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Japanese return to complete studies at Gilan's ancient sites

TEHRAN, Nov. 20 (Mehr News Agency) -- After a four-month hiatus, the team of Japanese experts, who had previously worked on the ancient sites of northern Iran's Gilan Province along with a number of Iranian archaeologists, has recently returned to Iran to resume their studies on December 29.

"This will be the second stage of the last phase of research. The team completed its first stage in late August this year," Ali Jahani, an Iranian member of the archaeological team, told the Cultural Heritage News (CHN) agency, adding that the findings of the last phase would be restudied during the new phase.

"The first stage was dedicated to the restudy of previous years' findings of the late Iranian archaeologist Ali Hakimi at the cemetery of the Kaluraz ancient site, which are kept at the National Museum of Iran. Now the Japanese team has returned to begin the second stage along with the Iranian team," Jahani explained.

The joint team plans to revise the information gleaned from the findings of the last four phases of excavations in the Rostamabad region. The Iranian part of the team, led by Mohammadreza Khalatbari, is currently working on Kaluraz, which is one of the many ancient sites of the Rostamabad region.

In early November, Khalatbari's team unearthed ruins of a number of architectural structures believed to date back to the Parthian era. They previously unearthed 3000-year-old gray shards in the lower strata of the site, which dates back to the first millennium BC. The archaeologists believe these items indicate that Kaluraz was a residential area during the Iron Age.

"The most significant achievement of the Japanese is the map of Gilan's archaeological sites that they prepared during the previous phases of excavations. The map details 90 sites which have been discovered in Gilan over the years," Jahani said.

The joint team also made the first discovery of a Neolithic Age site in Gilan near the Sefidrud River in September 2004. The archaeologists have estimated that the Neolithic site is nearly 7500 years old.

The Japanese collaboration, which will be concluded with the end of the new stage, is based on an agreement they singed with Iranian officials for excavations at Gilan's ancient sites in 2001.

... Payvand News - 11/21/05 ... --

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