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Baffling 3,000-year-old Out of Place Mace Head Found in Poland

Baffling 3,000-year-old Out of Place Mace Head Found in Poland

An amateur Polish archaeologist has made an astonishing discovery that is 3,000 years old - he unearthed a Bronze Age mace head . This find is rather baffling as it does not appear to belong to any of the known cultures that once inhabited this part of Poland. Furthermore, the mace head seems to have originated in the distant Middle East , which is adding to the mystery.

The Discovery of the Mace Head

The ancient object was found “during a licensed search of an area near Dukla by the Galicja Exploratory Historical Society” according to The First News . This group of amateur archaeologists was looking for artifacts and objects from WWII . They had been informed that there had been a battle in the area in 1939 and during their investigations, they found some shells and coins but then one of them found the mace head . It was found by an amateur archaeologist, Krzysztof Wiśniewski, who works in a local mine.

The mace head was discovered by amateur archaeologists in Poland. (Zawiadowca Historii / Fair Use )

Initially, he believed, that he had found something that had come from an old vehicle, such as a tractor. The Archaeology News Network , quotes Wiśniewski, as saying that “we soon realized that it could be important”. The amateur archaeologists contacted a local expert Dr. Wojciech Pasterkiewicz and he visited them at the site.

Bronze Age Weapon

He examined the object and made a stunning discovery. The object was not from the Twentieth Century but from 1000 BC. The First News site quotes Dr. Pasterkiewicz “We know it comes from that time because it fits in with the chronology of similar objects found in other regions”.
The archaeologist also revealed that the object was a mace head. It measures about 3 inches (10 centimeters) long, is made of bronze, and it is very well-preserved. The mace was a common weapon in the ancient world , and it was used by many cultures, including Ancient Egypt. The weapon was used to hit the enemy and often used to crush skulls . Their used continued well into the Middle Ages.

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The mace head, made of bronze, measures about 3 inches (10 centimeters) long. (Zawiadowca Historii / Fair Use )

According to the Archaeology News Network they typically had “a strong, heavy, wooden or metal shaft, and a head made of stone, bone, copper, bronze, iron, or steel”.

When the item was made, bronze was rare, and it could only have belonged to a member of the elite. The mace was also a symbol of authority and would have been owned by a chieftain or even a king. Indeed, it remains a symbol of power today and can still be found in many Parliaments and Senates around the globe.

The Mysterious Origins of the Mace Head

It was easy for the archaeologist to determine what was the object and its date. It was far harder to determine who made the weapon and what were its origins. There are no similar examples of the object, dating from 1000 BC, found in this part of Europe. It does not appear to have originated from any of the societies that once inhabited the area.

Who the makers and the owners of the mace head are is an enigma. According to The First News website, Dr. Pasterkiewicz believes that it is “impossible to say exactly where it came from, but it was most likely a Middle Eastern culture”. This is based on the similarities between the object and other maces that have been uncovered in the Middle East.

Other types of mace heads discovered in the past in Romania. (Codrinb / CC BY-SA 3.0 )

This raises an important question. Why was this object, that originated so far away, found in the south of Poland? It is possible that it may have found its way to the area via ancient trade routes . Interestingly, the site is located near the Dukla Pass in the Carpathian Mountains and would have been used by any invaders entering the region in the ancient past . The mace head may, therefore, have once been owned by a commander of a foreign army campaigning in the region some 3000 years ago.

Location of discovery of the mace head in Poland - satellite map of the Carpathian Mountains with Dukla Pass in the Carpathian Mountains noted as red dot. (Qorilla / )

The mace head is now legally owned by the Polish state . It is expected that it will go on public display in a museum in Rzeszów, which is in the south-east of Poland. More analysis is going to be carried out on the bronze used in the weapon and this may help to solve the mystery of how a Middle Eastern mace head came to be found in Poland.


Baffling 3,000-year-old Out of Place Mace Head Found in Poland

The First Newsによると、古代の遺物は「Galicja探査歴史協会によるDukla近くの地域の認可された発掘現場にて」発見されました。



博士はその物体を調べて、驚くべき発見をしました。 オブジェクトは20世紀からではなく、紀元前1000年からのものです。
戦棍は古代世界で一般的な武器であり、古代エジプトを含む多くの文化で使われていました。 武器は敵を襲うために使用され、頭蓋骨を粉砕するために使用されていました。 彼らの用法は中世まで続いたとのことです。



April, 22th, 2021

Eventing is the trump card: Full brother of fischerChipmunk FRH tops the price list

The leader of the opening event of the Verden Foal Spring was none other than the full brother of Michael Jung's top horse fischerChipmunk FRH. Born on February 5, Charly was auctioned online for 40,000 Euros to an eventing enthusiast from the Rhineland.

The Contendro/Heraldik xx son Charly (breeder and exhibitor: Wolfgang Lutz, Völkersen) was bred for the x-country. His full brother fischerChipmunk FRH, born in 2008, is one of the best eventing horses in the world with double Olympic Champion Michael Jung. Charly is already the fourth Contendro offspring of the mare Havanna, Hannoveraner Mare of the Year 2019, to be sold into champion hands via a Verden auction.

The Chacoon Blue/Stakkato son Coldplay (breeder and exhibitor: Hans-Henning Hagemann, Pattensens), whose dam had already produced a sensational top priced horse by Quality H by Quaid ten years ago at the Elite Auction in October, led the field of foals with a show jumping pedigree. Quaid. The knock down price for the colt, who will move into a box with a stallion raiser from Braunschweig, was 26,500 Euros. The best paid foal with prospects for the big dressage arena was the filly Dear Rose by Dancier/Fürstenball (breeder and exhibitor: Gerda Stein, Westerende), who found a new owner from the Trier area for 18,000 Euros.

The result of this year’s first foal auction was impressive. An average of 10,482 Euros had to be paid for the 28 representatives of the 2021 vintage. The international interest was particularly high, exactly half (14) of the collection ended up in foreign ownership. Four foals will travel to Great Britain. Four colts were auctioned to a well-known breeding farm in the Ukraine. Two each found new owners in France and Mexico.

April, 17th, 2021

Sympatico sold to Hesse for 105,000 Euros.

The Verden auction online in April developed into a lively market place. The 67 talented riding horses cost an average of 25,634 Euros. The statistics were immediately led by the head number one. Sympatico was auctioned off for 105,000 Euros to a dressage trainer from Hesse.

105 bids were placed until the son of Secret/Don Crusador, Sympatico (breeder: Dr. Elke Standeker, Stübing/AUT, exhibitor: Carsten Johansen, Bastad/SWE), found a new owner in Hesse for 105,000 Euros. From the first day on, the black three-year-old out of the dam line of Anitschke was the most popular horse in the collection and impressed at each of his presentations with auction rider Heiko Klausing. He is accompanied on his journey by Totilas Erbin by Top Gear/Benetton Dream (breeder and exhibitor: Harald Wildhagen, Wennigsen), who found her way to the same stable for 75,000 Euros. The gorgeous liver chestnut mare was presented by Jacob Schenk during the auction time.

Chumany by Cornets Iberio/Stanley (breeder: Antonius Schulze-Averdiek, Rosendahl, exhibitor: Schulze-Averdiek Sportpferde, Rosendahl) flew to top price of the jumping horses. The five-year old, ridden by Roman Duchac, is at the beginning of a promising career and was sold for 65,500 Euros to a customer from Lower Saxony, who has already successfully brought numerous young horses into international sport.

Three other horses cleared the 50,000 Euro hurdle. Two of them were masterfully presented by rider Heiko Klausing. Sir Arthur Carrus by San Amour/Davignon II (breeder and exhibitor: Helena and Jukka Niiranen MTY, Ypäjä/FIN) found a new owner in France for 73,500 Euros. Fantastica by For Romance/Franziskus (breeder: Berthold Schoemaker, Emlichheim, exhibitor: Gisela Kappelhoff, Beckum) was sold to Austria for 56,000 Euros. In Austria, Baronderry by Baron/Londonderry (breeder and exhibitor: Jan Crome-Sperling, Lutter a. Bbg.) will also be trained further. The knock down price for the chestnut, masterfully ridden by Sascha Böhnke, was 67,500 Euros.

"Everyone can find the right horse in Verden", the renowned dressage trainer Marcus Hermes had already praised during the presentation of the auction candidates. Buyers from all over Europe and North America appreciated the high-class offer. 36 horses will stay in Germany, 31 have a further journey ahead of them. The average price of 25,634 Euros meant an increase of over 3,000 Euros compared to the previous year. The largest contingent was bought by customers from the USA (eight horses) followed by France and Spain (four horses each).

A poet for France: Friedrich Schiller sold for 81,500 euros.

Friedrich Schiller lived up to his namesake. With head number 1, the son of Finest achieved the top price of the Verden online auction in January at 81,500 Euros. At the first Verden auction event of the year, the 53 riding horses achieved an average price of 19,519 Euros. It was the second spectacular performance of Friedrich Schiller by Finest/Desperados (breeder: Henning Schulze, Tiddische, exhibitor: Aldrie Consultants AB, Sweden), named after the German poet, in the Niedersachsenhalle. Already as a foal, the powerful black stallion aroused desires and was sold to Sweden. Six years later and equipped with successes in tests for young dressage horses, the gelding was auctioned off for 81,500 Euros to a customer from France, who had already secured numerous top horses in Verden that later caused a stir in the international dressage arena. There was a double top among the show jumpers. Two show jumping talents achieved a knock down price of 35,000 Euros. The name Lucky Luke is also part of the programme. The stately, 1.76 metre tall son of Lord Pizarro/Callistus (breeder: Hans Ahlers, Twist, exhibitor: Eckhard Witthake, Recke) is already seven years old and has top placings in tests for young show jumpers up to medium (M*) level. He was worth 35,000 Euros to a regular customer from the United States. The same result was achieved by Cornet XL by Cornet Obolensky/Lex Lugar (breeder and exhibitor: Pferdezucht Dr. Rowold, Haselünne). The powerful dark bay half-brother of the Celle state stud Colougar by Codex One towers over Lucky Luke by three centimetres. Although he has not yet been shown in competitions, he looks forward to a bright future in the stable of a successful young female show jumping rider from Lower Saxony. The positive auction results at the beginning of the year were already apparent during the ten-day training period. Even shortly before the start of the bidding for the online auction, the horses were diligently tried out in the Niedersachsenhalle, observing all the necessary hygiene rules due to the COVID-19 pandemie. The statistics reflect the great interest. The average price was 19,519 Euros, which was more than 2,000 Euros higher than in January of the previous year. 25 horses will stay in Germany. With 28 horses, the export rate is over 50 percent. Buyers from France (seven) as well as Russia and the USA (five each) secured the largest contingents. "The customers feel comfortable in Verden, even though the final took place on the computer and without spectators. There were certainly many emotional moments at home with the buyers again," said Managing Director Wilken Treu.

Verden Auction on January, 25th, 2020


At the first auction of the year, a show jumper jumped to the top price. In the Niedersachsenhalle, Darunee was the best paid horse for 45,000 Euros. On average, 17,203 Euros had to be invested for a Hannoveraner talent.

Already during the ten-day training period it became apparent that there was a great deal of interest in the 71 auction candidates. One show jumper led the statistics. The Hannoveraner premium candidate Darunee by Diacontinus/Comte (breeder: Ingo König, Großenwörden, exhibitor: Dagmar Scharffetter, Bremen) has already been successful in tests for young show jumpers up to 1.20 meter. There was great jubilation among the buyers from Switzerland when the six-year-old was sold for 45,000 Euros.

Fürstiano by Fürst Nymphenburg/White Star (breeder and exhibitor: Heinrich Ehlers, Helmste) was the most sought-after dressage horse to leave the Niedersachsenhalle with seven-league boots. Equipped with impressive basic gaits, the five-year-old chestnut marched from the auction ring towards Bavaria for 39,000 Euros.

"I am delighted about this successful start to the year for the Hannoveraner Verband. Right from the beginning of the auction training, the great interest of our international clientele was already apparent," Wilken Treu concluded the first auction, which he led as Managing Director of the Hannoveraner Verband. A glance at the statistics shows that the price structure was stable. The average price has improved by around 1,500 Euros compared to the previous year, it was achieved without "outliers". 36 horses cost more than 15,000 Euros. The export rate was a good 40 percent, 29 horses will leave Germany and advertise the Verden Autions from Hungary to the USA.

Successful start on the web.

The very first foal of the top-class collection of the Verden Online Auction brought the top price. For 51,000 Euros So One was auctioned off to a buyer from the USA. Altogether the 22 offered foals achieved an average price of 10,364 Euros.

The son of So Unique/Diamond Hit So One (breeder:Willem Klausing GbR, Diepholz, exhibitor: A. Hartley, Moscow/RUS) comes from one of the best dam lines. Successful stallions, awarded mares and numerous dressage and show jumping horses can be traced back to the foundation mare Pension. Equipped with the very best genes and impressive movements, this expressive colt will remain in Germany. The chestnut will grow up with Eva Möller, who won the Bundeschampionat and the FEI/WBFSH World Breeding Championships for young dressage horses with his sire, So Unique.

The foal after next already achieved another top price. Viva Las Vegas by Viva Gold/Foundation (b. a. e.: Reinhard Baumgartner, Kamern) was worth 20,500 Euros to a breeder from Bavaria. The big framed bay is already the third foal that the mare Formidable has sent over the Verden catwalk at a considerable sales price.

Blue Star by Big Star/Diacontinus (b. a. e.: Eggerk Groenewold, Weener) has a top class jumper pedigree. This was also appreciated by Bavarian buyers. They invested 14,000 Euros in the bay, who was born in East Frisia.

After a short interruption due to technical problems at the beginning of the final phase, the first Verden online auction of the year started into an interesting final phase. "Numerous users were present during all four days of the online auction", says managing director Wilken Treu. "For the majority of the collection we had of course the most 'traffic' on Saturday.“

Fulminant finale. Störtebecker sails at top price

The Verden Aukion Online in May ended with a brilliant final. The "bird" was once again shot down by a jumper. With 95,000 Euro, Störtebecker flew to the top price. An average of 22,524 Euros had to be invested for the 67 auction horses.

When "Lot 51" was called up early Saturday evening, things got exciting. Again and again the "bid up" was extended in the last second by another three minutes. Finally the price for Störtebecker by Stolzenberg/Graf Top (breeder and exhibitor: Axel Bahn, Maasen) – named after a pirate from the Middle Ages – was fixed at 95,000 Euros. The bay will be trained at Cian O'Connor and Ashford Farms. Seven years ago his full sister Samoa was one of the pearls of the jumping collection at the Elite Auction and was sold to Sweden for 130,000 Euros.

