iii. Seleucid and Parthian
Seleucid period. Very few monuments from this period have been discovered in Iran, and probably none from the time of Alexander the Great, though it has been argued by H. Luschey that the long known life-size stone lion of Hamadān was erected by Alexander as a cenotaph for his friend Hephaiston, who died suddenly at the games held in Ecbatana in 324 B.C. (AMI, N.F. 1, 1968, pp. 115ff.). The only other monument which could perhaps be attributed to the Alexandrian period is the town of Ai Khanum (Āy Ḵānom) in modern Afghanistan. P. Bernard, who excavated the site from 1964, does not rule out this possibility, though he is more inclined to date the foundation of the town from the reign of Seleucus I (312-28l B.C.) (Comptes Rendus de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, 1971, pp. 450f.; MDAFA 21, 1973; Comptes Rendus, 1975, pp. 167ff.). The famous capital of this Greco-Bactrian kingdom, Bactra, modern Balḵ, might also date to Alexander, however, the few excavations carried out there have produced no evidence concerning the Hellenistic period, and no firm conclusions can be drawn (A. Foucher, MDAFA 1, 1942, pp. 98ff.; J.-C. Gardin, MDAFA 15, 1957).
Failaka (Faylaka), Persian Gulf: In 1958-60, in the Saʿd wa Saʿīd tall at the southwestern end of Failaka island the Danish archeologists discovered a fortified settlement (a military camp?) and a small temple with antae. The plan and ornamentation (Ionian capitals, acroteria with palmettes) are Greek, and an inscription makes it clear that the site was built on in 239 B.C. In addition two Doric capitals were found, which the archeologists believe belong to a second temple that has not yet been unearthed. (See E. Albrectsen, KUML, 1958 , pp. 186ff.; O. Mørkholm, KUML, 1960, pp. 205ff.; E. Albrectsen, Illustrated London News 27, August, 1960, p. 351; Huitième Congrès International d’Archéologie Classique Paris 1963, 1965, p. 541; G. Bibby, Looking for Dilmun, New York, 1970, pp. 239ff., 329ff.; L. Hannestad in Arabie orientale, Mésopotamie et Iran méridional de l’âge de fer au début de la période islamique. Réunion de travail, Maison de l’Orient, Mémoire, Lyon, 1982, no. 37, pp. 59ff.)
Bīsotūn, Kermānšāh: The Hercules relief in Bīsotūn has a Greek inscription dating it to 148 B.C. It has been known for several years (ʿA. Ḥākemī, Maǰalla-ye Bāstān-šenāsī 3-4, 1958, pp. 3ff.; L. Robert, Gnomon 30, 1963, p. 76; W. Kleiss, AMI, N.F. 3, 1970, pp. 144-46; H. Luschey, Archäologischer Anzeiger, 1974, pp. 114ff.).
The majority of the following discoveries or sites can only be roughly dated within the Seleucid period. Some may even belong to the Parthian period.
Nehāvand, Lorestān: In 1946 a marble stele with two Greek inscriptions was found on the edge of the town. This suggests that the modern Nehāvand is identical with the town known in the Seleucid period as Laodikeia. Numerous bronze statuettes were also discovered on the same site, and a small circular stone altar (height 1 m) came to light near the marble stele. R. Ghirshman (Hellenica 7, 1949, p. 21) reported that, according to local inhabitants there had been six columns standing there some fifty years previously. The finds must therefore have belonged to one or more temples and presumably date back to the end of the 3rd or the beginning of the 2nd century B.C. (See L. Robert, Hellenica 7, 1949, pp. 5ff.; L. Vanden Berghe, Archéologie de l’Iran ancien, Leiden, 1959, pp. 90-91; R. Ghirshman, Iran: Parthians and Sassanians, London, 1962, p. l8).
Dīnavar, Kermānšāh: Here were found fragments of a stone vessel adorned with the heads of satyrs, silenes and maenads; date perhaps 3rd century B.C. (Vanden Berghe, op. cit., p. 110; R. Ghirshman, op. cit., p. 18; H. von Gall, AMI, N.F. 4, 1971, p. 195).
