The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
(CAIS) -- Archaeologists will be teaming up with the
Kermanshah University of Science and Technology to carry out an archaeological
research on the World Heritage Site of Bistun to unearth a settlement date back
to the third Iranian dynasty, the Arsacids (Parthians – 248 BCE-224 CE),
reported the Persian service of ISNA on Wednesday.
"Last [Iranian] year under the
directorship of archaeologist Mehdi Rhabar we focused our research on the
Sasanian dynastic palace, and the outcome will be published in due course. In
the process we have carried out a survey and opened a number of trenches on the
nearby slope, which have been proven to be Parthian and will be our research
objective for the next year [Iranian year]", said David Daneshian, the
director of Bistun Archaeological Research Centre.
With regard to the discovery of the
Parthian site, Daneshian explained: "The slope is mostly situated within
the boundary of Bistun's World registered heritage site, near the [historical]
hillside and the Achaemenid inscription, which is confirmed to be a settlement
dating back to Arsacid dynasty. A current survey as well as the previous
research and recovered artefacts points out to the importance of the settlement
during the Arsacids dynastic period in this part of the country."
The ancient site of Bistun has suffered
extensively since 1979 and the rise of the clerical regime to power in Iran.
Bistun like hundreds of other major pre-Islamic Iranian heritage sites has been
faced with devastating treatment, as the result of totalitarian-theocratic
regime’s hostility towards Iran’s pre-Islamic past.
The regime for over three decades has not
only ignored the plundering
and vandalism of the site, but has also caused extensive damages to the
site, from cutting into the archaeological site for laying
cables, constructing an industrial
factories, and road
Back in 2006
the regime cut the site’s budget to force the Bistun’s staff and
security in order to force them to leave the site and to be left unprotected.
The courageous staff recognised the regime’s plot and worked for nearly a year
without receiving any wages, to make sure no harm would come to this invaluable
site. At the end, the Islamic Republic was forced to reinstate the budget.
The ancient site was registered on the
World Heritage Site in July 2006.
Bistun, also Bisotun is located in
western Iran, 30 kilometres northeast of
the foothill of a mountain by the same name, along
the ancient trade route linking the Iranian high plateau with Mesopotamia. The
ancient site features remains from the prehistoric times to the first Iranian
dynasty, the Medians (728-550 BCE), and their heirs, the Achaemenid (550-330
BCE), Parthian (278 BCE-224 CE) Sasanian (224-651 CE) dynasties and Ilkhanid
The principal monument of
this archaeological site is the bas-relief and cuneiform-inscription
ordered by Darius the Great, when he rose to the throne in 521 BCE.
The bas-relief portrays the
great king holding a bow, as a sign of sovereignty, and treading on the chest of
a figure who lies on his back before him. According to legend, the figure
represents Gaumata, an imposter to the throne whose assassination led to
Darius’s rise to power. Below and around the bas-reliefs, there are ca. 1,200
lines of inscriptions telling the story of the battles Darius waged in 521-520
BCE against the governors who attempted to take apart the Empire founded by Cyrus
The inscription is written
in three languages. The oldest is an Elamite text referring to legends
describing the King of Kings and the rebellions. This is followed by a
Babylonian version of similar legends. The last phase of the inscription is
particularly important, as it is here that Darius introduced for the first time
the Old-Persian version of his res gestae (things done).
This is the only known monumental text of the Achaemenids to document the re-establishment of the Empire by Darius the Great. It also bears witness to the interchange of influences in the development of monumental art and writing in the region of the Persian Empire. There are also remains from the Median dynastic period to post-Sasanian periods.
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