The collection of dressage horses was also highly coveted. 14 bidders had an eye on Stella Jones by Sarotti Mokka Sahne/Brentano II (breeder and exhibitor: Dagmar Meyer, Edemissen). The four-year-old Hannoveraner premium candidate convinced at the pre-selection and during the ten-day training period in Verden with absolute nerves of steel and outstanding basic quality. The last bid was 50,000 Euros. The mare will move into a box in a renowned training stable in Lower Saxony.

Since Tuesday last week, the highly talented young horses could be tried out in the training and sales centre of the Hannoveraner Verband. Following the proven Verden system – only without spectators. A system that was highly appreciated by the numerous interested parties. "We had numerous customer groups. Several renowned show-jumpers and trainers took a close look at our youngsters," says Wilken Treu, Managing Director of the Hannoveraner Verband.

The auction carousel in Verden continues with top foals. From June 3rd to 6th, the Hannoveraner Verband will be holding another highly interesting and high-quality offering of the 2020 foals. Further foal auctions will follow in the online auction series from June 10th to 13th and from July 1st to 4th. The next riding horses will be for sale on July 18 th. These talents can be personally inspected and tried out from July 7th in the training and sales centre.

June 3 to 6

Hannovers dressage foals popular. Valentin leads statistics.

At the Verden Auction Online of dressage foals the second foal led the statistics. Valentin achieved the top price of 52,000 Euros. Whoever wanted to secure Hannover's top genes for the dressage arena had to invest an average of 10,289 Euros.

Around 60 bids were placed online for Valentin by Vitalis/Fürstenball (b. a. e.: Enrico Messelis, Kefferhausen). A customer from the USA had the longest breath, 52,000 Euros was the knock down price. For the second time already, breeder Enrico Messelis had reason to celebrate with his Hannoveraner. Three years ago the full sister of Valentino's dam had been one of the top foals at the Elite Foal Auction.

The small collection of dressage foals was in great demand. 19 fillies and colts with first-class pedigrees were part of the auction lot. "This is already the third Verden Online Auction within four weeks," said managing director Wilken Treu. "These regular events enable us to offer constant sales events under the current conditions to our breeders as well as to our existing and new customers".

Already next Saturday the Verden Online Auctions will continue. From June 10th to 13th, top-class show jumping foals will be the focus of interest. Another two weeks later – from July 1st to 4th – Hannover's top offspring are waiting for new owners for the fifth time. The next riding horses will be for sale on July 18. These talents can be personally inspected and tried out in the training and sales centre from July 7th.

Further information: www.verdener-auktion-online.com

June 10 to 13

Netflix led the collection.

The Verden Auction Online of the 23 show jumping foals closed with the average price of 7,337 Euro. The colt Netflix led the collection and was the best paid future hope. The bid up for the son of Nartago/Kannan ended at 26,000 Euros.

Since last Wednesday, bids could be placed. Already then it became apparent that the colourful dark chestnut Netflix (breeder: Dirk von der Lieth, Elmlohe, exhibitor: Henning von der Lieth, Elmlohe) attracted great interest. 17 interested parties made their bids. When the clock ran down, the colt was auctioned off to Poland for 26,000 Euros. The second highest price was achieved by Finita by For Treasure VDL/Cornet Obolensky (breeder and exhibitor: Kai Baumgartner, Kamern), which a regular customer from Spain bought for 18,500 Euros.

"The auction results could not quite match the results of the two previous Verden Auctions Online," said managing director Wilken Treu. After the auction is before the auction – in three weeks another collection of highly interesting dressage foals will be waiting for new owners at the fourth Verden Auction Online from July 1st to 4th. Three days later 48 dressage and 17 jumping horses will move to their boxes in the training and sales centre. They can be tried out at any time by arrangement with the customer advisors. Carefully selected and prepared, Hannoveraner

Further information: www.verdener-auktion-online.com

Young stallion sets top price

For the fourth time this year, it meant "The Bid-Up is on" for the youngest Hanoverians. For an average price of 8,514 Euros the 18 dressage offers found buyers from six countries.

The solid price structure provided four hammer prices above 10,000 Euros. At the top of the statistics is head number 81, the first foal in the collection: Force Majeure by Franco Nero/San Amour I found a new owner in the USA for 23,500 Euros. Thus Franco Nero, a Franziskus son from the Verden Stallion Market, delivered the top price in his first foal year at a Verden auction. The breeder of Force Majeure, Stephan Herrmann from Northeim, is not only the breeder of the stallion Franco Nero, but has also already delivered the most expensive auction foal in Verden to date in 2017 with the dam of this foal, the state premium mare A Speciality for You.

The first four online auctions with a total of 82 foals were created at short notice during the Corona crisis as a replacement for the originally planned May foal auction, at which 79 foals were auctioned last year. Compared to the previous year, both the average price and the volume of sales could be increased in 2020. The average price over the first four foal online auctions from 2020 is 9,088 Euros (previous year May auction: 7,197 Euros) the total turnover is 745,250 Euros (previous year: 547,00 Euros).

After the auction is before the auction - 48 dressage and 17 show-jumping horses are already waiting for new owners on July 18th. Carefully selected and prepared, they can be observed in training and individually tried out from Tuesday, July 7th in Verden.The presentation on Wednesday, July 15 can be followed via livestream. The online auction starts on Saturday, 18 July at 2 p.m..
The next circa 100 foals will come to Verden on August 8th and 9th for the online auction. On Friday, August 7, the auction foals will be presented live in Verden for the first time in 2020. At 5 p.m., a limited number of prospective buyers will be able to take a live look at the youngsters in Verden - of course with the appropriate distance. It's worth being quick, because registration is mandatory for the foal presentation, the number of places is limited. In addition, the presentation will be broadcasted via ClipMyHorse.TV in the livestream. Registrations for the live presentation will be accepted until July 31st exclusively by sending an e-mail to [email protected] stating the number of participants and their names. A confirmation of registration from the Hanoverian Association is obligatory.

La Jolie leads the field

On your marks, get set, go: The 57 horses of the Verden Auction Online in July crossed the finish line at a rapid pace. In the final spurt La Jolie carried off the top price of 53,500 Euros. The 57-strong main field crossed the finish line with an average price of 16.605 Euros.

As a filly, Gestüt Gerkenhof, Kirchlinteln, discovered the outstanding potential of La Jolie by Libertad/Davignon (b.: Hans-Joachim and Lydia Muth, Leuderode) and purchased the strong moving chestnut mare at the auction in July 2016. Four years later she was worth 53,500 Euros to a new customer from North Rhine-Westphalia.

As the best paid jumper, the already five-year-old Descara by Diancontinus/Escudo (b. a. e.: Hendrik A. Könemann, Thomasburg) finished the race. This wealthy grey mare was born to perform. Her dam Escada already produced advanced (S) level show jumpers with the internationally successful My Kiwi, the licensed stallion Conquest Boy and the half siblings Coco, Cicero and Chanel. Descera will be eating her oats in Switzerland for 22,000 Euros in future.

"During the ten-days of the training period in Verden, the horses were partly ridden on site and partly only inspected online – that is the phenomenon of online auctions," summarized Managing Director Wilken Treu. "For many customers, bidding from the comfort of their own home or on the road with a computer is very convenient. Over half of the horses (30) will leave Germany. Switzerland (six) and France (five) secured the largest contingents. Three auction horses will travel to Panama, two were auctioned off to Uzbekistan.

Those who don't want to wait until the next auction of riding horses on October 9/10 can secure a young talent for tomorrow at the beginning of August The next circa 100 foals and one brood mare will come to Verden on August 8th and 9th for the online auction. On Friday, August 7, the auction foals will be presented live in Verden for the first time in 2020. At 5 p.m., a limited number of prospective buyers will be able to take a live look at the youngsters in Verden - of course with the appropriate distance. It's worth being quick, because registration is mandatory for the foal presentation, the number of places is limited. In addition, the presentation will be broadcasted via ClipMyHorse.TV in the livestream. Registrations for the live presentation will be accepted until July 31st exclusively by sending an e-mail to [email protected] stating the number of participants and their names. A confirmation of registration from the Hanoverian Association is obligatory.

Top price for Enjoy the Show de Hus

A spectacular top price of 41,000 Euros was achieved at the online auction for 16 French and British Hanoverian and Rhineland foals, which was held in cooperation with the British Hanoverian Horse Society BHHS and the French Hanoverian Horse Breeding Club AFEACH. The top foal was bred in France and comes from the high quality breeding of the well known Haras de Hus stud farm, which is located just outside Nantes. Enjoy the Show de Hus was the name of the Escolar son out of a dam by Don Juan de Hus/Wanderbursch II, who comes from the Hanoverian mare line of Jutta. His granddam St.Pr.St. Wyella by Wanderbursch II/Grande is one of the foundation mares of Haras de Hus. After a spectacular bidding duel, in which interested parties from Germany, USA and Australia took part, a regular customer from Spain acquired this talented mover. Another French foal will be on its way to the United States.

The British foals will remain on the island throughout. The most sought-after foal was a filly by the dressage horse sire Franklin out of a dam by Dannebrog/Weltmeyer. This is the successful Hanoverian mare line of Pille, which has already produced successful sport horses such as the team Olympic Champion in jumping Walzerkönig (rider: Franke Sloothaak). Exhibitors of the foal were Court Farm Stud and Half Moon Stud from Herefordshire. The powerfully moving filly, which was one of the best Hanoverian foals of its year in England, was purchased for 10,000 Euros by a well-known English dressage rider. Close behind in the price range were the Baron/Dark Rubin colt Bolero with a knock-down price of 9,750 Euros and the Viva Gold/Totilas daughter Visionize, which changed hands for 9,500 Euros.

Katy Holder-Vale, Chairman of the British Hanoverian Horse Society, drew a satisfied initial conclusion: "All in all, this was a good experience. At the same time we saw that such an auction is also a learning process. All in all, the breeders were happy that such an offer for sale was made in these times of Covid-19". Also Edouard Dewez, Chairman of AFEACH, emphasized the learning effect of these first auctions exclusively for international breeders and added, "for the first time, this was a good result, especially considering that the decision for this auction was only made in June". Dr Ludwig Christmann, who is responsible for the foreign breeders in the Hannoveraner Verband, comments the result as follows: "The international Hanoverian breeders run their breeding according to the high standards of the German Hannoveraner Verband. This result shows that their qualities are absolutely competitive and internationally coveted".

Classy Art auctioned off for 16,000 Euros

For the seventh time, the Hannoveraner Verband announced "Bid Up runs – Sold" for 30 first-class foals. The highest price was achieved by Classy Art, who found a new owner for 16,000 Euros. The total turnover amounted to 220,000 Euros. On average 7,333 Euros had to be invested for a foal.

The top priced foal is equipped with an exquisite pedigree, which goes back to the foundation mare Algave. Classy Art by Conthargos/Werther (breeder and exhibitor: Vetart GmbH, Dägeling) is a daughter of the performance mare show jumping Wertherröschen. She has not only been successful in sport herself, but is also the dam of the privately owned sire Stakkato Gold. The son of Stakkato was Champion Stallion Jumping at his licensing in Verden, celebrated international top placings with Germany’s Jan Sprehe and was Hannoveraner Stallion of the Year five years ago. His half-sister Classy Art was auctioned off to a customer from Germany for 16,000 Euros.

Nine bidders placed 29 bids for the son of Bon Voyage/Sandro Hit, Belmondo (breeder an exhibitor: Udo Hoppe, Zobbenitz) and made the strong moving dark bay from the dam line of Dallas the best paid dressage offspring. He will travel to Southern Germany, where he has found a new owner for 13,000 Euros.

The interest in the foals of the 7th Verden Online Auction was also very high internationally. About half of the foals will leave Germany: four will grow up in Great Britain, two each in France and Spain. One foal each was sold to customers from Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, Austria and Ireland.

October, 10th

St. Felice in luck

The exciting final of the 137th Elite Auction had a spectacular result. After the "Bid Up" which lasted over 90 minutes, the mare St.Felice was sold for 205,000 Euros. The auction lot of the 40- dressage and 20 jumping horses brought the average price to 29,900 Euros.

190 bids increased the auction time for St. Felice by St. Schufro/Fürstenball (breeder: Patrick Seefeld, Neustadt) by three minutes again and again. Finally, the finalist of the Hannoveraner Riding Horse Championships, who received the optimum score of 10 for rideability at her mare performance test, was auctioned off at 205,000 Euros. The impressive Hannoveraner premium candidate will move into a box in Austria.

While the bidding duel for St. Felice continued, Cornflake PJ by Carridam/Loredo (breeder and exhibitor: Pferdezucht Dr. Jacobs GbR, Bierbergen) moved up to the top position among the show jumping talents. The licensed and tested chestnut stallion was worth 41,500 Euros to a renowned training stable in Lower Saxony.
20 horses will leave Germany. Four Hannoveraner horses will travel to the USA, two each to France, Austria, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Saffron by Secret/Hohenstein (breeder and exhibitor: Peter Bösch, Rhade) had a special bidding duel at the two and a half year old stallions. As a final offer, the athletic black stallion, who is equipped with outstanding basic gaits, was auctioned off in a separate auction, because of a lack of clarity about the biddings. In future, he will be trained in France for 52,000 Euros. Whoever wanted to own one of the 24 representative of the 2018 vintage had to spend an average of 18,458 Euros

The Verden auction offered the right horse for every buyer. After the riding horses and the young sports stallions, foals were auctioned off in the Niedersachsenhalle for the last time this year. The performance of Dream of Heart was fantastic. The son of Damsey/Quaterback was born in Hessen (breeder: Pferdezucht Vilhard GbR, Brombachtal) sold to the Danish stallion station Blue Hors for 51,000 Euros. The average price of the 21 foals was 10,107 Euros.

Danony sold for 39,500 Euros

It was the last riding horse auction of the year in Verden. After ten days of training, the 65 top-class talents achieved online an average price of 16,254 Euros. Above all, the Hannoveraner premium candidate Danony was auctioned off for 39,500 Euros.

The daughter of Danone/Fürst Nymphenburg, Hann.Pr.A. Danony (breeder and exhibitor: Jochen Meyer, Allwörden), impressed with her enormous movements. The chestnut mare from the proven dam line of Norodina, which has already produced Heike Kemmer's former top horse, Borsalino, inspired eight interested parties to an exciting bidding duel. The last bid was 39,500 Euros, submitted by a buyer from Baden-Württemberg.

The most expensive jumper was Seppl by Stakkato/Contendro (breeder and exhibitor: Thomas Vauth, Bückeburg). The four-year-old dark bay, who goes back to the foundation mare Eckernförde II such as Hannover’s top sire Argentan, was worth 23,500 Euros to a buyer from Mexico. With the best performance attitude he is predestined for a successful career in show jumping.