Dokkān-Dāʾūd, Kurdistan: The relief beneath the well-known rock-cut tomb (Achaemenid?) may belong to the Seleucid period (G. Hüsing, Der Alte Orient, 9/3-4, 1908, p. 15; N. C. Debevoise, JNES 1, 1942, p. 88; H. von Gall, Archäologischer Anzeiger, 1966, pp. 25, 33ff.; idem, AMI, N.F. 5, 1972, pp. 277ff., and in F. Bagherzadeh, ed., Proceedings of the Second Annual Symposium on Archaeological Research in Iran 1973, Tehran, 1974, pp. 139ff.).
Sakāvand, Kurdistan: There are three rock-cut tombs, one of which is decorated with a relief. Here again the question arises whether the relief goes back to the Seleucid period as Vanden Berghe surmises, or to the Achaemenid period, as von Gall argues. (H. von Gall, Archäologischer Anzeiger, 1966, p. 29; L. Vanden Berghe, On the Track of the Civilizations of Ancient Iran (Memo from Belgium, No. 104-105, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1968), p. 24; G. Gropp, AMI, N.F. 3, 1970, p. 175; H. von Gall, AMI, N.F. 5, 1972, pp. 277ff., and in Bagherzadeh, op. cit., pp. 141ff.).
Karaftū, Kurdistan: A cave used for cultic rituals and containing a Greek inscription dedicated to Hercules was discovered here in 1819 by R. Ker Porter. Opinions differ as to whether this inscription dates from the end of the 4th, or the beginning of the 3rd century B.C., or later. W. Kleiss also mentions the remains of a Parthian settlement. (A. Stein, Old Routes of Western Iran, London, 1940, pp. 324ff.; C. Hopkins, Ars Islamica 9, 1942, p. 220; W. Kleiss, AMI, N.F. 6, 1973, p. 187 [map]; H. von Gall, AMI 11, 1978, pp. 91ff.; P. Bernard, Studia Iranica 9, 1980, pp. 301 ff.).
Persepolis, Fārs: The well-known Frātadāra temple occupies an extensive site below the palace terrace at Persopolis. The precise purpose of the site as a whole and the relationship between the individual areas within it are not clear; only one small structure can be identified with any certainty as a shrine. The dating is disputed; my own opinion is that it dates from the period after 300 B.C. (ca. 280). According to recent investigations by Italian archeologists (1973-74) the site was laid out as early as the Achaemenid period and brought back into use in the Seleucid era and again later by the Frātadāra rulers. (See K. Schippmann, Die iranischen Feuerheiligtümer, Berlin and New York, 1971, pp. 177ff.; R. Ghirshman, Terrasses sacrées de Bard-è Néchandeh etMasjid i Solaiman I (MDAI 45), Paris, l976 pp. 200ff.; Boyce, Zoroastrianism II, p. 226).
Istakhr (Eṣṭaḵr), Fārs: Here a few portals, columns and the remains of bases have come to light. Whether they date from the Seleucid period is not certain, nor do we know their exact purpose. (Schippmann, op. cit., pp. 200ff.; F. D. Whitecomb, AMI, Enganzüngsb. 6, 1979, pp. 363ff.).
Pasargadae, Fārs: The first Achaemenid royal capital contains evidence of a subsequent Seleucid settlement which was abandoned about 280 B.C. (D. Stronach, Iran 3, 1975, pp. 18ff.; Schippmann, op. cit., pp. 181f.).
Tall-e Żoḥḥāk, Fārs: A marble head which A. Stein acquired here in 1934 during a preliminary search is supposed to have originated from this site nearby the small town of Fasā. Date: 250-150 B.C. In 1973 J. Hansmann investigated the site afresh and found among other things Hellenistic pottery. (A. Stein, Iraq 3, 1936, pp. 140-41; J. Hansmann, Acta Iranica 5, 1975, pp. 289ff.).
Khurha (Ḵūrha), Lorestān: The dating and purpose of the site are not clear. The ruins may be those of a temple, but there is no evidence for the common assumption that they date from the Seleucid period. A date from the Parthian era is also possible, according to W. Kleiss (AMI, N.F. 5, 1972, p. 160; and 6, 1973, pp. 180f.; see also Schippmann, op. cit., pp. 424ff.).
