Sandstorm in Iran Reveals Remnants of What is Possibly an Ancient City
A recent sandstorm in Iran unearthed a series of structures that are believed to be part of an ancient city or necropolis. Initial analyses suggest it dates back to the early Islamic Middle Ages (661-1508 AD), but it could also be much older or even more recent. Iranian authorities are taking no chances as armed military guards are keeping the site safe from looters.
“A team of archaeologists has been dispatched to Fahraj in order to determine whether the site used to be a necropolis or an inhabitance,” said Mohammad Vafaei of the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization, according to the Tehran Times.
The CHHTO archaeologists will examine the site’s artifacts and survey the ruins of the structures to get a better idea of the age of the complex. It measures about 5,000 square meters (53,820 square feet).
Archaeologists are examining a possible historic site in an arid area of Iran that was exposed by sandstorms in late March. The team is doing surveys, excavating structures and examining earthenware vessels. (MEHR News Agency photo by Laleh Khajooei)
After an initial examination members of the team have refused to speculate about how old the site may be, says the Financial Tribune of Iran.
The sandstorm struck in late March, exposing ancient ruins and broken earthenware and adobe, according to the governor of Fahraj in Kerman Province, Nejad Khaleqi.
Mr. Vafaei demurred, saying, “One cannot claim that an area is historical as soon as several objects appear from under the ground after storms and floods, since they might have been carried from other regions by water or storm.”
Tentative conclusions are being drawn, however, as Hamid Rouhi, the deputy chief of the provincial CHHTO estimated that the site dates from the Islamic Middle Ages of 661 to 1508 AD.
“It is the first time that such ruins have emerged so there is no precise data on their age and history,” Mr. Rouhi told the Financial Tribune. He said officials will release more information as soon as it is available.
The site does not appear to be rich in artifacts, but so far researchers have found earthenware and broken adobe along with some structures. (MEHR News Agency photo by Laleh Khajooei)
The CHHTO has called in the Research Institute of Cultural Heritage and Tourism. They hope the site can be added to the National Heritage List after studies confirm its age, the Financial Times says.
It would not be unprecedented to find old sites in the Kerman area, as both Fahraj and Rigan have multiple ancient sites. New ones that were discovered with floods in the past few months are being excavated in Rigan and Negin Kavir.
The Tehran Times reports:
Big, sprawling Kerman Province is something of a cultural melting pot, blending various regional cultures over the course of time. It is also home to rich tourist spots and historical sites including bazaars, mosques, caravanserais and ruins of ancient urban areas.
The Islamic Middle Ages were termed the Islamic Golden Age because of Muslim scholars’ study, preserving and expanding of knowledge in the areas of engineering, technology, geography, law, sciences and medicine. The scholars also explored the arts, poetry and literature, philosophy, economics, navigation and sociology, says the site IslamicHistory.org.
The site BarakaBits.com states:
From the mid-7th century through the mid-13th century, the Islamic World was the center of world learning and scientific development. The Islamic Golden Age gave rise to countless inventions and innovations, while Islamic scholars were key to preserving the knowledge of the Greeks and other ancient civilizations. The Abbasid Caliphate was heavily Persian-influenced and some of its greatest scholars were indeed Persians.
Featured image: The site consists of structures that archaeologists are examining and excavating to determine whether they are of a necropolis or a settlement. The structures are adobe. (MEHR News Agency photo by Laleh Khajooei)
By Mark Miller