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Latest Archaeological and Cultural News of Iran and the Iranian World


One Days After the Discovery of a Number of Ancient Plinths and other Artefacts in the City of Ahvaz, the Islamic Republic Denies they Ever Existed


30 July 2010



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The discovered artefacts and column bases during the construction of a new metro construction station in Ahvaz

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Similar column-base from the Sasanian site of Rostam-Ghboadfound, found in Ahvaz 

Pictures courtesy of TARYANA 

Click to enlarge)

LONDON, (CAIS) -- One days after the discovery of a number of Partho-Sasanian plinths and other artefacts in the city of Ahvaz, found during the construction of the city’s metro, the regime’s authority have denied their existence.


Immediately after their discovery on Tuesday, the Khuzestan Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organisation (KCHTO) was alerted, and in response deployed a security guard to the site and ordered the removal of all artefacts for alleged-safe keeping at KHCHTO.


During an interview with Radio Javan, the director of KCHTO, Parviz Purfarrokhi claimed: “these are not plinths as they are smaller than a biro.”


Khuzestan Cultural Heritage Enthusiasts Society (Taryana) have sent a statement confirming the discovery along with photographic evidence to the KCHTO, demanding an explanation and the whereabouts of these invaluable historical artefacts.


This is the second time this year, during the excavation at Ahvaz Metro that construction workers have discovered these types of artefacts from the ancient strata, which is believed to have belonged to the lost Parthian city of Taryana (also known as Sasanian Hormuz Ardashir).


The ancient city is located beneath the modern city of Ahvaz, in Iran’s oil-rich province of Khuzestan.


The permit for the construction of the metro was issued by the government controlled KCHTO, despite objections from academics and cultural enthusiasts, who believed the construction would destroy the ancient city that lays beneath the modern city.


While the ancient city was registered on the country’s national heritage list and no construction activities are permitted over or near the site, an official from Ahvaz Municipality Office claimed: “we don’t deserve it, and it is better if the city remains hidden and to be uncovered by the next generation.”


An archaeologist with KCHRO who wished to remain anonymous for his safety told CAIS correspondent: “nothing of the ancient city will be left by the time the metro and other regime’s projects are completed.”


He added: “they know what they are doing – they are trying to erase our pre-Islamic past.”



Historical background:

Thy city of Hormoz Ardeshir, also Hormuz Ardashir, Hormezdshir, Hormizshahr, Humshir as well as Daravashir (Dārāvašīr) was rebuilt by emperor Ardeshir (ardashīr-i pāpagān - r. 224-241 CE), the founder of 4th Iranian dynasty, the Sasanians (224-651 CE).


Tabari, 9th century Persian historian confirms that king Ardeshir rebuilt the old Parthian city and named it after himself. However the foundations of the city were either built during the Achaemenid or Parthian dynasty, which was called Taryana. According to historical accounts, Taryana was where the Achaemenid Royal Road from Susa to Persepolis crossed the river on a bridge of boats.


According to Maqdasi it was emperor Shapur I, who rebuilt the town on both sides of the ancient city, coining a new designation for he city, combining the names of God and the his father. In the upper section was administrative and the place that nobles lived; and the lower was the commercial section, inhabited mainly by merchants. However, during the Arab conquest of Khuzestan in 630, the administrative section of the city was totally destroyed and its habitants were slaughtered; but the commercial sector remained intact and became known to Arab settlers as Suq-ul-Ahvaz.


The name Ahvaz (also Ahwaz) that Arabs used to rename the city is believed to have originated from the Khuzi language, the language of the original habitants of the province who gave their name to the province (Khuzestan) before the rise of the Achaemenid dynastic empire in 6th century BCE.


According to Khwarazmi, the 8th century Persian polymath, the Khuzi language was spoken in the province until 3rd century CE.  The Persian historian Abu Mansur Javaliqi, in the 12th century wrote: "Ahvaz is the name of a Persian city and its’ Persian name has been Arabised and the Arabs have accepted the Persian dictation of the word."  


Hormoz Ardeshir which presently lies within the boundaries of modern Ahvaz was registered on the national heritage list in 1931.






Portions of this news have been excerpted from Persian service of Taryana - translated and rectified by CAIS. [*]




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