Susa (Šūš), Ḵūzestān: One of the most important Seleucid cities in Iran was Seleukia on the Eulaios, the modern Susa. The new Seleucid settlement lies beneath the tell known as the “ville des artisans” within the great ruins of Susa (Ghirshman, op. cit., p. 197). This tell was first excavated in 1947-48 by Ghirshman, who discovered a Seleucid/Parthian necropolis (ca. 300 B.C.-A.D. 200). In his next dig in 1949-50 he unearthed the famous “Achaemenian village.” Whereas Layer I belongs without doubt to the Achaemenid period, Layers II and III, which Ghirshman ascribed to the 6/5th and the 5/4th century B.C. respectively, are probably somewhat later, i.e. late Achaemenid and Seleucid, to about 250 B.C. (R. Ghirshman, RA 46, 1952, pp. 12ff.; and Village Perse-Achéménide, MDAI 36, 1954; D. Stronach, Iraq 36, 1974, pp. 239ff.)
Bard-e Nishande (Nešānda), Ḵūzestān: The site lies in the Baḵtīārī mountains and was excavated by Ghirshman between 1964 and 1967. The most important complex, apart from a castle and the lower part of the town, is an extensive site (ca. 157 x 94 m) used for religious ceremonies and consisting of an upper and a lower terrace. The former is supposed to have been built as early as the pre-Achaemenid period and was then enlarged in Hellenistic times. The lower terrace, however, with a temple dedicated—according to Ghirshman—to Anahita and Mithra, dates back no later than the Parthian period (R. Ghirshman, Terrasses sacrées; C. Augé, R. Curiel, and G. Le Rider, MDAI 44, 1979).
Masjed-i Sulaiman (Masǰed-e Solaymān) Ḵūzestān: This site was subjected to a preliminary investigation by Ghirshman in 1948 and then properly excavated in 1967-72. Here too we have extensive terracing used for cultic purposes. It is said to have originated in the pre-Achaemenid period and to have been considerably enlarged in the Hellenistic period. Two temples were then built, one dedicated—according to Ghirshman, op. cit.—to Athena Hippia (the “Grand Temple”), the other to Hercules (Ghirshman, op. cit.; C. Augé et al., op. cit.).
Šamī, Ḵūzestān: The site was discovered in 1936; the dates of the statues and statuettes found in the shrine are hotly disputed. Ghirshman (op. cit., I, p. 236 n. 1) believes that Šamī could be one of the two temples of the Seleucid ruler Antiochos IV Epiphanes (l75-164) which Mithridates I destroyed when he reconquered Elymais. In that case the well-known life-size bronze figure of a Parthian prince would be a work of the Hellenistic period. On the other hand H. von Gall (Istanbuler Mitteilungen 19-20, 1969-70, p. 304) dates this bronze from Šamī back to the second half of the 1st century B.C. and maintains that the temple could have been rebuilt after being razed by Mithridates. The precise function of the temple (a fire shrine?) is also a matter for speculation. (H. Seyrig, Syria 20, 1939, pp. 177ff.; Schippmann, Feuerheiligtümer, pp. 227ff.).
Baḵtīārī mountains: One alabaster torso of a female Greek divinity was discovered here (Ghirshman, Iran, p. 22).
Hecatompylos, Khorasan: Although this town is mainly known as one of the Parthian capitals, Appian (Syriaca 57) reports that Hecatompylos was founded by Seleucus I (312-281 B.C.). It is probably identical with the ruins of Shahr-i Qumis (Šahr-e Qūmes), some 32 km to the west of Dāmḡān in Khorasan. Excavations have been carried out here since 1967 under the direction of D. Stronach and J. Hansmann. They have of course been mainly interested in the Parthian remains, but evidence of a Hellenistic settlement has also come to light. (J. Hansmann, JRAS, 1968, pp. 111ff.; J. Hansmann and D. Stronach, JRAS, 1970, pp. 29ff. and in JRAS, 1974, pp. 8ff. On the Seleucid period see also L. Vanden Berghe and E. Haerinck, Bibliographie analytique de l’archéologie de l’Iran ancien, Leiden, 1979; Supplément 1: 1978-l980, Leiden, 1981.).
