Persica Antiqua

Persica Antiqua

Persica Antiqua, Volume 1, Issue 1, Summer and Autumn 2021



An Anatomic Study of Wood Charcoal Discovered from the Archaeological Site of Kelar, Kelardasht in North of Iran

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This study aims to present qualitative and quantitative explanations of eight kinds of charcoal discovered from an archeological site at Tepe Kelar in northern Iran. The excavations were carried out in 2006 and 2008. In addition to cultural remains, different kinds of charcoals were discovered hence, their descriptive analysis provided valuable information about culture and ecology of the region during the prehistoric period. To analyze the samples, thin transverses and their radial sections were prepared and analyzed using Electron Microscope, and specifications of the vessels, tissue, wood rays, and other elements of them were measured and recorded. The identification of the woods was initially conducted through the microscopic properties of hardwood and the findings were then compared with the Atlas of woods in North of Iran. The taxonomic identification using the wood anatomy showed that four samples belong to the genus Fagus Orientalis Lipsky 1898, one of which belongs to genus Corylus Avellana 1753 and the remaining three samples were not recognizable due to their small size. In the third trench, ruins of a metal melting kiln were discovered together with large pieces of charcoals. It is likely that wood species identified in this study were used to melt metals in the Bronze and Iron Ages.

Reflecting on the Thebes Treasure and its Kassite Findings, The Glyptic Art and its Geo-Political Context and Distribution

تعداد بازدید : ۶۵ تعداد دانلود : ۳۹
Kassites were an Iranian ethnic group and lived in the Zagros Mountains. Although the origin of Kassites is not certain, many scholars, according to archaeological, linguistic studies, and ancient written sources, have tended to target the Zagros Mountains (it is probable Luristan province) as their original homeland. They ruled Babylonia almost continuously from 17/16th to c.1155 BC. The Elamites conquered Babylonia in the 12th BC. Individual Kassites occupied important positions in the kingdom of Babylonia and even Karduniash. In accordance with the history, archaeology, and art of the Kassites, significant studies have been conducted outside Iran and the results have been published in books and articles, but no appropriate research has been done in Iran during this period. The discovery of a Kassite group of seals in Greece probably indicates cultural-political exchanges in that region. This paper studies the Kassite seals reflecting on the so-called Thebes treasure (Greece) and its findings referred to the Kassite group of the Late Bronze Age. The research method is descriptive-analytical (content) which is based on library studies. Many questions are addressed in this research, but the main questions are consisting of 1- Why and how were the Near Eastern Seals imported to Thebes into an Aegean palatial centres? 2 - How were the chronology and the usage of the seals? 3 - Were they also intended to be used as raw material? 4 - Was it because they were considered to be simple jewellery or because of their amuletic character? The seals are coming from various regions (Mesopotamia, Syria, Hittite Anatolia, Cyprus) and perhaps preserved all together in a wooden box. The meaning of this collection is enforced because of the other precious objects found with the seals revealing how this treasure represents the most important finding of Kassite archeology outside the Mesopotamia and its strong impact on the Greek culture.

Urartian Lion Figure: The Travelling Motif in the Ancient Near East

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Urartians ruled over the shores of Lake Urmia in Iran, Lake Van in Turkey and Sevan Lake in Armenia between 9th and 6th centuries B.C. and they had left a large number of metal artifacts. Urartians illustrated different human, animal, plant and mythical motifs on their metal objects. But lion was more common among those motifs. Urartian lion was depicted with open jaw, wrinkled face, small ears and short mane. The author suggests to study each figure separately in comparison with other cultures therefore it seems that the Urartian lions are similar to Assyrian, Hittite, Achaemenid and Etruscan lions. This Urartian motif could have been affected by the immigration, travel, savory or employing of the artists or workers from Assyrian or Hittite regions to Urartu. Urartian artists could have affected the other regions with the same reasons. A few scholars have been interested on this motif in comparison with pre and post Urartian culture. It is the aim of the author to field and library research the Urartian lion motif along with its comparison with Assyrian, Hittite, Achaemenid and Etruscan lions to trace the possible effects. 

Functional Analysis of the Structure No. 3 of Dahān-e Qolāmān in Sistan of Iran

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Dahān-e Qolāmān is one of the Achaemenid sites in the eastern part of Iran. Archaeologically, it is significant since it is the only excavated Achaemenid site at eastern half of Iran and relatively revealing information on urbanization, architecture, administrative, religious, industrial buildings as well as pottery manufacturing.  The most important structure of Dahān-e Qolāmān is “Building No. 3” that has attracted the attention of different archaeologists and experts on its function. Ovens and fireplaces are among most important features of the structure that culminated to high variations at period “B”. Considering finding archaeological evidences and their comparison to Zoroastrian written sources, especially Avesta, it appears that the Building No. 3 belonged to Zoroastrians from Dranka province, and the regional Satrap supervised its construction according to orthodox religious basics, while fundamentally differs from Zoroastrian beliefs of western Iran.

