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Latest Archaeological and Cultural News of Iran and the Iranian World


Experts Believe Sasanian Fortress of Iraj was Likely Abandoned After Construction


20 October 2008



LONDON, (CAIS) -- Archaeologists believe that the Iraj Fortress, the world’s largest adobe fortress located in Varamin, a southern suburb of Tehran, was likely abandoned shortly after construction.


People who constructed the Sassanid fortress may have received bad news or were informed of a forthcoming invasion, the director of the team that recently completed a season of excavation at the fortress told the Persian service of CHN on Monday.


“Consequently, they had to cover all towers of the fortress with earth and left it in the hopes of coming back again but most likely they didn’t return to the site,” Mohammadreza Nemati added.


“Twelve excavations have been carried out on the body of the monument, but the team could not find any evidence to precisely determine the purpose of the structure,” he explained.


“The structure had been built to house 5000 people, while the pottery dishes discovered at the site are adequate for only 500 people,” he argued.


“More excavation could lead to more definitive results, but at present there are many ambiguities as to whether the structure was a military fortress or a residential place. No artefact has been discovered during the excavations that would point to a military application of the structure. In addition, there is no reference to the name of the structure in ancient texts,” Nemati added.


Some experts believe that the fortress has been referred as Varna in the Vendidad, the main source for Zoroastrian ritual and civil law.


“We can not definitively say that Varna is the same Iraj Fortress. To obtain more comprehensive and possibly conclusive information we need to carry out further excavations,” Nemati noted.


An arrowhead, 4 moats measuring from 30 to 50 meters in length and 6 meters in depth, and 6 pottery artefacts bearing Sasanian-Pahlavi inscriptions have been discovered during this season of excavation, which began in late August.


Located north of Varamin at Pishva road, the fortress, whose walls are 8 to 12 meters wide, covers an area of 1440x1280 meters. The size of the adobe bricks, which have been used in the construction of the walls, are 12x46x46 centimetres. The tetragonal fortress had been built with four gates on each side of which only the northeastern one remains.


According to Nemati, the fortress had become dilapidated and then had been utilized as a garbage dump.


In addition, the ruins of the fortress have been surrounded by some 7000-year-old tepes, most of which have been flattened for farming use.






Extracted From/Source: Mehr News [*]




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