Ancient Burnt City’s lost temple: Sajjadi


TEHRAN, Nov. 12 2006 (MNA) -- A team of archaeologists has returned to the Burnt City to search for a temple at the site’s Building One, where some evidence had been discovered during the nine previous seasons of excavations indicating that the building may have been a temple.

“The building is one of the large structures discovered in the urban area of the site, and the team is searching for further documentation and evidence to prove the function of the building,” team director Mansur Sajjadi told the Persian service of CHN on Sunday.

The theory is most probably correct, Sajjadi said.

“There is a high probability – we are almost certain -– that the building is a 5000-year-old temple. However, to prove the hypothesis in the world of archaeology, we need to search for further evidence,” he added.

Building One has been constructed in terraced form on a mound.

The Burnt City is located 57 kilometers from the city of Zabol in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan Province and covers an area of 150 hectares. It was one of the world’s largest cities at the dawn of the urban era. It was built circa 3200 BC and destroyed some time around 2100 BC. The city had four stages of civilization and was burnt down three times. Since it was not rebuilt after the last time it was burnt down, it has been named the Burnt City.

The site was excavated by Italian archaeologists for the first time before the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979. After a long hiatus, the excavations were resumed in 1996 by a team led by Sajjadi, who then invited a group of Italian archaeobotanists to work on the site.

The Italian group also discovered several brown, beige, and maroon pieces of textile during the latest phase of excavations.

Archaeologists have discovered many artifacts including a 10-centimeter ruler with an accuracy of half a millimeter in the ruins of the ancient city. They have also unearthed an earthenware bowl at the Burnt City which bears images of what experts believe is the world’s oldest “animated” picture drawn around it.

Although many studies have been carried out on the Burnt City, so far experts have not been able to determine the ethnicity and language of the city’s inhabitants.

The results of all ten seasons of Burnt City excavations will be published after the tenth phase is completed.