Source: Tehran Times
A team of U.S. and Iranian archaeologists have recently commenced a series of underwater excavations to identify the ruins of the historical port of Siraf in the Persian Gulf.
A guard (L) accompanies an unidentified man taking photos in the ruins of the historical port of Siraf in an undated photo.
With a about an 1100-year-old history, Siraf is located in the northwestern part of Bushehr Province in southern Iran.
At one time, the port had been one of the major centers for marketing pearls and silk in the region, but it was gradually submerged over the centuries, Iranian Center for Archaeological Research (ICAR) Director Mahmud Mireskandari told the Persian service of ISNA on Monday.
The team led by Iranian archaeologist Hossein Tofiqian and U.S.-based Iranian expert Sorna Khakzad have been engaged in their studies since July 16.
"The U.S. archaeologists have brought special equipment necessary for underwater excavation as we do not have such gear in Iran," Mireskandari said.
The team is currently working with the equipment and if the experts identify any trace of the port, we will then make arrangements for more excavation, he added.
"Three or four archaeological strata have previously been identified at the site. The most ancient layer dates back to the Parthian period, and the major archeological strata are related to the Sassanid era and the early Islamic period" Siraf Cultural Heritage Studies Center former director Behruz Marbaghi said.
He said that most of the archeological strata have been submerged under the sea.
"According to some historians, the city of Siraf had a population of about 300,000 during the early Islamic era and this fact shows that it was a large city. However, today, just 7000 people live in Siraf in a small area," Marbaghi said.
He described the historical society of Siraf as civilization and said, "If the archeologists can identify the Siraf civilization, the history of the region should be revised."
"No scientific studies have been carried out so far on Siraf," Khakzad, a Ph.D. Student at the University of Leuven in Belgium, said.
"There is no information about the ancient history of economic exchanges in Siraf, except those that were collected by British archaeologist David Whitehouse and his Iranian colleagues in six seasons of excavation during the 1970s," she added.
Names of the U.S. experts in the archaeological project were not mentioned.
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