Mounted Combat Scenes on the Bronze Plaque from Sana’a, Amazonomachia in Yemen?

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The cavalry battle scene depicted on the Himyarite bronze plaque, being possibly a part of horse harness, reveals some relation with Iranian iconography of Parthian and Sasanian times. The relation is not direct and there are numerous differences with the Iranian fighting scenes. The composition does not directly refer to any of the Parthian or Sasanian battle reliefs or toreutics and seems to follow earlier, Hellenistic traditions, enriched by the Iranian and local detail. The direct confrontation, without immediate determination of the victorious and defeated sides, was avoided in Iranian iconography which aimed in glorification of royal heroism, being always victorious and only victorious cosmic power. The differences between the equipment of the depicted personages, clashing in cavalry combat, allow to identify the scene as a local version of classical amazonomachia with some Iranian iconographic elements added. Generally, the long lances were in Parthian and Sasanian times perceived as Iranian element of warfare and included to Iranian iconography of royal power, even if the tactical idea of employment of long lances, most likely, reached Iran with the Macedonians. It is possible that the female warriors in capalin/morion types of helmets of post Hellenistic origin clash with the warriors wearing scale armour covering entire body. The possibly-female warriors are shown in garments or nude and they seem to refer to iconographies of Athena-type goddesses in oriental environments. The latter motif of naked Amazon in combat is not popular in main-stream classical art but is occasionally attested. Scale overalls may refer to Roman imagery of heavy cavalry of Sarmatian origin. The piece, together with another rock relief, prove knowledge of Iranian-type heavy cavalry among Himyarites who attempted to follow or imitate the prestige of both great empires of the time.

Armenia in Political and Military Activities of Ardaxšīr I

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In first half of the third century Armenia was much more than an independent buffer state with no wider cultural context, simply placed between two superpowers of the era – Iran and Rome. The idea of the Iranian character of Arsacid’s Armenia should be accepted without further doubts. Political situation of the kingdom changed with taking over the power in Iran by the Persian Dynasty of the Sasanians. Ardaxšīr ī Pābagān utilised the weakening of the Arsacids and stood up against the Parthian dynasty. After defeating Ardawān IV in 224 he declared himself the šāhānšāh of Iran. One of the directions of the military actions of the founder of the new dynasty was an attack against the kingdom of Armenia which was , at the time, ruled by the last branch of the Arsacid royal house and became the last resort of resistance against new authority. Research literature usually limits the problem of early wars with Armenia to information that probably in the late 220s, Ardaxšīr attacked Armenia. Occasionally, the topic is tackled as historical context of the relief from Salmās in Ādurbādagān. An interesting hypothesis based on the interpretation of the Salmās relief was put forward by Eshan Shavarebi, who assumes that between 240 and 242 there may have been an agreement between Ardaxšīr and the Armenians. However, it seems that this hypothesis is built on too fragile foundations. The main motive of the initial actions of the first Sasanian ruler was an attempt to remove the opposition associated with the Parthian dynasty. This motive may be observed in context of Ardaxšīr’s military actions towards Arabic city of Ḥaṭrā.

Archeological Excavations at Tol-e Sangi in Fars Province, Iran

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Development of the pottery-making technology in Neolithic societies of different regions, or transition from aceramic to Ceramic Neolithic has always been an important topic of research for archaeologists. Needless to say, this innovation was associated with major social developments. Since the 1950s, a lot of discussion has evolved around the origins of Neolithic societies and their development (e.g. Vanden Berghe, 1951-1952: 54; 1953-1954; Fukai et al., 1973; Sumner, 1972; 1977; Maeda, 1986; Alizadeh, 2004; 2006; Nishiaki, 2010a,b; Azizi Kharanaghi et al., 2013; Weeks, 2006; 2013; Khanipour et al., 2021). Taking into account the rather long history of the Neolithic period studies in this site, there remain some unanswered questions. The most important of which is the problem of its chronology. The beginning of the Fars Neolithic period in Iran is not certain yet, the fact that how, when and from where the inhabitants of Neolithic populations entered Fars is not fully clear yet as well (Alizadeh, 2004: 75).