Parthian Period. There are considerably more monuments dating from this epoch than from the Seleucid period, perhaps because there has been greater interest in the Parthians in recent years. Through the numerous digs in the Soviet Union, especially in the Parthian capital Nisa, a fairly clear picture of this epoch has been recovered (see G. Frumkin, Archaeology in Soviet Central Asia, 1970; T. N. Zadneprovskaya, “Bibliographie de travaux soviétiques sur les Parthes,” Stud. Ir. 5, 1975, pp. 243ff.; E. Haerinck, La céramique en Iran pendant la période parthe [ca. 250 av. J.C. à ca. 225 après J.C.]. Typologie, chronologie et distribution, Gent, 1983; most Parthian sites in Iran are treated in this work). Most of the Parthian monuments currently known to us in Iran are to be found in the provinces of Kurdistan and Ḵūzestān . For the latter region the designation “Parthian” should be used with caution or qualification, for the areas of Susiana with Susa, and particularly Elymais, with the Baḵtīārī mountains, were ruled, from about 45 B.C., by Elymaid kings (their rule must have lasted at least until A.D. 200, see Le Rider, MDAI 38, 1965, pp. 426ff.). It may be the case therefore that certain finds, above all in what was ancient Elymais, might better be described as “Elymaid” sites or monuments (see also L. Vanden Berghe and K. Schippmann, Les reliefs rupestres d’Elymaïde à l’époque parthe, Louvain, 1985).
Susa, Ḵūzestān: On the tell known as the “ville des artisans” a Seleucid/Parthian necropolis was discovered in 1947-48 (R. Ghirshman, RA 46, 1952, pp. 12ff.). On the “Acropolis” tell the dig of 1950-51 uncovered a layer containing evidence of a Parthian settlement and found a large amount of Parthian pottery. This Parthian settlement was destroyed, perhaps by Ardašīr I (ibid., pp. 9f.). To the last phase of this Parthian settlement belongs the stele of Artabanus V, found in 1947 on the tell called the “Royal city.” It bears an inscription dated A.D. 215 (R. Ghirshman, Monuments et Mémoires publiés par l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres. Fondation Eug. Piot [Monuments Piot] 44, 1950, pp. 97ff.; W. B. Henning, Asia Major, N.S. 2, 1952, p.176; F. Altheim and R. Stiehl, Supplementum Aramaicum, Baden-Baden, 1957, pp. 98ff.; G. Le Rider, op. cit., p. 430).
Būhlahyāh, Ḵūzestān: In 1929, while carrying out a preliminary investigation of the tell known by this name in the neighborhood of Susa, J. Unvala discovered pottery and several sarcophagi from the Parthian period, in addition to older material (J. Unvala, RA 26, 1929, pp. 132ff.; L. Vanden Berghe, Archéologie, p. 83).
Dāstova, Ḵūzestān: In the course of a preliminary investigation of this site (3 km southeast of Šūštar) in 1969, A. A. Sarfarāz found among other things traces of a Parthian graveyard (A. A. Sarfarāz, Bastan Chenassi va Honar-e Iran (Revue d’Archéologie et d’Art iraniens)4, 1970, pp. 12-13; pp. 72ff. [Persian section]).
Bard-e Nešānda, Ḵūzestān: This great cultic terrace was also utilized in the Parthian period, when it was again extended. At this time a temple dedicated to the divinites Anahita and Mithra was erected on the lower terrace (Ghirshman, Terrasses sacrées).
Masǰed-e Solaymān, Ḵūzestān: Here too the religious buildings continued to be used in the Parthian period. The “Grand Temple” was rebuilt after being destroyed: at the end of the 2nd century A.D. and is dedicated to the gods Anahita and Mithra. The temple of Hercules remained intact and merely underwent some restoration work (Ghirshman, ibid.).
Qaḷʿa-ye Bardī (Tall-e Badr), Ḵūzestān: This is a terraced site again in the Baḵtīārī mountains that has not yet been investigated in detail (E. Keall, Expedition 13, 1971, p. 58).
Šamī, Ḵūzestān: It is debatable whether this dates from the Seleucid or the Parthian period (see above).
Tang-e Sarvak, Ḵūzestān: A group of rock reliefs with inscriptions, in the Baḵtīārī mountains. They depict such scenes as an investiture, the paying of homage, hunting and a battle, as well as an individual warrior. The execution of the reliefs and the establishment of the site as a whole certainly did not ensue all at once. At the end of 1973 E. de Waele found a fragment belonging to the partly damaged third relief (numbered according to his new system) at the foot of the rock. In 1963 J. P. Guépin discovered ruins above the ravine of Tang-e Sarvak; he believes this to be the site of the frequently mentioned temple of Artemis-Nanaia which Strabo refers to under the name of Ta Azara. (A. Stein, Old Routes, pp. 103ff.; W. B. Henning, Asia Major, N.S. 2, 1952, pp. 151ff.; L. Vanden Berghe, Archéologie, pp. 59-60; J-P. Guépin, Persica 2, 1965-66, pp. 19ff.; H. von Gall, AMI, N.F. 4, 1971, pp. 207ff.; E. de Waele, in Bagherzadeh, op. cit., pp. 254ff. [with a more recent bibliography], idem, RA 69, 1975, pp. 59ff.; R. Ghirshman, Terrasses sacrées, pp. 194-95.)