"The collection of the auction in November was smaller than in previous years. The proportion of foreign sales is to be seen positively under current conditions," said managing director and auction manager Wilken Treu. Almost half (31) of the horses will leave Germany. The greatest interest was shown in Finland with seven purchases, followed by France with six and Spain with four.

"It was a very difficult but also exciting auction year, which we managed with the help and trust of our breeders, exhibitors and customers," said Wilken Treu. "At the end of the year we still have a small surprise: On December 11th/12th, we will offer a small, exquisite group of two and a half year old stallions". These are young stallions that were admitted to the licensing in October, but were withdrawn and will now make their big appearance.

Verden Auctions 2019

Verden Auction on January 19th, 2019

Sport horses

The first horse to enter the Verden Auction ring in 2019 set a mark with its price of 88,000 Euros, which should still be valid after 78 horses. With an average price of 15,801 Euro, the Verden Auction had taken a fresh course in January.With the applause of the numerous visitors in the Niedersachsenhalle, Der Keiler by Don Index/Werther was knocked down. The breeder and exhibitor of this typey bay is Carl Graf von Hardenberg, Nörten-Hardenberg, who did not miss the chance to give a package of delicacies from his distillery to the buyer. For 88,000 Euros a Belgian top dressage trainer, who has been a regular customer at the Verden Auctions for 25 years, secured the brillant moving dressage talent. Fürst Benno v. Fürst Belissaro/Worldly (breeder: Klaus Kropp, Bermen, exhibitor: Winfried Albers, Neuenkirchen) was number two in the buyer's favour and was auctioned off to Spain by telephone for 75,000 Euro.Clemens by Coupe d'Or/Drosselklang II (breeder and exhibitor: Gestüt Sprehe GmbH, Löningen) was the best paid show jumper. The bay, who already has victories and placings up to 1,30 m, will move into a box in a Spanish show jumping stable for 29,000 Euro."The price structure was solid. The average price was reached without outliers", auction manager Jörg-Wilhelm Wegener said. The audience was very competent and open-minded, was to be heard from all members of the team of the training and sales centre of the Hannoveraner Verband. 34 horses achieved prices of 15,000 Euro and more. The export rate was almost 50 percent, 37 horses will leave Germany, eight found a new owner in Belgium.

Verden Auction on April 12/13

Sport horses

The Verden Auction in April was as colourful as the spring. The fine selection of auction horses was as colourful and varied as the numerous spotlights that bathed the Niedersachsenhalle in colourful light. The dark bay dressage stallion Zouzo set the top price with 165,000 Euro. After 70 years, the auctions have lost nothing of their attractiveness. The high-class collection convinced customers worldwide, the 77 horses achieved an average price of 25,071 Euro, roundabout 7,000 Euros more than in the previous year.

In a highly acclaimed bidding duel, Zouzo by Zack/Soliman de Hus (breeder: Günter Röhrich, Neustadt, exhibitor: Willem Klausing GbR, Diepholz) advanced to the top priced horse. Not only the audience, but also Frederik De Backer didn't keep up with the exciting bidding duel. Both bidders sat in two neighbouring blocks, and the auctioneer, supported with the applause of the spectators, lured one bid after the other from both parties at close range. When the bid for the strong moving stallion was accepted at 165,000 Euro for France, the four-year-old stallion left the arena with standing ovations.

The second horse to reach the 100,000 Euro mark in Verden was Magic Moment HRH by Millennium/Don Bosco (breeder and exhibitor: Heiner and Renate Hormann, Landesbergen). With head number one, the impressive licensed stallion created magical moments in the Niedersachsenhalle right from the start. For 100,000 Euro he will provide magical moments in France.

"Home is a feeling" – this was the theme of the Verden Auction in April. The team around auction manager Jörg-Wilhelm Wegener came up with a lot of ideas with great attention to detail and just as much passion to make this event very special. The day before the auction, the Verden Evening, which focused on the horse, was a festive start. Beside the auction horses their sires had a great appearance in the spotlight. Moreover Reinhard Baumgart was honoured with the Golden Badge of Honour of the Hannoveraner Verband. As an auction rider, trainer and member of the selection committee, he was a strong pillar in the Verden Auction team. The Celle State Stud stallion Grey Top by Graf Top/Singular Joter (breeder: Emiliano Lonzi, Fauglia Pisa/ITA) was awarded the Grande Prize.

Gala and atmosphere were well received, not only at home. 32 horses were released into the wide world, 45 will stay in Germany. "The first-class collection was rewarded accordingly by our customers - and that 70 years after the first auction in Verden," said auction manager Jörg-Wilhelm Wegener. "The mood was very optimistic and is an incentive for the foal auction in May".

Verden Auction on May 24/25


On the last weekend of May, the first foals of the 2019 vintage were auctioned off in the Niedersachsenhalle. In the 70th anniversary year of the Verden Auctions a new concept celebrated its premiere. For the first time foals were offered on one event in spring. The front-runner in the price table was Fidus, who was sold to a breeder from Lower Saxony for 21,000 euros.

The most coveted auction candidate in the Niedersachsenhalle was Fidus by Fürst Belissaro/Dr. Watson (breeder and exhibitor: Petra Mohrmann, Wanna). He impressed the audience already during the presentation with the highest quality of movement and imperturbable uniformity in the appearance. Auctioneer Bernd Hickert knocked the elegant, modern black colt off into the direct neighbourhood of Verden to a breeder from Ritterhude for 21,000 Euros.

Felina by Feinrich/Rousseau (breeder and exhibitor: Michael Niethamer, Weil der Stadt) had earlier left the auction ring with applause. Lively acclaimed, the dark bay trotted into the possession of a highly successful breeder from North Rhine-Westphalia, who has already secured many top talents in young years in the Niedersachsenhalle. The highest price of the foals with a jumping pedigree was achieved by Carius H v. Chacfly PS/Numero Uno (breeder and exhibitor: Hans-Henning Hagemann, Pattensen), who will follow Feline for 16.000 Euros. "The three foals have already been the focus of interest at the morning presentation," said auction manager Jörg-Wilhelm Wegener.

An average price of 7,197 Euros had to be invested for the Hanoverian offsprings. 18 foals will leave Germany, five of them to the Netherlands and four to Great Britain. "The lively auction activity shows us that the new concept is well received by our customers," said auction manager Jörg-Wilhelm Wegener. The mood was already positive on the evening before the auction. Home is a feeling – this was the motto of the well-attended Breeders' Evening to which the team of the Training and Sales Centre of the Hannoveraner Verband had invited.

Verden Auction on July, 20th - Sport Horses

The Verden auction team had successfully put together a colourful mixture of talented dressage and show jumping horses that suited all demands. This was well honoured, for the 47 horses an average of 16,330 Euros had to be invested. While it flashed and thundered outside the Niedersachsenhalle, everything went according to plan at the Hannoveraner Verband.

It was a dressage horse that left the Niedersachsenhalle as the top prized horse. The stud Sola Nogales from Spain bought Semino JU by Scolari/Fürstenreich (breeder: Michaela Pridöhl, Grethem, exhibitor: Jürgen Uhlenwinkel, Gretehm) for 33,000 Euros. Every bid was rewarded with applause, while a summer thunderstorm raged outside the auction hall. Together with the strong moving chestnut, two other top-class rough diamonds will leave Verden for Seville.

The best paid show jumper was auctioned off over the telephone to Brussels/BEL. Cecile S by Cascadello/Contendro (breeder: Friederike Stüvel-Huck, Egestorf, exhibitor: H. u F. Stüvel GbR, Zeetze), who has already celebrated victories and placings in youn horse young show jumpimg classes, cost 26,000 Euros.

A look at the statistic shows that 28 horses were sold for 15,000 Euros and more, four of these achieved a price of 25,000 Euros and higher. The domestic/international ratio was balanced, 25 auction candidates will leave Germany.

Verden Auction on August 9/10

Foals and Broodmares

To the cheers of the audience, Derby by Dante’s Junior was sold for the top prize of 112,000 Euros at the auction for foals and broodmares of the Hanoverian Verband. Breeding and sport – this is a combination that suits Verden. The auction was embedded in the horse show "Verden International", at which the Hanoverian Championships for riding, dressage and show jumping horses are carried out in addition to the top sport.

While the qualifications for the Nürnberger Burg-Pokal and the Piaff-Förderpreis were decided at the same time on the show grounds, numerous buyers in the Niedersachsenhalle secured the stars of tomorrow at the earliest possible time – at foal age. Derby by Dante's Junior/Fürst Romancier (breeder and exhibitor: Marion Menck, Rübehorst) stepped into the auction round with a starting bid of 30,000 Euros on the telephone. "You don´t get one like him every day," said auctioneer Bernd Hickert enthused. The bids were raised while the enthusiastic audience cheered for each of them. When the hammer fell at 112,000 Euros, the typey black colt was bid farewell from the auction round with standing ovations. He will grow up at a group of well-known stallion raisers and be prepared for future tasks.

The jumping foals had their big show the evening before. In their pedigrees everything with a big name on the international show grounds of the world met. This was also true for Chaccon du Rouet by Chacoon Blue/Balou du Rouet (breeder and exhibitor: Gerd Janssen, Neuschoo), who was the top prized horse on Friday with the knock down price of 17,500 Euros. His new owner had already payed attention three years ago. That time he acquired Starena by Stalypso in the Niedersachsenhalle, who became champion mare at the Herwart von der Decken-Show this year.

Three broodmares completed the auction collection. The best paid horse was Danciera by De Niro/Lancier (breeder: Ekke Thaden, Butjadingen, exhibitor: ZG Schmidt, Naumburg). The full sister of the Celle State Stud stallion Dancier was sold to a French stud for 20,000 Euros.

As diverse as the pedigrees were, so diverse was the clientele. 112 foals achieved an average price of 9,116 Euros. 30 foals will promote Hannover all over the world. They were most popular in Great Britain, where six representatives of the 2019 vintage will travel to.

"We are delighted that the breeders have entrusted us with the marketing of outstanding foals and that this has been rewarded by the international buyers", said auction manager Jörg-Wilhelm Wegener.

Successful premiere with international biddig duels

On Saturday evening, September 14, the Hannoveraner Verband successfully concluded the first Verden online auction. In an exciting bidding duel, head number one of the foal collection advanced directly to the top price of the online premiere.

Francie Bell Boa by For Romance/Fürst Nymphenburg daughter (breeder: Jürgen-Heinrich Ohlhoff, Bergen exhibitor: Ines Holste, Bergen) was sold at 16,500 Euros. The charming dark bay filly out of an internationally successful Grand Prix dam line already aroused the interest of international buyers before the day oft he auction.

With a final bid of 9,500 Euros, two foals achieved the second-highest price. These were the colts with head number five, Eternal Darling by Erdinger/Dancier (breeder and exhibitor: Mareike Bartels, Haren) and head number 22, Edison by Emerald van het Ruytershof/Quasimodo van de Molendreef (breeder and exhibitor: Pferdezucht P & S, Farven). A total of 30 foals were offered for auction and achieved an average price of 6,933 Euros. Seven foals will start their journey to their new owners abroad.

Auction manager Jörg-Wilhelm Wegener was very satisfied with the result of the first Verden online auction. "We are pleased that we could interest many new exhibitors and buyers by this additional auction. We can build on this result for the future". The interest in the online auction was also reflected in the number of hits. Users from 63 countries visited the online platform during the auction period, and more than 200 people registered to take advantage of the opportunity to bid on the foals.

Verden Elite-Auction with Gala-Show - Sport horses, two-year old sport stallions and foals

October 11/12

70 years of auctions in Verden were celebrated with a glamorours celebration. In the Niedersachsenhalle, which was sold out on two days in a row, L'Avion was celebrated as the price peak. The third in the Bundeschampionat for young horses will travel to Spain for 140,000 Euros. On average, the splending collection – the largest collection of an Elite-Auction in the last ten years – of 89 top-class talents was auctioned off for 32,561 euros.

L'Avion by Livaldon/Longchamp (breeder: Katharina Oltmann-Heemke, Kreepen, exhibitor: Steffen Brunkhorst, Parnewinkel) who was awarded the bronze medal at the Bundeschampionat for three-year-old mares and geldings, danced through the auction arena. The bids stopped at 140,000 Euros and the extraordinarily good moving and expressive dark bay became the price peak of the 136th Elite-Auction. He will be trained at the Andalusian stud, which has already bought the top priced horse of the Verden Auction in July.

"Here comes a skyrocket", announced auctioneer Frederik de Backer when the son of Diacontinus/Stolzenberg DJ (breeder and exhibitor: Manfred Kischio, Sehnde) came into the arena. A great future is promised to the four-year-old. The hammer was knocked down at 97,000 Euros and made the grey the top priced horse with jumping pedigree. In Isernhagen, he will be trained by auction rider Enrico Süßenbach.

14 horses cost 50.000 Euro and more. A total of 35 horses will leave Germany. The buyers come from all over the world – from Australia via Japan and the US to Chile. The largest group of buyers came from the USA (five), followed by Canada and Switzerland with four horses each.

In the third year now, the Hannoveraner Verband has been offering a fine selection of highly predisposed two-and-a-half-year-old stallions at the Elite-Auction. This is highly appreciated by customers from all over the world. The 16 representatives of the 2017 vintage found new owners for an average price of 19,031 Euros. Fürst Lauries by Fürstenball/Laurentio (breeder: Gesa Coordes, Aurich, exhibitor: Peter Dieckmann, Odenthal) awakened the greatest desire. The beautifully presented dark bay was auctioned off for 52,000 Euros to a top-class dressage trainer from Luxembourg, who had often found what he was looking for in Verden.

The 40 foals were also very popular with the buyers. A dark bay colt trotted away in the statistics. Dixon by Dante's Junior/Christ (breeder and exhibitor: Simone Walke, Wrestedt) was worth 19,000 Euros to a renowned stallion raiser from Lower Saxony. On average, 7,100 Euros had to be invested for Hannover's offspring.

The Gala-Evening on Friday was a splendid start to the 136th Elite-Auction in Verden. The inspiring program, which focused on horses, led through seven decades of auction history. Prominent former auction riders such as EU Commission President Dr. Ursula von der Leyen, former German national jumping coach Herbert Meyer or Bianca and Ullrich Kasselmann celebrated the Verden auctions as did Jürgen Winter, who had been a rider at the first auction in 1949. The most successful eshibitor of the past ten years was Ulrich Heuer, Bienenbüttel, who was awarded the Hans Joachim Köhler-Prize. Tim-Uwe Hoffmann and his Hannoveraner mare Casta Lee are regarded as one of the best young German couples in the course. Eight years ago, the Hoffmann family from Rhade bought the Cassus/Acorado daughter (breeder: Wilhelm Koch, Vorhop) at a Verden Auction in the Niedersachsenhalle. Meanwhile the mare has already competed three times in the U25 Cup at the CHIO Aachen/GER with her 24-year-old rider and has won over ten advanced level show jumping competitions. In the future she will start with the abbreviation of the Hannoveraner Förderverein with the name Casta Lee FRH.

