Discovery of Ashkanid graves thanks to gas pipes

Discovery of Ashkanid graves thanks to gas pipes
ID : N-355 Date : 2017/09/24 - 14:01

(Persia digest)-  When Alexander the Macedonian died in 330 BCE in ‘Sad Darvazeh Damghan’ in Semnan and part of the Seleucid Empire disintegrated, the Ashkanid spread their kingdom in this area and gradually scattered around the country.

Today, at a distance of 380 kilometers from this historic area which has been named as the Ashkanid Seat following discovery, gas pipelines have been a blessing in disguise for another historic discovery named after the village next door, Vastmin. This village is distinguished from other archaeological sites by its family, Ashkanid soldier, and even horse burial spaces, type of architecture, and artefacts discovered here. Therefore, an MoU has been signed to divert the gas pipeline for the three northern provinces of Iran altogether to allow for serious excavations on this historical site.

The first stage of excavations began in 2015, leading to the discovery of 60 burial spaces, 48 of which have already been explored. The remaining 12 will be studied this year to define the extent of the site. Presently, it is estimated to be six hectares.

The excavation team supervisor has divided the graves into the three categories of ‘rectangular spaces or corridors’, ‘entrance or doorway between the corridors’, and the ‘tower of silence’.

When asked if any different burial spaces had been discovered belonging to dignitaries, Sharifi replied that most of the objects found in the graves are similar, except for a few horse burials. The burial spaces belong to families of up to five persons each. If there was not enough room in a burial space for a family member, the bones and objects belonging to another person were amassed to one side to make room for the next burial. This was called a ‘secondary burial’. In other cases, the next person was buried in the corridor.

Objects found in theses spaces are made of pottery, glassware, stone, metal, earthenware, and range from war weapons, bayonets, swords, ornamental objects, earrings, bangles, and bead necklaces which are being studied.

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