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Eastern Porch of Darius' Palace Discovered in Bolaghi Gorge

By Soudabeh Sadigh
Following the discovery of black plinths, archeologists succeeded in pinpointing the location of the eastern porch of a palace denoted to Achaemenid King Darius the Great, found recently in Bolaghi Gorge, Fars province.

Archeologists studying remains of a palace
denoted to Achaemenid king Darius the Great,
at Bolaghi Gorge
Tehran, 5 March 2007 (CHN) -- In continuation of their excavations in area number 34 of the historic site of Bolaghi Gorge where evidence of a palace denoted to Achaemenid Emperor Darius the Great (549-486 BC) had previously been discovered, Iranian and French archeologists succeeded in discovering the eastern porch of the palace.
Announcing this news, Mohammad Taghi Atayi, Iranian head of the Iranian-French archeology team told CHN: "A black cubic plinth was discovered during the first days of excavations in the area which was later found to have been built by stones obtained from Majdabad query."
According to Atayi, three meters from the place where this plinth was unearthed, another pillar base was found which was very similar to the first one. Since this pillar base was discovered at the opposite site from the western porch, it is believed that it must have belonged to the eastern porch, constructed symmetric to the western one. "Since the western porch was four-columned, we were expecting to find four pedestals in the eastern one as well; however, we found out that the eastern porch, which has a dimension of 9x6 meters, was constructed with two columns with two small chambers in place of the other two pillars, making the palace look like those of the historic site of Pasargadae," explained Atayi.
Prior to this and during the first season of excavations in area number 34 of Bolaghi Gorge, archeologists had succeeded in discovery of a round black pedestal with the design of an inverted lotus flower carved around. This pedestal was supposed to have belonged to the eastern porch of the palace; however, the idea was rejected after the new discovery since the newly found pillar base has a cubic shape and exhibits no similarity to the one found earlier.
Some of the palace's pedestals have been moved from their original places due to activities of bulldozers in the area, something that has made it difficult for archeologists to decide which part of the palace any of these pedestal mush have belonged to.
"We assume that the black round pedestal might have belonged to another part of the palace, most probably the central hall. Still we hope to find the original place of the pedestal by finding more similar pedestals in the area during our excavations," said Atayi.
Head of the excavation team in area number 34 of Bolaghi Gorge further explained that three kinds of pedestal have so far been unearthed in the area including the black and white cubic plinths in the western porch, the cubic black plinths found in the eastern porch, and the round one with the design of an inverted lotus flower possibly belonging to the central hall.
Discovery of pieces of bricks, 45x33 centimeters in size which are bigger than standard bricks used in other Achaemenid structures are among the other discoveries in area number 34 of Bolaghi Gorge. "Discovery of these bricks is somehow strange and shows that might not have been used in the walls and most probably were used for flooring the palace," explained Atayi.
Regarding other archeological achievements in the area, Atayi said: "A raised platform constructed with rubbles has also been discovered during this season of archeological excavations in the area. This raised platform was constructed in front of the eastern porch and just like the plan used in the western porch, it is built in the northeast direction."
According to Atayi, the discovered palace is rectangular in shape. He further said that archeologists have not yet succeeded to reach to the main floor; however, it is expected that the height of this part of the palace which was luckily not destroyed by bulldozers must have been 1.5 meters, 80 centimeters of which has so far been unearthed.
Excavations by the team of Irano-Franch archeologists are directed by Mohammad Taghi Atayi from Iran's Archeology Research Center and Remy Boucharlat from the French Institute of Archeology. The team's most stunning discovery was that of the gigantic palace, believed to have belonged to Darius the Great.
Palace of Darius the Great to be Unearthed in Bolaghi Gorge

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