Ḵong-e Nowrūzī (Ḵong-e Azdar), Ḵūzestān: A rock relief on the edge of the plain of Izeh (Īḏa; Mālamīr); it depicts on the left a horseman with an attendant and on the right four figures, perhaps of vassal princes. The horseman has often been identified as Mithridates I (ca. 171-139/8 B.C.). In 1971 de Waele discovered a fragment of another relief on the ground in front of the first one (L. Vanden Berghe, Iranica Antiqua 3, 1963, pp. 155ff.; E. de Waele, RA 69, 1975, pp. 59ff.).
Ḵong-e Yār ʿAlīvand, Ḵūzestān: Barely 2 km to the west of Ḵong-e Nowrūzī there is another rock relief showing an investiture. It was found by W. Hinz in 1963, who very tentatively suggests the 1st century B.C. as a dating. (W. Hinz, Iranica Antiqua 3, 1963, pp. 169ff.; E. de Waele, RA 69, 1975, pp. 65ff.)
Ḵong-e Kamālvand, Ḵūzestān: 15 km northwest of Ḵong-e Yār ʿAlīvand, W. Hinz discovered a rock relief depicting two figures—a horseman, and someone standing to the right of him. Above the two figures runs a problematic one-line Aramaic inscription. It may be dated to about the end of the 1st century A.D. (W. Hinz, Iranica Antiqua 3, 1963, pp. 170ff.).
Bīdzard, Ḵūzestān: 15 km south of Ḵong-e Nowrūzī there was a relief carved on a block of stone; it depicted two figures—probably a sacrificial scene, like the “Parthian stone” in Bīsotūn. When de Waele visited the spot in 1971 the block had disappeared (L. Vanden Berghe, Iranica Antiqua 3, 1963, pp. l67-68).
Mehernān, Ḵūzestān: Near the village of that name on the Kārūn (about 25 km directly north of Izeh) lies a site consisting of one fairly large and two smaller tepes, which were discovered by the present author in 1968. On the larger tepe there is a block of stone bearing the image of a male figure (a warrior?); this might be the site of a temple (Schippmann, Feuerheiligtümer, pp. 221ff.; E. de Waele, Orientalia Lovaniensa Analecta 13 (= Studia Paulo Naster Oblata II. Orientalia Antiqua, Leuven, 1982, pp. 37ff.).
Šīmbār (Tang-e Būtan), Ḵūzestān: In a valley some 60 km northeast of Masǰed-e Solaymān there are several rock reliefs (investiture scenes, including a depiction of Hercules), a small site, and Aramaic inscriptions (A. D. H. Bivar and S. Shaked, BSOAS 27, 1964, pp. 265ff.; K. Schippmann, op. cit., pp. 258ff.; G. Scarcia, Oriens Antiquus 18, 1979, pp. 255ff.).
Tarāz, Ḵūzestān: A badly worn rock relief northeast of Šīmbār, depicting an investiture scene (L. Vanden Berghe, On the Track of the Civilizations of Ancient Iran, p. 19).
Kūh-e Tīnā, Ḵūzestān: 100 km west of Tarāz, Vanden Berghe discovered another rock relief, again ravaged by wind and weather; it shows two people, one of them reclining (Vanden Berghe, ibid.).
Kangāvar, Kermānšāh: Here stood the great Anahita temple known since classical times, and there still remains the great complex of a structure which the Iranian Department of Antiquities excavated from 1968 on. Previously it was believed that this enormous complex was erected in the Seleucid period, but now it is known that it dates from the late Sasanian epoch. However, a graveyard dating back to Parthian times has also been discovered. (Schippmann, Feuerheiligtümer, pp. 298ff.; Kāmbaḵš-Fard, Bastan Chenassi va Honar-e Iran 6, 1971, pp. 10ff.; in Bagherzadeh, op. cit., pp. 10ff. [Persian section]; Bastan Chenassi 9-10, 1972, pp. 2ff.; 3rd Symposium 1974, pp. 73ff. [Persian section]; and Iran 11, 1973, pp. 196-97; M. Azarnoush, AMI 14, 1981, pp. 69ff.).
