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6/16/06

More Ancient Hills Discovered in Burnt City (Shahr-Soukhteh)

Archeologists were able to find 8 pre-historic and 2 historic hills in the vicinity of Burnt City (Shahr-Soukhteh). This is while 127 ancient hills had already been found in this region.

Tehran, 18 June 2006 (CHN) -- Archeological excavations in Burnt City led to discovery of eight pre-historic and two historic hills. With this discovery, the number of discovered hills in this region reached to 137.

"The excavation team succeeded in discovery of 10 historic hills near Burnt City. These hills are located 8 kilometers from the Burnt City and it seems that most of them must have been satellite villages of this city. Discovery of an oilstone in one of these historical hills which is very similar to those previously found in the Achaemenid city of Dahaneh Gholaman in Sistan province has strengthened the idea that this historic hill must have belonged to the Achaemenid era," said Alireza Khosravi, head of the office of Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization in the Burnt City.

Dahaneh Gholaman was discovered in 1960 by Italian archeologists 40 kilometers from the Burnt City, Sistan va Baluchestan province. Archeological evidence shows that Dahaneh Gholaman historical site dates back to the Achaemenid era (648-330 BC) and is considered one of the very few known Achaemenid sites in Iran. Remains of several religious and governmental complexes of the Achaemeinid era are still evident in this city. It consists of buildings set up above agricultural lands so that the houses would be protected against the threat of seasonal floods caused by the nearby Hirmand River.

"A lot of questions still exist about what happened to the people of this historical city after they abandoned the Burnt City. Archeologists are trying to find traces of their migration," added Khosravi.

According to Khosravi, it is believed that 700 historical hills must have existed near the Burnt City, while only 137 of them have been identified so far.

Burnt City, located some 55 kilometers off Zabol in the southeastern Sistan va Baluchestan province, was once one of the largest cities around 3200 BC and enjoyed a high civilization and urbanization at that time. The city had four stages of civilization and was burnt down three times. Since it was not rebuilt after the last blaze around 2100 BC, it was named the Burnt City. Despite nine seasons of archeological excavations in this ancient site, myriad mysteries have remained unraveled.


Copyright (c) 2006 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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