Parthia in the News - 2005

Click here to see index of Parthia in the News articles from all years.

Over 100 Parthian Statuettes Discovered in Halil-Rud, Kerman

The latest archaeological excavations in the basin of Halil-Rud River resulted in the discovery of more than one hundred clay statuettes belonging to the Parthian dynastic era. The excavations have also led to the discovery of 53 pre-historic sites, cemeteries, workshops, and residential areas.

Historical site of Halil-Rud, located on the basin of the river, enjoys a rich civilization. Some stone and clay evidence and architectural remains belonging to the third millennium BC were unearthed during the archeological excavations as well as the illegal diggings of the smugglers.

120 historical sites have been identified so far in the 400 kilometer length of Halil-Rud River’s basin.

“Animal and human clay statuettes were the most important discoveries during these excavations. These statuettes which were either simple or had complicated designs were buried with the dead as gifts during the Parthian period. Since several statuettes were buried in each grave, we can not give the exact number of these statuettes,” said Nader Soleimani, head of archaeological excavation team in Halil-Rud.

A large number of these graves have already been unearthed by the illegal diggers and their items have been plundered.

“These statuettes were discovered during archeological studies in Hossien Abad Plain in a historical site. It seems that the place might have been an Parthian workshop for making the clay statuettes as burial gifts. Some clay articles and dishes were also produced in these workshops. What is important in this respect is the large number of these statuettes. Making these kinds of statuettes was common during the Parthian dynastic era,” explained Soleimani.

Halil-Rud, located in Kerman province, is the largest river in Iran. The civilization that lived beside this river is believed to be one of the most ancient ones in the world.

Discovery of Parthian Stucco Decorations in Shushtar

Archaeological excavations resulted in the discovery of 2000-year-old stucco decoration on a wall belonging to the Parthian dynastic era in the historical city of Shooshtar in Khuzestan province. Archaeologists believe that the moldings should have belonged to the aristocrats of Dastva city.

A part of a stucco decorated window belonging to 2000 years ago had also been discovered during the previous exactions last year. It was the first plaster window discovered in a historical site in Iran, which can help archaeologists to identify the architectural styles of ancient historical monuments.

“The latest excavations in Dastva historical city led to the discovery of wonderful stucco decorations. The design of these stucco decorations is different on the walls. Ornamentations on the walls are roundel shape with toothed edges,” said Mehdi Rahbar, head of archaeological excavation team in Dastva.

According to Rahbar, this stucco decoration was in the hallway, and has geometric patterns and animal designs, most probably the shapes of two lions. Since the archeologists did not know about the existence of stucco decorations in this city, the discovery came as a great surprise.

Archeologists strongly believe that this style of architecture should not have belonged to ordinary people and most probably they belonged to the aristocratic class or people with high social ranks.

“Since most parts of the Dastva lands are under agriculture, there is no specific place for carrying out archeological excavations therefore, we are just digging boring pits in different areas,” explained Rahbar.

Fifteen years ago, a farmer accidentally dug up some graves belonging to the Elamite period, which resulted in the discovery of some valuable items such as gold coins and clay dishes. These graves had been abandoned since that time.

Some interesting underground graves were unearthed during the archeological excavations of Rahbar in 1986. The discovery encouraged archaeologists to carry out excavations on this cemetery to obtain some comprehensive information about this historical site and the history of Kuzestan province.

Dastva historical city is one of the most important historical sites of Shooshtar. Since no systematic archeological excavations have been carried out in the site so far, the discovered relics are under the threat of devastating.

Parthian Architectural Remains Discovered in Gilan

With the start of the first season of archeological excavations in Kaluraz Tepe in Gilan province, some architectural remains belonging to the Parthian dynastic era were discovered in this historical site.

Discovery of the architectural evidence in Gilan province has always been a concern of the excavators'. Therefore the discovery of architectural evidence in the Kaluraz Tepe of Rostam Abad, for the first time in a stratiographied wall, has a special significance for archaeologists. Based on the evidence from this wall, a program has been implemented by the Archaeological Research Center to identify the ancient architecture in Gilan province.

"Following the implementation of the approved programs by the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Iran and after last year's stratographies and identification of architectural layers in this historical hill, the first season of excavation in this historical site have started since 27th of October 2005 and is still going on," says Mohammad Reza Khalatbari, head of the excavation team in historical site of Kaluraz Tepe in Gilan province.

"Following the initial measures and providing the topographic map of the region, the first phase started and within the first step we reached to an earthen wall. We are still continuing excavations to discover the rest of the wall, and we hope to be able to recover the whole wall completely," added Khalatbari.

Referring to previous excavations, Khalatbari says that there was a continuous life in the region from the Iron Age to the Parthian era, and then it became abundant. Therefore it is supposed that the discovered wall belongs to the Parthian era.

Until now all the stratigraphies in the walls of Gilan province were done horizontally in order to determine the perimeters of the ancient cemeteries. Kaluraz Tepe is the first historical site in Gilan province, in which archaeologists could create a vertical stratographied wall and study different archaeological layers in it.

During the archaeological excavations in this historical site last year, some aspects of the mysteries of this hill was revealed that most probably there was a time when the hill was an aristocratic residency.

If archaeologists discover more architectural evidence in the site, it will help to uncover secrets of the architectural methods of the area, besides providing evidence of the Kadousi government and residence of the Iron Age people there.

Gilan is one of the provinces of Iran located in south-west of Caspian Sea in north of Iran, known during ancient times as part of Hyrcania.

Archaeological excavations reveal the antiquity of the province of the province to date back to prior to the last Ice Age. In the 6th century BCE, the inhabitants of Gilan allied with Cyrus the Great and overthrew the Median dynasty. The province then passed from the control of one dynasty to the next.

Also, remains of a residential fortress, which is an indication of a large city once existing there around 3000 years ago, were found in Kaluraz Tepe.

Parthian Site May Have Wrongly Been Identified as Median Ecbatana

Archaeologists' latest excavations at the historical site in Hamedan which had up to now been identified as Hegmataneh (Ecbatana), the ancient capital of the Medes, show that it was probably constructed during the Parthian era, the Persian service of the Cultural Heritage News (CHN) agency reported on Friday.

According to history books, Ecbatana became the first Iranian capital by the Median dynasty in the late 8th century BCE, but the recent researches show that the site identified as Ecbatana was inhabited during the Parthian dynastic era and was probably built in that time or slightly earlier, team director Dr Masud Azarnush said.

"Several remains of earthenware as well as brass coins from the Parthian dynastic era were discovered during the recent excavations in an area covering 100 square meters," he noted.

The architectural structures of the city were probably constructed in the Parthian era as well, he said.

According to Azarnush, the new structures were built on the previous walls and foundations during different eras in the city, that is, the Sassanid layer was built on the Parthian layer. The last layers belong to the Qajar and Pahlavi dynasties.

He noted that further studies must be carried out at other parts of the site to reveal more of the history of the region.

Azarnush believes that one of the other nearby ancient mounds in Hamedan may be the real Ecbatana of the Medes. None of these mounds has been excavated yet.

According to Herodotus, Ecbatana became the capital of the Median empire in the late 8th century BCE, although some historians believe the city was founded in the first millennium BCE.

During the Achaemenid dynastic era, it was the summer capital of the Empire and the site of an important treasury, later looted by Alexander the Macedonian warlord.

Ecbatana was the satrapal seat of the province of Media from Achaemenid to Sassanid times.

Discovery of a Late-Parthian or Early-Sasanian Fire Temple in Kermanshah

Archaeologists working behind the Shian Dam in Kermanshah have unearthed the second fire temple in that region, belonging to the late-Parthian or early Sasanian dynastic eras.

There is no record of such a temple in historical accounts.

"This fire-Temple with its unique stucco decorations is one of the largest fire-temples that has ever been discovered in that part of mainland-Iran located in one of the settlements near the Shian Dam. The plan, type and architectural elements such as water canals leading into the temple demonstrates that it was not only denoted to the Lord Ahura-Mazda, but also to the two Zoroastrian Yazads, Anahita and Mithra", Hassan Rezvani, the head of the archaeological rescue-operation team has stated in a news conference.

"Evidently after the Arab invasion of Iran the fire temple was partly demolished to prepare the way for construction of a mosque, and the surrounding areas were used as a burial ground", he added.

He stated, "The discovery of a column, water canals, and earthenware decorated with bull and the "Wheel of Sun/Mithra" (Swastika) pointing out to its Anahita and Mithraic cultic connection."

Rezvani concluded, "Since the construction is a Zoroastrian fire-temple, a place for worshiping the God Ahura-Mazda, as well as venerating the Anahita and Mithra, we can date its' construction to the late Parthian or early Sasanian dynastic eras", i.e. prior to the Emperor Ardeshir's (the founder of Sasanian dynasty) iconoclastic movement.

Archaeologists believe that the flowing Shian fountainhead encouraged the first settlements in the region in about 2400 BCE. They have identified a great number of historical and ancient sites in the region from the Parthian to the Post-Sasanian periods.

Shian Dam is scheduled to come on stream in 2007, which will submerge all these eminent historical sites and Iranians will be deprived of their Pre-Islamic heritage in that region forever.

Japanese return to complete studies at Gilan's ancient sites

After a four-month hiatus, the team of Japanese experts, who had previously worked on the ancient sites of northern Iran's Gilan Province along with a number of Iranian archaeologists, has recently returned to Iran to resume their studies on December 29.

"This will be the second stage of the last phase of research. The team completed its first stage in late August this year," Ali Jahani, an Iranian member of the archaeological team, told the Cultural Heritage News (CHN) agency, adding that the findings of the last phase would be restudied during the new phase.

"The first stage was dedicated to the restudy of previous years' findings of the late Iranian archaeologist Ali Hakimi at the cemetery of the Kaluraz ancient site, which are kept at the National Museum of Iran. Now the Japanese team has returned to begin the second stage along with the Iranian team," Jahani explained.

The joint team plans to revise the information gleaned from the findings of the last four phases of excavations in the Rostamabad region. The Iranian part of the team, led by Mohammadreza Khalatbari, is currently working on Kaluraz, which is one of the many ancient sites of the Rostamabad region.

In early November, Khalatbari's team unearthed ruins of a number of architectural structures believed to date back to the Parthian era. They previously unearthed 3000-year-old gray shards in the lower strata of the site, which dates back to the first millennium BC. The archaeologists believe these items indicate that Kaluraz was a residential area during the Iron Age.

"The most significant achievement of the Japanese is the map of Gilan's archaeological sites that they prepared during the previous phases of excavations. The map details 90 sites which have been discovered in Gilan over the years," Jahani said.

The joint team also made the first discovery of a Neolithic Age site in Gilan near the Sefidrud River in September 2004. The archaeologists have estimated that the Neolithic site is nearly 7500 years old.

The Japanese collaboration, which will be concluded with the end of the new stage, is based on an agreement they singed with Iranian officials for excavations at Gilan's ancient sites in 2001.

Gorgan Home to Asia's Second Great Wall

Jabraeil Nokandeh, an archeologist from Golestan province said that 'Gorgan Wall' is the second historical wall in the Asia and the highest historical structure in the Gorgan region of northeastern Iran.

Nokandeh told IRNA that Gorgan Historical Wall has been mentioned as 'Anoushirvan Dam', 'Firouz Dam', 'Eskandar Dam' and 'Defense Wall' in historical references and scientific accounts.

According to him, the wall extends for 200 kilometers from Billi Mountain slope in Golestan Forest to Safa Ishan village in Ghomishan along the banks of Gorgan River.

The main material used in constructing the wall is bricks measuring 40X40X10 centimeters. Stone is hardly noticed on the structure. Archeological studies of the historical wall was first launched in 1976-1977 under Mohammad Yousef Kiani, which unfortunately did not continue numerous reasons, he said, adding that in some sites, the remains of an ancient dam and water canals were discovered during excavations near the wall in 1999.

The wall was built during the Parthian Dynasty to protect mainland ran from invasion by north. It was restored during the Sassanid era (3-7th centuries AD). Its construction is contemporaneous with that of the Great Wall of China, and it is second only to that edifice as the largest defensive wall in existence. (click here to read full story)

Update: Discovery of the Parthian Architectural Remains in Gilan

With the start of the first season of archeological excavations in Kaluraz Tepe in Gilan province, some architectural remains belonging to the Parthian period were discovered in this historical site.

Discovery of the architectural evidence in Gilan province has always been a concern of the excavators'. Therefore the discovery of architectural evidence in the Kaluraz Tepe of Rostam Abad, for the first time in a stratographied wall, has a special significance for archaeologists. Based on the evidence from this wall, a program has been implemented by the Archaeological Research Center to identify the ancient architecture in Gilan province.

"Following the implementation of the approved programs by the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Iran and after last year's stratographies and identification of architectural layers in this historical hill, the first season of excavation in this historical site have started since 27th of October 2005 and is still going on," says Mohammad Reza Khalatbari, head of the excavation team in historical site of Kaluraz Tepe in Gilan province.

"Following the initial measures and providing the topographic map of the region, the first phase started and within the first step we reached to an earthen wall. We are still continuing excavations to discover the rest of the wall, and we hope to be able to recover the whole wall completely," added Khalatbari.

Referring to previous excavations, Khalatbari says that there was a continuous life in the region from the Iron Age to the Parthian era, and then it became abundant. Therefore it is supposed that the discovered wall belongs to the Parthian era.

Until now all the stratigraphies in the walls of Gilan province were done horizontally in order to determine the perimeters of the ancient cemeteries. Kaluraz Tepe is the first historical site in Gilan province, in which archaeologists could create a vertical stratographied wall and study different archaeological layers in it.

During the archaeological excavations in this historical site last year, some aspects of the mysteries of this hill was revealed that most probably there was a time when the hill was an aristocratic residency.

If archaeologists discover more architectural evidence in the site, it will help to uncover secrets of the architectural methods of the area, besides providing evidence of the Kadousi government and residence of the Iron Age people there.

Gilan is one of the provinces of Iran located in south-west of Caspian Sea in north of Iran, known during ancient times as part of Hyrcania.

Archaeological excavations reveal the antiquity of the province of the province to date back to prior to the last Ice Age. In the 6th century before the Christ, the inhabitants of Gilan allied with Cyrus the Great and overthrew the Medes. The province then passed from the control of one dynasty to the next.

