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10/31/05

Iran: "Slaves Opening", historical city dating back to Achaemenid era

Zahedan, Sistan-Baluchestan prov, Oct 31, IRNA-Dahan-e Gholaman (Slaves Entrance) situated in the southeastern Sistan area, a city dating back to Achaemenid era, was first discovered by an Italian archaeologist, Umberto Scerrato in 1965.

The historical site in this ancient city dubbed "Slaves Gate" known as the only city of the era inhabited by people, is situated about 44 kms from the provincial city of Zabol near Hamoun Lake and two kms from the village of Qale-No near the township of Zehak.

The residential, religious and industrial Dahan-e Gholaman area reminiscent of Achaemenid dynasty measuring 1,500x500 meters was a conventional city. It was eventually buried under a layer of flowing sand caused by a harsh wind blow.

The "Slaves Gate" was one of the 28 bases of the great Achaemenid Empire, which has been repeatedly mentioned in various books and texts along with other significant cities and monuments.

Unlike other monuments of Achaemenid period mostly comprising large palaces resided by the kings and princes, Dahan-e Gholaman was the residence of common people and the only city serving as a residential area during the rule of Achaemenid dynasty.

The historical city is known for its indigenous and traditional architecture and the building materials used in constructing the unearthed monuments mostly consist of unbaked raw mud.

Some 28 ancient monuments have already been identified by archaeologists at the site, including the great temple and praying center known as the "Sacred Building" with four two-storey watch towers, situated at the northwest of the site. They were apparently used in two different periods.

In ancient time, the Zoroastrians residing the area used to observe their rituals in this large temple.

Another big monument located to the north of "Slaves Opening" includes a central courtyard with several chambers encircled by four multi-pillar verandas.

The traces of fire is quite evident on the three platforms standing in the central courtyard of Dahan-e Gholaman. The platforms with a height of a little more than one meter were reached by a staircase.

Earthenware, hand mill stones, small wooden items, boar bones and various other objects have been unearthed at the site.

Besides pieces of painted walls have been found in the discovered monuments, including a mural painting showing an Achaemenid king in a carriage, chasing a boar, which has already been wounded by a spear, and targeting it with an arrow.

Drawn on a wall by charcoal and partially colored, the painting looks after Darius I chasing a lion, which has been discovered in Egypt.

The stamps used by Achaemenid monarchs, colored mural paintings as well as human and animal figures including cows representing the continuity of the practice of pre-Islamic rituals during this period are some of the discovered items.

As the specific features of the site, vaults and mutli-pillar verandas are in line with the climatic and geographical conditions of the area, which is known for its hot and dry weather.

Frequent use of ellipse-shaped vaults in the chambers of Dahan-e Gholaman are noteworthy, given that the architecture of the period was characterized by horizontal, flat and smooth structures, in particular those of Persepolis.

Meanwhile, use of simple elements such as mud and unbaked mud bricks instead of bricks, stones and other building materials in this historical city is remarkable.

The "Slaves Opening", known today as Sistan should in a way be considered as the ancient base of the government in eastern Iran.

Unlike other ancient relics, this one has not been demolished by being subject to possible wars, natural disasters or other incidents. Rather the change of the direction of the river near the city forced the residents of the area to migrate from the city and leave it deserted.

Dahan-e Gholaman is one of the major historical and tourist hubs of Sistan-Baluchestan province, which is qualified to be registered as a world monument. However, despite the historical significance, the grounds should be paved for such registration and it should further be developed.

Head of the international archaeological team in charge of survey of Shahr-e Soukhteh and Dahan-e Gholaman, Mansour Seyed Sajjadi declared here Monday that the 5th excavation season is now underway at this Achaemenid city.

He told IRNA that during the current season, a group of Iranian archaeologists would conduct excavations and survey in the area for two months.

"They will be mainly working on Monument No. 15 and the city's garrison. Besides, the borders of the city are to be specified during this excavation season," he added.

It is the only city of the Achaemenid era, where public buildings, residential areas and religious centers have been found.

... Payvand News - 10/31/05 ... --



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