family. However, when Yazdgered fled the Ctesiphone he was only fourteen years of age and having a daughter of marital age is remotely plausible. Therefore the story is nothing more than a myth and falsified to give legitimacy to the Arab Hashemite family of being half Iranian and a descendant of the royal house of Sasan, in order to secure Iranians' support in their constant battle with the ruling Umayyads family who were ruled the newly formed Islamic empire at that time.
The Yazdgerd (also Yadegerd) Fortress is one of the greatest ancient defence structures in Iran-proper situated in the north of Sar Pol Zohāb, 18 kilometres from Reejāb – Sar Pol Zohāb junction in Western Iranian province of Kermanshah. The edifice overlooks the ancient Silk Road.
The archaeological site consists of a palace, fire temple, prayer hall (chapel), residential sector, military quarters, garrison and defensive structures. These were mainly constructed during the reign of third Iranian dynasty, the Arsacids and expanded and reused during the Sasanian dynastic (224-651 CE), and post-Sasanian (651-850 CE) periods.
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