Remains of a residential fortress, which is an indication of a large city once existing there around 3000 years ago, were found in Kaluraz Tepe. (click here to read full article)

Parthian era wall unearthed in Gilan

The team of archaeologists currently working at the Kalvarz Hill of Rustamabad in Gilan Province recently unearthed part of a mud-brick wall, the Persian service of CHN announced on Friday.

Team director Mohammadreza Khalatbari said that excavation work is continuing to unearth the whole wall.

"The archaeologists surmise that the architecture of the wall dates back to the Parthian era. Studies of shards discovered earlier prove that the site was inhabited until the Parthian era but was abandoned afterwards," he noted.

The team previously unearthed 3000-year-old shards at the site and hope that they can also discover more ruins in order to shed light on the architectural style of the site.

The gray earthenware discovered in the lower strata of the hill dates back to the first millennium BC, indicating that the hill was a residential area during the Iron Age, he said.

But no signs of architecture related to the Iron Age have been found, he added, saying that more research must be carried out to discover the architecture of the residential area.

Animal fossils have also been discovered at the site. Over 44 archaeological and historical sites from the first millennium BC have been discovered and identified in the Rustamabad region of northern Iran. (click here to read full article) (same article in Tehran Times)

Looted Relics from Iraqi Museums Slow To Surface

More than 2 1/2 years after looters sacked Iraq's National Museum in Baghdad, Iraqi authorities and police forces throughout the world are still searching for thousands of stolen items, including a handful of the most famous artifacts in the world history.

U.S. military sources say forces in Iraq have no systematic way of investigating the missing objects, and in the ongoing insurgency neither U.S. nor Iraqi forces can justify using scarce manpower to guard sites in the countryside, where widespread looting has continued unchecked since the March 2003 U.S. invasion.

Law enforcement organizations worldwide are allegedly chasing the lost items, but their representatives claimed there is no systematic coordination, and they are relying on a shifting set of ad hoc partnerships to bring the thieves to account.

The 25 missing items include Bahrani's Sumerian statue, the gold-and-ivory carved plaque of a lioness attacking a Nubian, and the almost life-size Parthian head of the Goddess of Victory, from Hatra, made of copper.

"You're never going to see these in a gallery," Bahrani said. "No art dealer would ever touch them, because they're just too well known. We're talking about a black market. These pieces will never see the light of day."

The second category includes about 8,000 small items taken from the museum basement in what Bogdanos calls "clearly an inside job." Thieves with keys "cherry-picked" obscure storerooms for pendants, amulets, decorative pins and about 5,000 distinctively Mesopotamian "cylinder seals."

These carved finger-sized pieces of stone leave a distinctive design when rolled over soft clay. Each has a museum number written on it in nearly indelible India ink, and the whole collection, Bogdanos said, would fit in a backpack.

However, most probably the looted artifacts have found their way into U.S. and European markets, without raising any suspicion. (click here to read full article)

A Parthian Chahar-Taqi in Jahrom on the verge of destruction

"A Parthian Chahhar-Taqi in the village of 'Alaviyeh of Jahrom is on the verge of complete destruction as the result of authority's negligence, and vandalism by the locals. A section of this ancient monument has already been collapsed" reported by ISNA Persian service.

The structure dates back to the Arsacid dynastic era, and was in use for religious as well as astronomical purposes. (click here to read full article)

Mystery of Jar Burial in Gohar Tepe

The discovery of the burial place of an adult in a jar in Gohar Tepe of Mazandaran, has faced the archaeologists active in this area with new questions.

Gohar Tepe in Mazandaran province is one of the most important historical sites of Iran. Evidence shows that from 7000 years ago to the first millennium before Christ, a lot of people lived in the region, enjoying urban life structures since 5000 years ago the discovery of architectural structures and graves in this region are evidence of continual life during the later centuries there.

"Previous to this a kind of jar burial was discovered in the region, with an infant in it. Due to the discovery we came to the conclusion that the children might have been buried in jars within the Iron Age (3450 to 2550 years ago). Now the recent discovery of the skeleton of an adult man in the jar faced us with new questions," says Ali Mahforouzi, head of excavation team of Gohar Tepe in Mazandaran.

"The clay remains which have been discovered in the vicinity of this jar burial indicates that they should have belonged to the Iron Age, but we have not discovered any kind of adult jar burial during this period so far," added Mahforouzi.

Referring to the discovery of Parthian evidence in the historical site of Gohar Tepe, Mahforouzi explains that since such method of burial was common during Parthian era, it is supposed that adult jar burial dates back to this historical period but the issue has remained a mystery due to the remains of clays belonging to Iron Age in the region.

Regarding the anthropological studies on jar burial, Farzad Forouzanfar, an anthropologist of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Iran says, "This way of burial goes back to the Iron Age, but since no adult jar burial was discovered until now, we can not say for sure."

Previous to this archaeologists discovered a 3000-year-old skeleton with a bronze strap and a semicircle bronze horseshoe from under its head, which raised a lot of questions for archaeologist about such an unknown burial method.

A pair of skeletons belonging to a man and a woman, who were buried in a joint grave, in Gohar Tepe was another discovery which brought some questions to the archaeologists.

Discovery of the cow statuettes in the historical site of Gohar Tepe proved that the people of the region regarded cows as holy creatures 3000 years ago.

The excavations in the site started 2 months ago. The region entered the urbanization phase about 5000 years ago during which it had close trade relations with the inhabitants of Mazandaran and Golestan provinces. (click here to read full article)

Dam construction uncovers Sassanid-style graves near Kermanshah

A team of archaeologists recently discovered Sassanid graves at the future site of the Shian Dam's reservoir near the western Iranian city of Kermanshah, the Persian service of the Cultural Heritage News (CHN) agency reported on Saturday.

The head of the team said that almost thirty graves dating back to the early Islamic era were also found near the Parthian fire temple, a new discovery over the past few weeks.

Due to certain types of structures in the fire temple, the archaeologists surmise that the monument had been used as a mosque (after the advent of Islam in Iran), Hassan Rezvani added.

He also stated that all the corpses but two were aligned toward south with burial gifts inside the graves, a tradition of pre-Islamic era persisting up to that time. In addition, a coin bearing the holy verses of Fatehah surah belonging to the early Islamic era was also found near the graves.

Archaeologists believe that the flowing Shian fountainhead encouraged the first settlements in the region in about 2400 BC. They have identified a great number of historic and ancient sites in the region from the Parthian to the Islamic eras.

Shian Dam is scheduled to come on stream in 2007. (click here to read full article)

Mount Khwajeh, the Biggest Unbaked Mud Structure from Parthian Times

Zahedan, Sistan-Baluchestan province, 2 Nov 2005 (IRNA)

Kuh-e Khwajeh (or Khajeh) Mountain Complex, the biggest model of unbaked mud architecture remaining in Sistan region. This structure is one of the most remarkable relics from the Parthian eras. Kuh-e Khwajeh in ancient time was known as Kuh-i Ushidar.

It is the only natural height left behind in Sistan area, where a palace, fire temple, pilgrimage center and graveyard reminiscent of the past are still in good condition.

The trapezoid-shaped basalt lava, situated 609 meters from the sea level, with a diameter ranging from two to 2.5 kilometres stands 17kms to the southwest of Zabol in the middle of Hamun Khwajeh Lake.

The complex was identified as Parthian for the first time by a British archaeologist in 1916. (click here to read full article) (click here to read Persian Journal version)

Discovery of Kermanshah's Largest Partho-Sassanid Fire Temple

Archaeological excavations behind Shian Dam of Kermanshah (Kermânshâh) province led to the discovery of a big fire temple belonging to Parthian-Sassanid dynastic periods. This is the first fire temple which has been discovered in the vicinity of Kermanshah city. Previous to the discovery no one was aware of the existence of such a fire temple in Shian village.

The aim of these excavations is to save the historical site behind Shian Dam in Shian village of Kermanshah province. There is some evidence from the second millennium before the Christ to the beginning of Islam at the back of the dam. Archaeologists believe that the historical sites and different residencies were formed due to the existence of Sarab-e Shian in the region. Sarab-e Shian has existed since 2400 years ago.

"During the excavations for salvation of the historical site behind Shian Dam in Kermanshah, in one of the near residencies of the dam, a fire temple belonging to Parthian-Sasanid era was discovered, which was unknown until know. This fire temple is 14.5 in 14.5 square meters alongside an adjacent of 5 in 14.5 square meters. Therefore the whole area of the fire temple reaches to 19.5 in 14.5 square meters. Some unique plaster works can be seen in this fire temple," says Hassan Rezvani, head of excavation team of Shian Dam in Kermanshah.

There is also an irrigation channel belonging to the Parthian era near to the fire temple, which archaeologists have not found the relation of this channel with the fire temple yet. The channel is stoneworked with two rows of stones and the bottom of it is covered with 40 in 40 in 7 centimeters bricks. The bottom of the channel is 60 meters long. There are some caulks from the stones of the river which were put to getter in a way to direct the water to the channel from the source head.

"There are several plaster works in the fire temple. The pillar of the brazier was designed with Lotos flower plaster works. Five pillars of braziers are located aside the circumambulation corridor. The pillar of this fire temple was built of mortar, semi hit plaster, and a very hard stone," added Rezvani.

The excavations led to the discovery of some metal dishes which archaeologists believe that they should have been used on braziers. Archaeological studies indicate that the flooring of the fire temple should have been done later. During Islam period some changes was brought to the fire temple. A plaster raised platform was built in the center of the fire temple, which archaeologists believe that this way the fire temple was changed to a mosque. Regarding Islamic ways of burial in the vicinity of the fire temple it is supposed that there must be a mosque or pilgrimage place.

"A 5 in 10 meters plaster floor can be seen in the eastern entrance of the fire temple. There is an adjacent hall in the northern part of the fire temple which was the place for oblations in the fire temple. There is a stonework wall in the front of the eastern gate. And there are some small constructions between the eastern gate and the stonework wall which most probably was used during the Achaemenid era," says Rezvani. (click here to read full article)

Over 700 historical monuments identified in North Khorassan

Bojnourd, North Khorassan province, 31 Oct 2005 (IRNA)

Director general of North Khorassan province Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department, Masoud Faghani, here Sunday said that more than 700 ancient monuments have so far been identified across the province.

He told IRNA that the most ancient one dating back to Parthian era is located in the provincial city of Jajrom and is 2,000 years old.

"Out of the identified relics, 110 have so far been registered as national monuments. In addition, five more have recently been proposed for addition to the list," he added.

He noted that concurrent with measures to identify the historical relics of the area, attempts are underway to introduce the monuments of cultural and historical value for registration.

Turning to the great number of the provincial historical and touristic attractions, he noted, "Our main objective is to restore the touristic status the area deserves by introducing the provincial appeals to Iranians." Espakho temple located at Maneh and Samalqan, Darolhokoumeh building and Mofakhams mirror parlor in the provincial town of Bojnourd and the historical Jalaleddin Fortress are among the most important ancient relics in the area. (click here to read full article)

Parthian Mithraeum on the verge of Destruction

"The subterranean temple of Mithra in village of Verjuy (Verjouy or Varju'i), Maragheh is in ruins, as the result of illegal building projects within the protected zone of the ancient temple, as well as penetration of the surface waters into the cavern and traffic passing over the temple", Neser Zavari the head of Maragheh ICTO told reporters.

"Until now too little has been done to protect this important site. If we want to save this monument from destruction we must change the route of the road passing over the temple, and taking necessary measures to prevent further surface water finding its way inside the caver", He added.

Verjuy Mithraeum carved out of the living rock made of Schist, dates back to the Arsacid Dynasty with a 5.4-meter wide entrance.

"This splendid man-made caved-temple, due to its volume of work and abstruseness can be considered as one of the most exceptional and precious temples of the ancient world", he concluded.

Followers of Mithraism built this temple during the Arsacid dynasty by cutting a huge schist stone on the ground into an entrance 5.40 meters wide. A steep embankment reaches an underground corridor with a crescent-shaped ceiling at the entrance of the cave. The height of the corridor's ceiling is 2.5 meters from the ground and the corridor is 17.60 meters long. The central corridor has many pit-like entrances that lead to underground rooms with dome-like ceilings. Holes were made in many of these ceilings in the Islamic period to allow light to enter the temple. (click here to read full article)

Arsacid Fire Temple Emerges at Dam Construction Site in Kermanshah

A Parthian fire temple was discovered at the future site of the reservoir of the Shian Dam, which is being constructed near the western Iranian city of Kermanshah (Kermânshâh), the Persian service of the Cultural Heritage News (CHN) agency reported on Sunday.

"An archaeological team tasked with saving ancient sites at the reservoir site discovered the fire temple, which had never been referred to in any document before," team director Hassan Rezvani said.

"Covering an area of about 283 square meters, the fire temple seems have been in use until the Sassanid era. The foundations of the monument have been strengthened with stone and mortar and the floor has been covered with numerous blocks made of plaster. The fire temple has a collection of unique plasterworks. The pillars of the five censers have been ornamented with stuccos featuring lotus motifs. The censers are located beside the circumambulation area," he explained.

"The floor of the fire temple was restored by the dynasties that came to power after the Parthians. Due to some structures in the fire temple, the archaeologists surmise that the monument had been used as a mosque (after the advent of Islam in Iran). They also infer numerous Islamic burials near the fire temple.

"The fire temple has a structure adjacent to the northern part, which the archaeologists believe was a place for vows. The monument also has some structures believed to date back to the Achaemenid era."

Archaeologists believe that the flowing Shian fountainhead encouraged the first settlements in the region in about 2400 BC. They have identified a great number of historic and ancient sites in the region from the Parthian to the Islamic eras.

Shian Dam is scheduled to come on stream in 2007. A number of other dams, all in advanced stages of construction, have been identified as threatening Iran's ancient sites in several provinces including Fars in the south, Gilan in the north, Khuzestan in the southwest, and East Azarbaijan in the northwest. (click here to read full article)

Three Parthian Columns were Discovered by Smugglers

"Three Parthian columns were confiscated from smugglers. They belonged to the Ancient temple of "Bard-Neshāndé" located in Masjed Soleiman", Hossein Foruzandeh head of the "Guardians of National Heritage Unit" told in a press conference.

Foruzandeh stated "the discovered columns are varies in lengths, one of them is over 4 meters long, the second one 2.5 meters, and the third one over 1meter long. All handed over to the ICHTO".

"These three confiscated columns were discovered by the smugglers", he added.

"The ancient site of Bard-Neshāndé is an open-air temple, erected during the reign of Arsacid dynasty. The raised and walled platform consists of freestanding masonry columns employed in the temple without mortar, with a 4 meters wide flight of steps made of stone. This site through time has been suffered extensively, from natural causes such as earthquake, as well as damages which have been caused by the locals", archaeologist Mohesen Hosseini, an expert from Khuzestan Province ICHTO told news reporters.

