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Latest Archaeological and Cultural News of Iran and the Iranian World


Discovery of Sasanian Layer in the Persian Gulf’s Port of Siraf


27 July 2009



LONDON, (CAIS) -- During the archaeological research at the ancient port of Siraf in the Persian Gulf, archaeologists have identified Sasanian layers and artefacts near the Congressional Mosque, reported the Persian service of CHN.


“After opening a trench 50 meters away and on the northern section of the Siraf’s Congressional Mosque, we have discovered historical layers dating to the Sasanian to post-Sasanian periods [224-850 CE]”, said Mohammad Esmaili, director of archaeological research at Siraf.


The congregational mosque at Siraf was built in the 9th century on the remains of a Parthian and Sasanian dynastic building.


The archaeological research commenced in Siraf two months ago with a number of objectives in mind, mainly to identify the formation of the port in the ancient times till the 10th century and concluding the previous research seasons.


Among the discovered artefacts are a number of amphorae, dating back to the Sasanian dynasty (224-650 CE), similar to those archaeologists discovered in the Port of Busheher as well as in shipwrecks in the Persian Gulf. One of these amphorae carries the potter’s signature.


“Apart from amphorae we have unearthed a number of Sasanian glazed as well as decorated ceramics which are currently being studied”, said Esmaili.


With regards to future archaeological research in the area, Esmaili said: “north of Siraf, there is a fortress known as Kohneh (ancient/old) in which last year we discovered artefacts and gathered many invaluable information. The evidence suggests the fortress is Sasanian and could possibly be the renowned Sūrbāng Fortress that many early Islamic historians have mentioned in their accounts.”


The ruins of the historical port of Siraf (Sīrāf) are located on the north shore of the Persian Gulf part of the Iranian province of Bushehr. Its ruins are approximately 220 km east of Bushehr and 380 km west of Bandar Abbas. The foundations of Siraf dates back to the Parthian dynasty (248 BCE -224 CE) which was destroyed around 970 after a long decline.


According to David Whitehouse, one of the first archaeologists to excavate the ancient port, the marine trade between the Persian Gulf and the Far East began to flourish at this port because of the vast expansion of trade in consumer goods and luxury items at the time.


The first contact between Siraf and China occurred in 185 CE during the Parthian dynasty and by the 4th century it was a prosperous port. However, over time trade routes shifted to the Red Sea and Siraf was forgotten.




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




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