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Architectural Style of Darius' Summer Palace Uncovered

Discovery of black and white stones belonging to the quarries of Bolaghi Gorge near the summer palace of Darius indicate that such stones were used in decoration of this Achaemenid monument.

Tehran, 16 June 2006 (CHN) -- Further archeological excavations on the remains of Darius' palace which was discovered during the recent archeological excavations in Bolaghi Gorge by the Iran-French joint team, indicate that this palace was used as a summer settlement by Darius the Great and other Achaemenid kings. Studies on the stone pillars of the balcony show that the base of these pillars were constructed and decorated with white and black stones. These stones had been obtained from quarries which exist in Bolaghi Gorge.

"We believe that the area of the castle was something about one hectare. However, the excavations in this area indicate that the king's settlement area was only 30x30 meters, and therefore the remaining area must have been allocated to a small summer palace used by Darius during his reign," said Mohammad Taghi Atayi, Iranian head of the Iran-French joint archeology team in Bolaghi Gorge.

The evidence show that high qualified materials were used in the construction of this Achaemenid monument and its foundation was so strong that parts of it have survived over time despite a lot of destruction.

Prior to this, the joint Iran-French team succeeded in unearthing a black stone pedestal in this Achaemenid summer palace, which is now being kept in Parse Pasargadae Research Center. Atayi believes that discovery of the decorations used in the balcony is very helpful in identifying the architectural style used in this palace.

"The four-pillared balcony of the summer palace of Darius the Great was unearthed in area no. 34. While the discovered pedestals of the palace had a circular shape, those of the balcony were squared shape and were 65 by 65 centimeters. Construction of squared pedestals on which round pillars were set was a very common architectural style of the Achaemenid era (648-330 BC). We also succeeded in discovering the remains of black and white stones in this summer palace, similar to those which had already been found in Pasargadae and Sivand during final days of our excavations in area no. 34. Just like the stones used in the construction of Pasargadae monument, these stones have been scraped due to rain and cold weather of the region. Evidence show that they were used as the base of the pillars in the balcony of the summer palace," added Atayi.

"Discovery of these stones shows that black and white stones were used for construction and decoration of the squared pedestals and then the wooden pillars were placed on them over which the ceiling was built," explained Atayi.

After the end of the first season of excavations in area no. 34 of Bolaghi Gorge, the architectural style and the plan of this Achaemenid summer palace were revealed to a large extent and archeologists hope to unearth and identify the other remains of this historical monument during their second season of excavations.

Bolaghi Gorge located in Fars province is considered part of the cultural landscape of the Pasargadae World Heritage site. Excavations in Bolaghi Gorge started almost two years ago with the aim of saving its archeological evidence before the inundation of the nearby Sivand Dam. With flooding of the Sivand Dam, Bolaghi Gorge and its 130 historical sites unearthed so far will drown.

Following the Archeology Seminar for Bolaghi Gorge Salvation Project, held 23-24 of February 2006 in the city of Shiraz, it was officially announced that the inundation of the Sivand Dam will be postponed until the end of excavations.

... Payvand News - 6/16/06 ... --

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