He continued, "today over %80 of the site has been destroyed, and the remaining %20 has been turned into a massive Tappeh (archaeological/historical hill). Its broken pieces of masonry scattered throughout the landscape surrounding the temple and even near the highway."

"A number of columns from the temple already have been taken to Susa Fort for protection", Hosseini concluded. (click here to read full article)

Discovered Ancient Burials from Meshkin-Shahr Belonging to Parthian Period

"Research carried out on number of human remains found in Asghariyeh district of Meshkin-Shar (Meshkinshahr) confirmed their Parthian origin, date back to 2nd century BCE", Asghar Nemati head of archaeological team told news reporters.

"This was an archaeological salvage operation led by ICHTO, when the city's swage workers came across these two ancient graves", said Nemadi.

"Both graves had coverings, one made of earthenware, and the other one with a polished stone. In both graves, we have found humans remains, buried with decorated pottery vessels. The alizarin painted decorations over the Parthian buff and grey coloured Ardebil-wares are consist of geometrical designs such as a star shapes, as well as human and animal presentations", he added.

Meshkin-Shahr (old Khiav) is one of the most ancient cities in Iran. It is located in the north-west of Iran in Ardebil province (ancient Artavillâ) and its distance to Tehran is 839 kilometres. It is the nearest city to the Sabalân high mountain.

"Mehkin-Shar" and especially "Germi", are the two most important towns in Ardebil province, which is commonly accepted among scholars to date back to the the Parthian period. (click here to read full article)

Central Province has breathtaking attractions to offer

Iran's Central Province enjoys so many impressive sites and attractions that it would take several days to visit all of them, according to the Persian service of the Cultural Heritage News (CHN) agency, which briefly described the main ones in a report on Friday.

Khorheh Temple is located in a beautiful village of the same name.

It was long thought that Khorheh was the ruins of a fire-temple from the Seleucid era, but according to the latest discoveries, it appears to be a residential mansion built in the first century BC and occupied until the Parthian era.

Because of its similarities to Greek architecture, Iranian and foreign and archaeologists originally believed that it was a temple.

There is a pond beside the structure which reflects the image of a nearby sunflower farm.

The best time to visit Central Province is early fall, when it gradually starts getting cooler and the pomegranate orchards, sunflower farms, and gardens are in full bloom. (click here to read full article)

Discovery of a Parthian Crypt in Qom

Archaeologists working in Veshnoveh area of Qom have discovered a crypt belonging to the Arsacid dynasty.

"The crypt dated back to late 1st century BCE, was used either as an Ānāhitā or Mithraic temple", said Ali Rustaei, head of Veshnoveh archaeological expedition.

The discovery has taken place in last week of fifth season of archaeological research in Veshnoveh.

More than 50 ancient mines have been identified in Veshnoveh which date back to pre-historic eras and there are evidences that prove the mines were exploited seasonally, he added. (click here to read the full article).

Discovery of Parthian Murals at Zahak Castle

Archaeologists have discovered remains of unique murals from Zahāk castle dated back to Arsacid dynasty.

"The discovered murals are unique and cannot be compared with any other murals from this period, any where in Iran proper or the Greater Iran", said Javad Qandchi, the director of Sixth season of archaeological excavations at the Zahak site.

"The recovered murals have geometrical designs with various colours such as green, blue, red and yellow, placed within white coloured rectangular frames" Qandi stated.

He added, "The research has shown that 80cm of the bottom of the walls have decorated with murals and upper parts in stucco. Mural decoration even can be found in the corridors (5m x 2m in diameters). "The rooms are 10 meters x 5 meters in diameter, built out of mud-brick (Xešt)".

Located in the Hashtrud region of East Azarbaijan Province, Zahak Castle is considered to be one of the few extremely important Parthian sites, which has been excavated several times by experts of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (CHTO) in recent years. (click here to read full article)

Iranian Heritage is being Turned into Cement

Shahr-e Rey Cement Factory devouring Dež-e Rashkān (Rashkān Fort), the spring-capital of Arsacid Dynasty and its imperial Palaces.

The plant is devouring the palatial structures at a rapid pace, and transforming Iranian heritage in to cement.

Unfortunately, most of these relics in Shahr-e Rey including Dež-e Rashkān have been wrecked and ruined as a result of construction and development projects, out of ignorance as well as an excessive and complicated administrative system in Iran. The plant has already gulped down several historic works including an embossed design of Fath'ali-Shah dating back to the Qajar period.

Rashkān fort is located at the summit of mount Sar-Sareh (or Sor-Soreh), and encircles 7,000-years-old Cheshmeh ‘Ali site, and ancient Gabri Castle.

The fort consists of three outer-defence walls with ramparts, palace structures, bath and various underground secret passages, underneath the palaces. During the excavations by cement factory, they have discovered various Parthian and Sasanian stucco-works and weaponries. (click here to read full article)

Iran's Anahita Temple hosted 12,000 visitors

About 12,000 Iranian and foreign tourists visited the Anahita Temple, the ruins of which are located in the city of Kangavar in the western Iranian province of Kermanshah, during the last six months.

"One thousand and two hundred sixty seven of the visitors were foreigners mostly from European countries," the Kangavar Cultural Heritage and Tourism Office told the Persian service of the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

The number of visitors to Kangavar's historical sites and monuments this year has increased 65% compared to the last year, Saeid Dustani added.

Kangavar is a small town lying halfway between Hamedan and Kermanshah. In about 200 BC, during the Seleucid Greek occupation of Kangavar, a major sanctuary was built to the mother goddess Anahita -- who was worshipped in ancient Persia along with Ahura Mazda and Mithras. This vast temple was built of enormous blocks of dressed stone with an imposing entrance of opposed staircases which may have been inspired by the Apadana at Persepolis.

The Anahita Temple is very impressive from an architectural perspective.

Anahita (or Nahid in modern Persian), whose name means "unstained" or "immaculate", was an ancient Persian deity who seems to have been worshipped by the Medes and Persians before they adopted Zoroastrianism.

One of the early references to such a temple is by the Greek geographer Isidore of Charax who reports that in Parthian territory, Ecbatana, the greatest metropolis of Media, retained a temple of Anahita where sacrifices were regularly offered. At Concobar (Kangavar) in lower Media, a temple of Artemis built about 200 BC, was standing when Isidore of Charax wrote, and some vestiges of this Greek-style edifice survive today.

Among the very few carvings of Anahita, one can refer to a rock carving at Naqsh-e Rustam where the chief minister of Sassanid king Yazdegerd's last years Mihr-Naresh is shown receiving investiture from the hands of Anahita, who wears a serrated crown and a sleeveless cloak.

The temple was discovered in 1969 when workers were removing the rubble of a building demolished in a construction project at the site. (click here to read full article.)

Parthian Khorhe's Sixth Season of Archaeological Excavation is Completed

The outcome of the sixth season of archaeological research in the Khorhe resulted in an indication of the boundary of the Parthian structural complex and preparing its plan.

"In this season we have managed to excavate the external and internal parts of the manor house. Also we have found a part of outer wall, which was located in the adjacent tappeh. The courtyard and the rest of the structure will be excavated in future", Dr Mehdi Rahbar, head of excavation announced in a press conference yesterday.

"The outer wall made of travertine stones, with a length 27 to 28 meters from the main gate, which enclose the southwest of the tappeh. Tappeh itself is located in 4000 meters above the plain level, which is expected to be excavated in the near future", Rahbar stated.

"The manor house was erected at the peak of the tappeh's slope, with a views over the plain. It was constructed around 1st century CE, and it was in use until the fall of Parthian dynasty. The structure is of a historical importance which provides us with a valuable information" Rahabr asserted. (click here to read full article)

Scholars call on president to save ancient academic city of Jondishapur

The Khuzestan Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department (KCHTD) and the Abadan Society of Cultural Heritage Lovers have asked President Mahmud Ahmadinejad to save the ancient academic city of Jondishapur, which is facing a rise in illegal excavations, the Persian service of the Cultural Heritage News (CHN) agency reported on Wednesday.

"The rise of illegal excavations is so extensive that if it is not stopped, nothing will remain of the site in a year. The depth of the holes reaches to about two meters in some places," KCHTD official Saeid Mohammadpur said.

"In a collaborative effort with the Abadan Society of Cultural Heritage Lovers, we asked President Ahmadinejad in a letter entitled 'All Iran Is My Homeland' to save the ancient site of Jondishapur," he added.

The letter reads in a part, "Jondishapur's importance is not limited to its history, it is also important for its status. Every four year in the Olympic Games marathon when Greece gloats about the Persians' defeat against the Athenians, why we should not save (Jondishapur), the symbol of the victory of Persia over Rome? Was the city not built by 70,000 Greek prisoners after the Rome's defeat against Persia?"

Located near Dezful, Khuzestan Province in southwestern Iran, Jondishapur or Gondeshapur was a city founded by Sassanid emperor Shapur I (241-272 CE) before the advent of Islam. It was to settle Greek prisoners, hence the name 'Wandew Shapur' or 'acquired by Shapur'. The city was captured by Muslims during the caliphate of Umar, by Abu Musa al-Ashari. At this time it already had a well established hospital and medical school as well as an institution for philosophical studies in ancient times. Mani, the founder of Manicheanism, was imprisoned and executed in Jondishapur.

The name Jondishapur may also come from the Middle Persian language expression Gund-dez-i Shapur (the military fortress of Shapur). It has been argued that Jondishapur might have had a Parthian antecedent. But many scholars believe Shapur I, son of King Ardashir I, founded the city after defeating the Roman army led by Valerian. Shapur II made Jundishapur his capital.

Jundishapur gained its claim to fame during the rule of Khosrow Anushiravan. It is written that the king had a keen interest in the sciences and thus gathered a large group of scholars in his city. It was by his decree that the famous physician Borzuyeh was sent off to India to gather the best minds and sources of knowledge of the day.

Borzuyeh is famous for having translated the ancient text Panchatantra from Sanskrit into Persian, naming it "Kelileh and Demneh". Thus, Jundishapur University became an important center of science, philosophy, and medicine of the ancient world.

Jondishapur had 30 ancient tepes in 1980, but only 14 of them remain. The other mounds have been flattened by farmers for agricultural operations.

Farming has caused extensive damage to the main part of the 300-hectare city, which lies beneath the fields of crops. Dam and road construction projects have also harmed the site over the past few years.

Masud Azarnush, the director of the Archaeological Research Center of Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization had previously said that a number of experts from the center and the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago planned to excavate Jondishapur next year, in order to save the site from being damaged by farming, but it is not clear whether anything will remain for next year's excavation! (click here to read full story)

Bolaghi-Gorge the Biggest Archaeological Salvage Operation in Iran

Bolaghi Gorge is to be immersed under water once the Sivand Dam is inundated, however, its salvation project, the biggest one in the history of Iran's archaeological activities, has engaged the presence of several archaeological teams from 8 countries and spending of hundreds of thousands dollars.

Day-in-day-out excavations in every inch of the site all through the year and the domestic and international efforts in King Road have made the project a global one, which represents the crucial importance of the site and its Achaemenid artifacts.

The activities in the site which will soon submerge due to inundation of Sivand Dam nearby has revealed more than 130 ancient remains so far.

The event can be considered a tragicomedy which originates in the unfortunate fate of the site, but is now providing a suitable opportunity for archaeological experts from all over the world to gather around for salvation of ancient sites and artifacts in the site.

In early 2003, 10 years after the construction of Sivand Dam started on the location of the ancient King Road, a team of experts from the Parse-Pasargadae Research Center was sent to study the site. They found out that the Bolaghi Gorge was not only the bed of the King Road but also the land in which numerous monuments and artifacts were buried.

"Initially, Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) was not aware of these artifacts existence and thought that the only important aspect of the region was the existence of King Road there, but further studies revealed astonishing news," said Babak Kial, director of Pasargadae historical complex.

Since the team did not include archaeologists, a local archaeologist, Farhad Zareyi Kordchuli, was asked to survey and study the will-be-watered region of Bolaghi Gorge. His excavations showed that the Bolaghi Gorge is far more invaluable than it was thought to be and in addition to the King Road and the ancient roosts (Khereft Khaneh), there are lots of more hidden treasures beneath the region's soil.

It turned out that the Sivand Dam inundation will drown all, not only the King Road but also the probable Achaemenid artifacts in the site. The altitude of the dam from the sea level is 1819 meters and the depth of the lake behind it varies in different places.

"It was after the registration of the Pasargadae site on the UNESCO World Heritage List [in 2004] that the Sivand Dam and Bolaghi Gorge's historical remains attracted worldwide attentions," said Kial.

In the same year, the officials of Parse-Pasargadae Research Center asked international archaeologists, through a public recall, to engage in the site salvation project. "Regarding the emergency situation and the importance of the site," said director of the Center, Mohammad Hasan Talebian, "ICHTO asked international experts for participation in both phases of the salvation project salvation of the historical remains before the watering of the dam and proposing strategies for preventing the influence of the dam on the Pasargadae Monument in the long run."

Several experts from Germany, Italy, France, England, Australia, Poland, and Japan announced their readiness to engage in the project.

Mounir Buchenaki, Assistant Director General for Culture section in UNESCO, making a speech for the revelation of Pasargadae world registration plaque, ensured the safety of Cyrus' tomb from Sivand Dam threats and said, "you must try to assert the cultural importance of the site to the government officials. I would also try on my behalf to inform UNESCO's managers."

The formation of an international strategic committee was the next step took by Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization. The supervision of UNESCO over the committee attracted even more experts and archaeologists to the region.

The joint Iranian-Italian archaeologists' team was the first one that began its activity in the early 2005. Their first achievement was the discovery of an Achaemenid village near the King Road.

"With further explorations," indicated Alireza Asgari, head of the Iranian expert of the joint Italian-Iranian team, "we came to the conclusion that the site can be as old as post-Achaemenid era, but the excavation of more than 5000 tiles led us to the discovery of an Achaemenid village."

The results attracted 3 more archaeologists' team from Germany, Poland, and France which began their work in joint teams with Iranian experts.

The Polish-Iranian joint team excavated a wall which surrounded a part of Bolaghi Gorge and could probably have been a defense wall for the village. Also, a ceramic furnace belonging to 7500 years ago and a huge vessel, more than a meter high and weighing 120 kgs, were among the important discoveries there. Further explorations of the team near the King Road led to discovery of a village and its graveyard which belongs to the late Sassanid era and the early Islamic period. The Polish archaeologists' team moreover succeeded to find a structure used for producing alcoholic drinks.

