Archaeologists have unearthed a collection of stunning artworks in northeastern Iran, shedding light on life during the Sassanid era (224–651).
The recent discoveries were made during the fifth archaeological season in a valley near the village of Robat-e Sefid/Bazeh Hur, situated along a crucial north-south caravan route.
Meysam Labbaf-Khaniki, an Iranian archaeologist, emphasizes the historical importance of this valley, as previous excavations have revealed its religious and economic significance, providing evidence of the area’s growth during the Sasanian and early Islamic periods.
According to the Research Institute of Cultural Heritage & Tourism, archaeologists have made a remarkable find at the Qala-e Dokhtar site in Iran.
During the ongoing excavations, they have uncovered a magnificent assortment of plasterwork adorned with intricate patterns, including geometric, plant, and human motifs.
Labbaf-Khaniki stated that they will provide valuable insights into the artistic heritage of Iran during the Sassanid era.
Additionally, this season’s excavations have also revealed the remains of a once-magnificent architectural complex, believed to have served as a significant fire temple in both the Parthian and Sassanid periods. The structure comprised a four-arched brick arch and a hypostyle hall, he said.
The fire temple at the site follows the architectural design of a traditional Chahar-Taq (Chahartaq), featuring arched openings on each of the four sides of the square-shaped room.
Scholars emphasize that this architectural form turned into the most typical form of Sassanid religious architecture, closely related to the expansion and stabilization of Zoroastrianism under the Sassanid reign and continuing during the Islamic era due to its usage in religious and holy buildings such as mosques and tombs.
The archaeologist further noted that the columns within the hall were adorned with beautifully crafted stucco capitals, adding to the overall splendor of the temple.
Moreover, the presence of seals discovered at the site suggests administrative activities conducted within this religious complex, indicating its significance to the central government of the Sassanid Empire.
In 2018, a collaborative mission involving French and Iranian researchers decided to extensively study the entire valley, including its human settlements, geomorphology, and its connection to the broader territory of Khorasan Razavi province, as well as the surrounding monuments near the Chahar-Taq structure.
The Sassanid era holds great importance in Iranian history, as it witnessed a remarkable revival of Persian architecture and arts. During this period, monumental structures like the palaces in Ctesiphon, Firuzabad, and Sarvestan showcased the grandeur and magnificence of Sassanid architectural achievements.
Generally, the archaeological landscape of the Sassanid civilization exemplifies a well-planned and strategically designed system of land use, incorporating the natural topography to establish the earliest cultural centers of the Sassanid era.
In recognition of its historical significance, UNESCO designated the “Sassanid Archaeological Landscape of Fars Region” as a World Heritage site in 2018. This ensemble encompasses eight archaeological sites situated in the Firuzabad, Bishapur, and Sarvestan regions of southern Iran.
The World Heritage site reflects the optimized utilization of natural topography and bears witness to the influence of Achaemenid and Parthian cultural traditions and of Roman art, which later influenced Islamic architecture and artistic styles.
In addition to remarkable architectural achievements, the Sassanid period witnessed advancements in crafts such as metalwork and gem engraving, while the state actively promoted scholarship.
Pahlavi, the language of the Sassanians, facilitated the translation of literary works from both the Eastern and Western regions.
Source: Tehran Times