Kangāvar valley, Kermānšāh: In this valley T. C. Young, Jr. found ninety-five Parthian settlements, large and small, in the course of a survey in 1974 (T. Cuyler Young, Jr., Iran 13, 1975, p. 192 and in 3rd Symposium, pp. 23ff.).
Bīsotūn, Kermānšāh: Two Parthian rock reliefs have been known for some time: That on which four satraps render homage to Mithridates II (123-88/7 B.C.) is badly damaged, but the design can be reconstructed thanks to a drawing made by a 17th-century European traveler. (See E. Herzfeld, Am Tor Von Asien, Berlin, 1920, pp. 36ff.; U. Kahrstedt, Artabanus III und seine Erben, Berlin, 1950, pp. 19-20; L. Vanden Berghe, Archéologie, p. 107.) The well-known “Parthian stone” is a large square block, with among other figures, a Parthian (king?) depicted on one of its sides. A few years ago G. Gropp discovered an inscription on the stone, which, he believes, incorporates the royal name Vologases (Herzfeld, op. cit., p. 55; W. Kleiss, AMI, N.F. 3, 1970, pp. 147-48; G. Gropp, ibid., p. 200). At the eastern corner of the Bīsotūn massif, above the Hercules relief, the German digs of 1964-66 uncovered a settlement that seems to have reached the peak of its prosperity in the Parthian period (see Kleiss, op. cit., pp. 133ff.).
Ṭāq-e Bostān, Kermānšāh: In 1970 Kāmbaḵš-Fard discovered a Parthian necropolis in close proximity to the well-known Sasanian grotto and rock-reliefs, and a Parthian settlement 50-60 m west of Ṭāq-e Bostān, on a hill called “Kūh-e Pārū” (S. Matheson, Persia: An Archaeological Guide, 2nd ed., London, 1976, p. 131).
Qaḷʿa Yazdegerd, Kurdistan: This large site is some 40 km east of Qaṣr-e Šīrīn; excavations were begun by E. J. Keall in 1975. Though initially a Sasanian dating was assumed, Keall now believes that the ruins go back to the late Parthian period. The site as a whole encompasses several fairly large complexes, such as a fortified palace and an extensive garden with a pavilion. (E. J. Keall, Iran 14, 1976, pp. 161ff.; 17, 1979, pp. 158ff.; 18, 1980, pp. 1ff.)
Sarpol-e Zohab (Sar-e Pol-e Ḏohāb, also Sar-e Pol), Kurdistan: A Parthian relief with inscriptions, depicts a horseman and a figure standing in front of him. On the basis of the inscriptions Gropp believes the horseman to be Gotarzes I. (G. Gropp, ZDMG 118, 1968, pp. 315ff.; idem, AMI, N.F. 3, 1970, p. 201; L. Trumpelmann and G. Gropp, Iranische Denkmäler, II. Reihe, Lieferung 7, Sarpol-i Zohab, Berlin, 1976; M. L. Chaumont, Syria 56, 1979, pp. 153ff.)
Nush-i Jan (Nūš-e Jān), Kurdistan: Near the extensive and long-known Median sites, D. Stronach discovered a subsequent Parthian settlement whose origins date back to about 100 B.C. (D. Stronach, Iran 12, 1974, pp. 214ff.; idem, Iran 13, 1975, pp. 187-88; idem in Bagherzadeh, 3rd Symposium 1974, p. 132).
Hamadān: Near the well-known stone lion, a Parthian graveyard dated to the first century B.C.—first century A.D. was uncovered by an Iranian team in 1974 (M. Azarnoush, Iran l3, 1975, pp. 181ff. and idem in Bagherzadeh, op. cit., [Persian section], pp. 51ff ; idem, in AMI, Ergänzungsb. 6, 1979, pp. 281ff.)
Nūrābād, Fārs: The dating and purpose of this long-known tower site are debated: some believe it to be Parthian, others Sasanian (Schippmann, Feuerheiligtümer, pp. 153ff.; D. Huff, AMI, N.F. 8, 1975, pp. 187ff.; W. Kleiss, AMI, N.F. 5, 1972, pp. 199ff.).
Ḵārg Island, Persian Gulf: The two “Palmyrene” rock graves belong, in E. Haerinck’s view, to the Parthian period, that is, to the 2nd or 3rd century A.D. (E. Haerinck, Iranica Antiqua 11, 1975, pp. 134ff.).