The French-Iranian joint team, also, began its studies on the revetment along the King Road. During these explorations, the team found the skeleton of an adult man, on which studies are still going on. According to Atayi, head of the Iranian experts of the joint French-Iranian team, anthropological studies on this finding can inform us about the physical characteristics of the ancient inhabitants of the area. The team has succeeded so far in finding more than 40 to 60 tombs.

Meanwhile, Babak Kial asserted, "metal forges, an ancient cave, BC residential places and 2 Parthian graveyards are among the most important discoveries of the site." The German-Iranian joint team moreover found a 7000-year site and an ancient signet which can be traced back to 5500 years ago.

Discovering 2 Paleolithic caves and stone instruments are results of the Japanese-Iranian joint team which had begun its activity in June, 2005.

It was then that even Guardian quoted the UNESCO request of archaeologists all over the world for participation in the Bolaghi Gorge salvation project.

The introduction of the issue in an international level urged Iran's Ministry of Energy to allocate a 100,000-dollar budget for the salvation project, though ICHTO's officials deny the arrival of such financial helps up to now. So far, more than 300,000 dollars have been spent by ICHTO.

Responding to a question considering rumors breaking out claiming that the Cyrus' tomb would sink after the watering of Sivand Dam, Mohammad Beheshti, director of ICHTO research center, asserted, "Some people want to make cultural heritage issues political. The rumors are absolutely untrue."

"Pasargadae Monument is located 7 kms from the Sivand Dam" he added," and the distance from the Persepolis is 10 times more than that. The only possible threat is the humidity effects to the site in the long term that will be limited by keeping the water behind the dam on a lower level"

Talebian, however, has announced that ICHTO will prevent the inundation of the dam if any unique remains are discovered on the site. So far, more than 130 historical remains have been excavated.

An international conference will be held by Parse-Pasargadae Research Center by completion of the emergency salvation project.

The Center has plans to begin 48 more excavations in the site. Some evidence of the site is destroyed by 24 illegal excavations. Up to now, 12 areas have undergone excavations and 4 others are under studies.

Parviz Fattah, Iran's Minister of Energy, said, "A joint committee of ICHTO and Ministry of Energy has been formed and not only Sivand Dam project but also every single future dam construction one will be carried out under its supervision. Sivand Dam water level will also be determined by ICHTO experts." (click here to read full story)

A Lesson from Roman History : An Earlier Empire's War on Iraq

CounterPunch Newsletter - Petrolia, CA, USA, 4 Oct 2005

The Roman emperor Trajan reigned from 98 to 117 and brought the empire to its maximum extent. He is generally considered to be one of the " good emperors " who ruled from 96 to 180, and indeed his administration was marked by relative tolerance (towards Christians, for example) and efficiency. Among his mistakes, however, was an attack on the Parthian Empire beginning in 115 or 116. He personally led his troops into Mesopotamia (what we now call Iraq) capturing the capital of Ctesiphon on the Tigris near modern Baghdad. He reached the Persian Gulf and in Edward Gibbon ' s words, " enjoyed the honour of being the first, as he was the last, of the Roman generals, who ever navigated that remote sea. " A man of boundless ambition, he dreamed of sailing from there to far-off India. (click here to read full article).

Archaeologists Discovered Pieces of Parthian Colored Mosaic in Zahhak Castle

(Translated by Mandana Davar-Kia)

The head of deep researches in Zahhak Castle, Ghandgar announced during the sixth season of deep researching within the archeological Zahhak Castle of the Hashtroud of Iran, the pieces of colored mosaic was, in dimensions of 10 by 20 and 15 by 15 centimeters, discovered that belongs to the Ashkani Dynasty.

Ghandgar added likewise a number of pieces of plaster works belonging to ancient era including geometrical and plant-like designs as well as some muddy and brick-shaped walls with white color at two sides mixed with green, yellow, red and blue at some parts have been found out. (click here to read full article).

ICOMOS proposes adding Bistun to UNESCO natural heritage list

The beauty of the Bistun historical complex has inspired ICOMOS experts who recently visited the site to make a proposal to UNESCO to add Bistun to its World Natural Heritage list, the director of the Bistun Project announced on Monday. Maliheh Mehdiabadi said that experts of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (CHTO) had previously submitted the dossier of the site to UNESCO to register it on the World Heritage List.

"The experts of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) who traveled to Iran to study the dossier were also fascinated by it," she added.

However, she expressed concern about the plan to establish the Taq-e Bostan aerial cable cabin in Kermanshah Province, which may ruin Bistun's chance of being registered on the UNESCO world heritage list.

Located 30 k anshah, Bistun contains a number of unique ancient sites from the Median, Achaemenid, Parthian, Seleucid, and Sassanid eras.

The Bistun Inscription, probably the most important monument of the site, is a trilingual statement of Darius I in Old Persian, Elamite, and Babylonian. The inscription, which is approximately 15 meters in height and 25 meters in width, is located on a relatively inaccessible cliff 100 meters above an ancient road connecting the capitals of Babylonia and Media, Babylon and Ecbatana. However, the site can easily be viewed from below. (click here to read full article)

Achaemenid era tepes discovered near Soltanieh Dome

A team of archaeologists recently discovered five Achaemenid tepes near the Soltanieh Dome, the Persian service of CHN announced on Monday.

Archaeologist Davud Abyan said the recent discovery proved that the site was older than previously estimated.

"Shards from the Achaemenid era had been found at the site before, and the recent finding revealed the first signs of the Achaemenid dynasty," he said.

The site also contains ruins from the Sassanid and Parthian eras, and the most recent discovery of the five tepes further confirmed that it was a significant site in the pre-Islamic era, he added.

Since the region is very fertile, the surrounding land has been cultivated by farmers, leading to the destruction of ancient ruins, and the five tepes are the only ones remaining, he stated, adding that the studies would be completed in late October and that emergency excavations would resume afterwards.

The names of the tepes were not announced due to the threat of smuggling.

Situated in Zanjan Province, the Soltanieh Dome, the mausoleum of Oljaitu, was constructed from 1302 to 1312 in the city of Soltanieh, the capital of the Ilkhanids, Mongol descendents of Genghis Khan who controlled large parts of Iran from 1256 to 1349.

Soltanieh was registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List on July 15, 2005 during the 29th Session of the World Heritage Committee, which was held in Durban, South Africa. (click here to read full article)

Ancient outpost marks time

Tampa, Florida, St. Petersburg Times , 2 Oct 2005 (Associated Press)

HATRA, Iraq - Over 2,000 years ago this thriving Mesopotamian oasis city welcomed caravans of camels carrying travelers between East and West, twice held back Roman invaders, and was famous for its tolerance of different religions.

Now Hatra sits in ruins in a vast desert. Parts of its giant temples, columns and arches are still standing under the incessant sun but its city center is probably visited by more rabbits than people. Around it stands a nation still struggling to heal ancient grievances between feuding religious and ethnic groups, hoping to revisit high points in its history where the roots of civilization once sprouted.

The United Nations has declared it a world heritage site, but few people these days risk journeying to the ruins, 200 miles north of Baghdad.

Most visitors are guests of the U.S. military, and a handful of Iraqi guards protect the site. Most of the wire fence surrounding it has collapsed, but a girl in a bright dress is still on hand to dutifully raise a gate for a visiting convoy of Humvees.

Inside the circular city stand several largely intact temples to ancient gods, including a stone shrine over two stories high, dedicated to Shamash, the sun god. Although many relics and statues were rushed away to museums in Baghdad and Mosul during the 2003 invasion, a statue of a robed woman, possibly a king's wife, still stares down at visitors.

Inscriptions in Aramaic, the language once spoken by Christ, are still visible on some buildings.

After the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, looters shot and damaged decorated features on Hatra's walls, McGuire Gibson, an archaeology professor at the University of Chicago, said in an e-mail.

"The site is wonderful to walk around in, especially late in the evening and early in the morning," he said. "It is amazing that such a large city could exist where it does, dependent on cisterns and groundwater.

Gibson was on a U.N. team that investigated stolen or damaged Iraqi antiquities after the war.

"Probably the worst damage was caused by the exploding of munitions by U.S. forces," he said.

Gibson said the military eventually diminished the blasts, which were threatening to destabilize buildings in Hatra, but continued detonating explosives in the area.

Despite the turmoil, glimpses of the city's mixed East-West architecture of Roman, Hellenistic and Parthian styles testify to the diverse tradesmen and travelers who once passed through.

"The significance of Hatra as a bridge between East and West is plain for all to see," Roberta Ricciardi Venco, a professor at Turin University in Italy who has conducted surveys and excavations in the city, said in an e-mail.

The city's two defensive walls remain visible, including the outer one of clay that is over 3 miles long. More than 150 closely spaced towers helped Hatra withstand Roman attack in the second century A.D., according to a guide provided by the U.S. military, but the city eventually fell to the Sassanid empire of what is now Iran.

Hatra's novelty is its largely unexcavated condition. Dozens of unfinished digs lie outside the inner wall of the city, showing sand-covered shapes that leave visitors wondering about what lies beneath.

The site is also recognized by film buffs as the opening scene of the classic movie The Exorcist , in which an aging priest finds a relic that signals he will soon face an evil that turns out to be a demonically possessed girl.

Iraq's recent tortured history is also on display. In the 1990s Saddam Hussein started to reconstruct parts of the site - but ordered that bricks stamped with his name be used.

A handful of bullet casings lined some temple floors and U.S. Black Hawk helicopters swooped above. Though U.S.-led forces have brought relative calm to this rural area, guards warned of insurgents in the distance.

U.S. soldiers said grants were allocated after the invasion to lure tourists to the site, but a nearby hotel now serves as an Iraqi army base. Archaeologists say they don't expect to be back soon.

"You've got to be kidding. I know of no archaeologist who would think of visiting the site right now," said Gibson. (click here to read full article)

Cultural catastrophe: ancient tepes plowed in Susa

Farmers almost entirely destroyed two ancient tepes in Susa, Khuzestan Province while they were plowing the site for cultivation, the Persian service of the Cultural Heritage News (CHN) agency reported on Sunday.

"The site had initially been excavated by a team of Iranian archaeologists and some experts from the University of Chicago in 2002 and 2003. They believed the site dated back to 5000 BC," Abdorreza Peymani, an official of the Khuzestan Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department (KCHTD) said.

"At the present time, agricultural operations have been halted at the site and the KCHTD has filed a lawsuit against the private owner of the land," he added.

Susa (Biblical Shushan, modern Shush) was an ancient city of the Elamite, Persian, and Parthian empires of Iran, located about 150 miles east of the Tigris River in Khuzestan Province of Iran. As well as being an archaeological site, Susa is also mentioned in the Old Testament as one of the places where the Prophet Daniel (AS) lived. His tomb is located in the heart of the city.

Susa is one of the oldest known settlements of the region, probably founded about 4000 BC, though the first traces of an inhabited village date back to 7000 BC. Evidence of a painted pottery civilization dates back to 5000 BC. In historic times, it was the capital of the Elamite Empire. Its name originates from their language it was written variously (Shushan, Shushun etc.) and was apparently pronounced Susan. Shushan was invaded by both Babylonian empires as well as the Assyrian Empire in violent campaigns. After the Babylonian conquest, the name was misunderstood to be connected with the Semitic word Shushan, "lily".

Since it has the most ancient sites and monuments in the country, Khuzestan is considered the heart of Iran's archaeology. However, its archaeological sites have been excavated by smugglers 83 times over the past 15 months, making Khuzestan Iran's most illegally excavated province. (click here to read full article)

Excavation work resumes at Ecbatana

A team of Iranian archaeologists are excavating a stratum of the ancient site of Ecbatana which they believe dates back to the Sassanid or Parthian era.

Covering an area of 35 hectares, the site of Ecbatana is located in the northern section of the western Iranian city of Hamedan. Ruins from various historical periods have been unearthed during previous excavations at the site which indicate that the ancient inhabitants practiced progressive urban planning.

"The new phase of the excavations aims to shed light on the lifestyles during various periods. Thus we don't expect to unearth important artifacts," archaeological team director Masud Azarnush told the Persian service of the Cultural Heritage News (CHN) agency on Saturday.

Ecbatana was the capital of ancient Media and later the summer residence of Achaemenid and Parthian dynasty kings. It is beautifully situated at the foot of Mount Alvand, northeast of Bisotun. In 549 B.C., it was captured by Cyrus the Great. It had a royal treasury which was plundered in turn by Alexander, Seleucus, and Antiochus III.

Also called Hegmatana, the site has never been thoroughly excavated since it is mostly covered by the modern city of Hamedan.

The Hamedan Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department announced last February that it was planning to build the largest Iranian museum at the site of Ecbatana. Ten billion rials was allocated by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei to purchase the site of the proposed museum.

Parts of the site are privately owned. A number of ruins and artifacts have been unearthed during the private owners' construction projects to build houses and shops.

The Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (CHTO) has recently announced that it will allocate funds to purchase the land. (click here to read full article)

Smugglers causing irrevocable damage to Zahak Castle

A team of archaeologists recently discovered the Parthian cemetery of the Zahak Castle, an expert of the team announced on Wednesday.

"We conducted several excavations of separate parts of the castle last year," Javad Qandgar said.

"However, we noticed that some parts of the site had been destroyed by smugglers, who found the cemetery earlier," he added.

Located in the Hashtrud region of East Azarbaijan Province, Zahak Castle is considered one of the few extremely important Parthian sites and has been excavated several times by experts of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (CHTO) in recent years.

Qandgar stated that the archaeologists would not excavate the entire site due to the lack of proper security.

"If the cemetery is left unguarded after the entire excavation is finished, the site will be plundered again by smugglers," he warned.

There are plans to establish a permanent research facility and guard house in order to protect the cemetery after the excavations are completed, he explained.

Parthian cemeteries are important sites since they are not discovered frequently.

Alexander occupied Media in the summer of 330 BC. In 328 he appointed Atropates, a former general of Darius, as satrap. In the partition of his empire, southern Media was given to the Macedonian Peithon but the north, which lay far off and was of little importance for the generals who fought for the inheritance of Alexander, was left to Atropates.

While southern Media with Ecbatana passed to the rule of Antigonus, and afterwards to Seleucus I, Atropates maintained himself in his satrapy and succeeded in founding an independent kingdom. Thus the partition of the country, which the Persians had introduced, became lasting the north was named Atropatene, after the founder of the dynasty, a name which is preserved in modern Azarbaijan.

The capital was Gazaca in the central plain, and the strong castle of the city was Phraaspa, which was believed to be identical with the great ruin Takht-e Suleiman, with the remains of Sassanid fire temples and of a later palace.

A number of archaeologists also previously believed that Phraaspa was located in the region around Bakhtak Castle in southern East Azerbaijan Province.