Ray: During the excavations of 1934-36, a Parthian temple was found by E. Schmidt; he and his colleagues ascribed it to a period ranging from the first century B.C. to the first century A.D., on the basis of coins found on the site (Schippmann, Feuerheiligtümer, p. 400).
Taḵt-e Solaymān, Azerbaijan: On this long-familiar site with its extensive Sasanian ruins (temple and palace), intensive excavations have discovered no substantial traces of a Parthian settlement (see D. Huff, Archäologischer Anzeiger, 1975, pp. 140, 168); the commonly held opinion that Taḵt-e Solaymān is identical with the Parthian city of Phraaspa (Phraata) is therefore no longer tenable (Schippmann, op. cit., pp. 309ff.; R. Naumann, D. Huff, and R. Schnyder, Archäologischer Anzeiger, 1975, pp. 109ff.; H. H. von der Osten and R. Naumann, Takht-i Sulaiman, Berlin, 1967; and more recently D. Huff, Iran 16, 1978, pp. 194f., and 17, 1979, p.153; W. Kleiss, Archäologischer Anzeiger, 1979, pp. 605-06; R. Naumann, AMI, Ergänzungsb. 6, 1979, pp. xxiff.).
Garmī, Azerbaijan: 120 km northeast of Ardabīl; in 1965 a large Parthian necropolis was discovered here by Kāmbaḵš-Fard. It probably dates to the first century A.D. (Barrasīhā-ye tārīḵī, 1346 Š./1967, pp. 4ff.).
Qaḷʿa Żoḥḥāk, Azerbaijan: On the railway line from Marāḡa to Mīāna are fairly extensive sites dating back to various periods. The best preserved building is a pavilion-like structure which, according to W. Kleiss, belongs to the Parthian period (Schippmann, Feuerheiligtümer, pp. 424ff.; W. Kleiss, AMI, N.F. 6, 1973, pp. 163 ff.).
Daylamān and Gīlān: A Japanese expedition carried out various surveys and subsequent digs from 1960 onwards. As a result three Parthian necropolises were discovered—in Nowrūzmaḥalla, Ḵorramrūd and Ḥasanīmaḥalla (N. Egami, S. Fukai and S. Masuda, Dailaman II, Tokyo University Iraq-Iran Achaeological Expedition Report 7, Tokyo, 1960; T. Sono and S. Fukai, Dailaman III, Tokyo, 1968).
Šāh-pīr, Gīlān: A site in the Ḥalīmaǰān valley; here in 1976 a Parthian necropolis was discovered by S. Fukai (3rd-1st century B.C.). (Exposition des dernières découvertes archéologiques 1975-76 (catalogue), 5ième Symposium annuel de la recherche archéologique en Iran, Centre Iranien de Recherches Archéologiques, Tehran, 1976, p. 22; S. Fukai and T. Matsutani, Halimehjan I. The Excavation at Shah Pir 1976, Tokyo University . . . Report 16, Tokyo, 1980).
Gabrī Qaḷʿa, Gorgān: 15 km east of Gonbad-e Qābūs; here, while conducting a small-scale dig in 1974, M. Kīānī came across the square plan of a town (about 36 hectares in area), surrounded by inner and outer walls (M. Kīānī, in Bagherzadeh, 3rd Symposium 1974, pp. 147ff. [Persian section]; idem, Parthian Sites in Hyrcania. The Gurgan Basin, AMI, Erganzüngsb. 9, Berlin, 1982, pp. 56-57, with reference to many Parthian sites in Gorgān.)
Dašt-e Qaḷʿa, Gorgān: Southeast of Gonbad-e Qābūs; during the same survey M. Kīānī carried out a limited dig on this extensive city site; he is of the opinion that this would be the location of the Parthian city of Sirinx,(Kīānī, op. cit., pp. 48ff.).
Šahr-e Qūmes, Khorasan: See Hecatompylos under Seleucid Period.
Rebāṭ-e Safīd (Bāz-e Ḵor), Khorasan: A series of sites including a čahār-ṭāq, which lie 71 km north of Torbat-e Haydarī have been known for some time. According to the results of an investigation by U. W. Hallier the buildings date not from the Sasanian period, as had been assumed hitherto, but from the Parthian period (Schippmann, Feuerheiligtümer, pp. 13ff.; U. Hallier, AMI, N.F. 8, 1975, pp. 143 ff.).
Neh, Khorasan: About 190 km south of Bīrǰand on the road between Mašhad and Zāhedān; U. W. Hallier investigated the site in 1973 and concluded from the masonry techniques used that the ruins dated to the Parthian period (U. W. Hallier, AMI, N.F. 7, 1974, pp. 173ff.).
Naḵlak, Kermān: About 30 km directly north of Anārak. This ancient mining settlement has been known since 1890; it was investigated by Hallier in 1970-71. On the basis of plaster and mortar analyses and fourteen individual excavations, he came to the conclusion that the čahār-ṭāq, mine and fortification (this last with certain reservations—it could also be Sasanian) date from the Parthian period (U. Hallier, AMI, N.F. 5, 1972, pp. 285ff. and also in AMI, N.F. 6, 1973, pp. 195ff.).
Qaḷʿa Zarī, Kermān: A mining complex south of Bīrǰand. The site of the fortification was investigated in 1972 by Hallier; though he ascribed it to the Sasanian period, he conceded that it could also be Parthian in origin. L. Trümpelmann, however, surmises that it belongs to the Islamic period (ZA 66, 1976, p. 149; U. W. Hallier, AMI, N.F. 6, 1973, pp. 189ff.).
Tepe Yaḥyā, Kermān: 225 km south of Kermān. The excavations, which have been taking place since 1967 under the direction of C. Lamberg-Karlovsky, brought to light a Parthian citadel during Phase I (C. Lamberg-Karlovsky, Iran 7, 1969, p. 185; idem “Progress Report I,” Peabody Museum, Harvard Bulletin 27, 1970, pp. 6ff.; idem, Iran 9, 1971, p. 182).
Kūh-e Khwaja (Ḵᵛāǰa), Sīstān: The extensive site, originally discovered by A. Stein and E. Herzfeld, was investigated in part by G. Gullini in a short expedition of 1960. According to his findings the palace and the fire temple were already in existence in the Parthian period (G. Gullini, Architettura Iranica dagli Achemenidi ai Sasanidi, Turin, 1969; Schippmann, Feuerheiligtümer, pp. 57ff.).
Qaḷʿa-ye Sām (Se-Kūha), Sīstān: 32 km south of Zābol; the large fortified site was investigated by U. Scerrato in 1964 and thought to have originated in the Parthian period (Gullini, ibid., pp. 303ff.).
Sīstān: This province contains numerous other settlements and sites probably from the Parthian period (W. A. Fairservis, Jr., Archaeological Studies in the Seistan Basin of South-Western Afghanistan and Eastern Iran, Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History, vol. 48, pt. 1, New York, 1961, p. 101).
Given in the text. Many sites other than those discussed above have been discovered in the course of various surveys, for which ceramic finds indicate a Parthian dating, but the evidence in general is very inconclusive.
Azerbaijan: For a general survey, see S. Swiny, East and West 25, 1975, p. 96.
For sites, see AMI 2, 1969, p. 31 (Rowzan Dowzaḵ); 3, 1970, p. 112 (Kez Kalesī); 5, 1972, pp. 160 (Laylān), 168 ff. (Daškal-e Żoḥḥāk), 6, 1973, pp. 186-87 (Daškal-e Żoḥḥāk, map of other sites); 8, 1975, pp. 78-79 (Qaḷʿa Oḡlū); Iran 14, 1976, p. 158 (Haftavān). Kurdistan: See AMI 2, 1969, p. 26 (Karaftū); 6, 1973, p. 41 (Tepe ʿAẓīma); 8, 1975, pp. 76-77 (Hamadān), 126 (Tepe ʿAẓīma), 135 (Ḵarkon, Malāyer). Luristan: See AMI 6, 1973, p. 41, and 8, 1975, pp. 135 (Tepe Ḵoragī), Acta Archaeologica 45, 1974, pp. 37, 42-44 (Hūlaylān region). Gorgān: See D. Stronach, Excavations in Iran, Oxford, 1972, p. 23 (Yārem Tepe). J. Deshayes in Iran 11, 1973, p. 148; and 12, 1974, pp. 227, 231 (Tūreng Tepe). Ḵūzestān: H. Kantor in Bāstānšenāsī 7-8, 1971, pp. 37-38 (Čogā Mīš).
Originally Published: December 15, 1986
Last Updated: August 11, 2011
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Vol. II, Fasc. 3, pp. 297-301