During the most recent studies, archaeologists also discovered some mud brick ruins decorated with colored plaster at the Zahak Castle. (click here to read full article).

Iran's 72-hectare Acropolis deserted

The history of Tepe Mil coincides with mythological Rey city which is a remnant of the Assyrian rule.

The historical site of Tepe mil, 72-hectare vast, and several satellite hills hiding lots of secrets from the Parthian era to the time of flourishing of Islamic Art, are in danger of destruction due to lack of facilities and preservation, CHN reported.

A building has been discovered in the excavations in Tepe Mil, which is one of the most important hills of the historical site located 11 kilometers South East of Tehran. Archaeologists have not yet reached an agreement on the identity of the hill, whether it was a Fire Temple or a Royal Castle.

The destruction of the monument, which the experts believe, based on historical evidence there, can be compared to Acropolis in Greece, has become the main concern of archeologists.

Six years ago the site was covered with a temporary ceiling to help preserve it against rain and wind, which has been broken during the years and nobody is taking any action to prevent the destruction of this historical site.

The site was covered with this temporary ceiling after the last excavations in the site which go back to 1999. The project for preservation and excavation of the site was supposed to be completed by support from the German government, but no contracts have been signed yet between the two countries in this respect.

According to Firoozeh Sheibani, head of the research team of Tepe Mil, no budget has been considered for preservation of the site yet. Because of rain and the changes of weather, the collapse of the iron pillars of the temporary roof has inflicted serious damages on the site.

Tepe Mil is not only important for its cultural, historical, and archeological characteristics, but according to what experts and archeologists believe, it is an area in which evidence of transition from the Parthian to the Sassanid era, and pre- Islamic to Islamic periods can be found. The geological conditions of the area from the forth geological period have made this area an appropriate settlement choice. Therefore, archaeologists try to study it in order to find out some historical secrets and answer questions about the process of life from the Paleolithic period to the present time.

In addition to the damages of the main building, the last plaster works of Sassanid era, which in are as important as those of Sassanid Castles in Chal Tarkhan, Nezam Abad, and the mighty Castle of Kish in Mesopotamia, are in danger under the broken preservative ceiling of the site. While according to Sheibani, these plaster works belonging to the Sassanid era, can be an important evidence for the historical art researchers.

Sheibani says, "Although the main part of the plaster has been plundered during the first excavation which had been done by Pezar, a French archaeologist working in Iran during the last years of Qajar era, but there are still invaluable evidence which can be a guide to discover a lot of secrets."

The site was dug for the first time in 1909 was by the French archaeologist, Pezar. Due to the incorrect and careless method of excavations serious damages were caused to the historical layers of Tepe Mil. Then the site was neglected for 43 years until 1950s when Ali Hakemi, an archeologist, started some excavations there. After that, the historical site of Tepe Mil was abandoned again until 1999 when a team headed by Firouzeh Sheibani started some new excavations there, which led to the discovery of some unknown architectural structure of the site, transforming it into a unique heritage. The space consisted of a central opened yard with porticos around.

Most probably this historical site has been called Tepe Mil (hill of pillars) because of the two high pillars remaining from the old building.

"Since the historical evidence gained from the recent excavations indicate that the hill is comparable to Acropolis hill in Greece, we can attract a lot of tourists there," says Mehdi Memarzadeh, head of the Restoration Center of Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Tehran province.

According to Memarzadeh, during the first excavations in 1909, 7 meters of the building and the east pillars on which some molding animals and humans were designed, and some parts of the surrounding cells were unearthed. Considering the evidences, it is believed that the building was a worship place for Zoroastrians, but until ashes are not found, the belief can not be confirmed.

The diameter of the pillars is 2 meters and two porticoes are found around it. A panel which is decorated with a broken cross, belonging to the Sassanid era, has also been found near the building.

Despite all the significance experts attribute to the site, the Acropolis of Iran is not receiving the proper treatment it deserves. (click here to read full article.)

Hotel construction could blight Zoroastrian cemetery in southern Iran

A Zoroastrian cemetery at the Shoghab ancient site in Iran's southern city of Bushehr is being threatened by construction of a five star hotel nearby, the Persian service of the Cultural Heritage News (CHN) agency reported on Monday.

"In a letter sent to the Bushehr Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department, we have warned the department that every act of interference or ownership is illegal at this site, and the establishment of tourism facilities must be implemented by the expert committee of the Archaeology Department of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization," CHTO Archaeology Department Director Jalil Golshan told CHN.

The hotel is being constructed by the private sector.

Registered on the National Heritage List in 1998, the Shoghab site is located three kilometers south of Bushehr and includes ruins from the Parthian and Sassanid eras. The site has the only Zoroastrian cemetery in the country, which sheds light on the style of Zoroastrian burials during ancient times.

The stone graves of the cemetery contain no remains of bodies because burials were not common among Zoroastrians. But a number of earthenware ossuaries have been discovered at the site. The ancient Zoroastrians believed that the earth was pure, so they did not bury the dead in order to prevent the pollution of the earth. Instead, they placed the dead in stone graves or towers of silence. After the bodies decomposed over time, the remains were kept in earthenware ossuaries. (click here to read full article).

Stone mines used to construct Anahita Temple discovered

Archaeologists recently discovered four mines that provided the stones used in the construction of the Anahita Temple, the ruins of which are located in the city of Kangavar in the western Iranian province of Kermanshah.

"The mines are located in the National Garden in downtown Kangavar, Qureh-Jin and behind the Shahrak-e Vali-e Asr in the south (of the town), and Allah-Daneh district in the north," the director of the Kangavar Cultural Heritage and Tourism Office told the Persian service of the Cultural Heritage News (CHN) agency on Friday.

"There is evidence that the mine had been utilized in ancient times. The vertical and horizontal incisions indicate that the stones had been cut for construction purposes. Even some unfinished columns and stone cubes were discovered in some of the mines," Saeid Dustani added.

Archaeologists had previously discovered the Chehel Maran, Soltanababad, and Helal-e Ahmar stone mines in the region, which they believe also provided stones for the construction of the temple.

"Last year, a mason began using the stones of the mines for restoration of the temple, but the project was halted. There are many stones at the site of the temple and we do not need to exploit the mines for the renovation of the temple. Our office plans to register the mines on Iran's National Heritage List in order to safeguard them. At the present time, the mine located in the National Garden is threatened by construction projects. It is difficult to demarcate the mine due to the projects," he explained.

Kangavar is a small town lying halfway between Hamedan and Kermanshah. In about 200 BC, during the Seleucid Greek occupation of Kangavar, a major sanctuary was built to the mother goddess Anahita -- who was worshipped in ancient Persia along with Ahura Mazda and Mithras. This vast temple was built of enormous blocks of dressed stone with an imposing entrance of opposed staircases which may have been inspired by the Apadana at Persepolis.

The Anahita Temple is very impressive from an architectural perspective.

Anahita (or Nahid in modern Persian), whose name means "unstained" or "immaculate", was an ancient Persian deity who seems to have been worshipped by the Medes and Persians before they adopted Zoroastrianism.

One of the early references to such a temple is by the Greek geographer Isidore of Charax who reports that in Parthian territory, Ecbatana, the greatest metropolis of Media, retained a temple of Anahita where sacrifices were regularly offered. At Concobar (Kangavar) in lower Media, a temple of Artemis built about 200 BC, was standing when Isidore of Charax wrote, and some vestiges of this Greek-style edifice survive today.

Among the very few carvings of Anahita, one can refer to a rock carving at Naqsh-e Rustam where the chief minister of Sassanid king Yazdegerd's last years Mihr-Naresh is shown receiving investiture from the hands of Anahita, who wears a serrated crown and a sleeveless cloak.

The temple was discovered in 1969 when workers were removing the rubble of a building demolished in a construction project at the site. (click here to read full article)

33 Ancient Coins Seized from Smugglers

Custom officials in Tehran have come across 33 ancient coins belonging to the Parthian, Sasanid and post Sasanid eras while examining nine parcels destined for overseas.

A custom official told Fars news agency that the owners of parcels had used fake sender address on the back of the packets.

However, experienced custom officers managed to identify the suspicious parcels and prevent their dispatch abroad. Meanwhile, cultural heritage experts were invited to give their opinion on the artifacts.

Experts said that the export of ancient relics including coins are banned by the Iranian law.

Italian Expert Helps in Hegmateneh Stratigraphy

The historical site of Hegmataneh, in Hamadan province, will be undergoing a new season of archaeological studies by end of August.

The previous season of work led to the discovery of several strata dating to the Parthian dynasty to Islamic era. The new season, which will be carried out by cooperation of Iranian experts and an Italian archaeologist, also aims at stratigraphy studies of Hegmataneh Tepe.

As head of the excavation team, Masud Azarnush, explained to CHN, during the last 15 years extensive archaeological work has been carried out on the site, however, the information regarding eras during which Hegmataneh has been residential is not yet comprehensive.

Azarnush is hopeful that the cooperation of the Italian archaeologist, Bissione, who is an expert in stratigraphy and archaeology of the first half of the first millennium BC, would be of great benefit to the team's achievements, specially since the upcoming work is to be focused on studying the strata remaining from Median empire, the first Iranian dynasty.

Key Parthian Dynasty Site Undergoes Restoration

The architectural structures of Zahhak Fortress site, one of the key archaeological sites of Iran from the Parthian dynasty times, is to undergo urgent restoration and preservation activities.

Zahhak Fortress, located in the north western province of East Azarbaijan, has been vastly excavated by the Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) in the recent years. It consists of several remains from the Parthian era including halls and architectural spaces with eye-catching plaster decorations, also some remains from the Sasanid era.

According to head of Zahhak project, Javad Ghandgar, to prevent the 15x15 square meter hall discovered recently from destruction due to precipitation and wind, previously set-up counter ceilings will be set up and new ones constructed. The stone walls of the complex are moreover to be restored and fortified.

Ghandgar explains that the restoration works are part of the preliminary stage to prepare for the new season of excavations there.

Since the number of Parthian sites throughout Iran is limited, the site of Zahhak Fortress is of great importance for archaeological studies of the era.

Stronach to guide Iranian archaeologists' search for Parthian city

British archaeologist David Stronach is to come to Iran in early September in order to give a report on the studies he has carried out in search of Hecatompylos in the area of modern-day Shahr-e Qumis near Damghan, Iran over the years, the director of the Damghan Cultural Heritage and Tourism Office said on Friday. "Iran's Archaeological Research Center has invited Stronach to travel to Iran to give the report and guide Iranian archaeologists in searching for the Parthian city," Masumeh Davudian added.

"Due to old age, he will not be able to directly take part in the operation, but his guidance will be very effective for upcoming excavations," she noted.

Stronach is recognized as one of the pioneers of archaeology in Iran. Educated at Cambridge, Stronach was director of the British Institute of Persian Studies for twenty years beginning in 1961, during which time he also conducted excavations throughout the Middle East.

He has directed and co-directed a number of excavations in Iraq (at Ras al 'Amiya and Nineveh), in Iran (at Pasargadae, Nushijan Tepe, and Shahr-i Qumis), and in the Caucasus (at Horom and Velikent).

Shahr-i Qumis was known to the Greeks as Hecatompylos or "the Hundred Gated City."

Hecatompylos is one of the Parthian royal capitals in western Khorasan. It might have already fallen into decline when the Seleucids revived it as a military outpost about 300 BC. By about 200 BC it was the Arsacid (Parthian) capital and is mentioned as such by Pliny, Strabo, and Ptolemy.

Hecatompylos lay on the Silk Road trade route between the Near East and China. Although it is thought to have been situated somewhere between the present-day Iranian cities of Damghan and Shahrud, its exact location has not been established.

Modern Damghan is a city in the Parthian district of Traxiane, later known as Khorasan. It has been inhabited since prehistoric times and was the original capital of the ancient province of Qumis. (click here to read full article).

Archaeologists restoring ruins near Zahak Castle

A team of archaeologists has begun restoration work on the ruins recently discovered near the Parthian site of Zahak Castle in Iran's northwestern province of East Azarbaijan, the director of the restoration project of the castle said on Saturday.

"We have discovered ruins of several structures including a 15 x 15 meter auditorium, which will be covered with gable to prevent damage caused by rainfall," Javad Qandgar added.

"In addition, we plan to restore the walls, particularly the ones that have been severely damaged," he said.

Considered one of the few extremely important Parthian sites, Zahak Castle has been excavated several times by experts of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (CHTO) over the past few years.

During the last excavation carried out in April 2005, archaeologists discovered Phraaspa, an ancient castle of the Parthian province of Atropatene.

According to some historical documents, Phraaspa was located somewhere in Azarbaijan. They have also found more than 20 habitation sites and eight barbicans from the Parthian era at the site.

Alexander occupied Media in the summer of 330 BC. In 328 he appointed Atropates, a former general of Darius, as satrap. In the partition of his empire, southern Media was given to the Macedonian Peithon but the north, which lay far off and was of little importance for the generals who fought for the inheritance of Alexander, was left to Atropates.

While southern Media with Ecbatana passed to the rule of Antigonus, and afterwards to Seleucus I, Atropates maintained himself in his satrapy and succeeded in founding an independent kingdom. Thus the partition of the country, which the Persians had introduced, became lasting the north was named Atropatene, after the founder of the dynasty, a name which is preserved in modern Azarbaijan.

The capital was Gazaca in the central plain, and the strong castle of the city was Phraaspa, which was believed to be identical with the great ruin Takht-e Suleiman, with remains of Sassanid fire temples and of a later palace.

A number of archaeologists also previously believed that Phraaspa was located in the region around Bakhtak Castle in southern East Azerbaijan Province.

The CHTO archaeologists plan to begin a new phase of excavations at Zahak Castle in early September. (click here to read full article).

Zoroaster's Kaba, world's most unique ancient calendrical building: archaeologist

An Iranian archaeologist has rejected the theory describing the Achaemenid era monument Zoroaster's Kaba as an ancient government archive, saying that the monument is the world's most unique calendrical and astronomical building.

"At the end of Shahrivar (the sixth month of the Iranian calendar, August 23-September 22) we can determine exactly the day of the month by the light shed by the sun on Zoroaster's Kaba. It has been used for daily needs, determining the time of cultivating crops, and collecting taxes," Reza Moradi Ghiasabadi explained.

Zoroaster's Kaba is located beside the Achaemenid era Naqsh-e Rustam monument, just a few kilometers from Persepolis in Fars Province. The inner room of Zoroaster's Kaba is 2.5 x 2.5 meters in area.

"To realize the fact that the building had not been a center for storing governmental documents and books only requires that you enter the monument. You will grasp that such a small building could not be used as a center for documents of a great empire like the Achaemenid dynasty," Moradi explained.

"Some foreign astronomers recently visited and photographed the monument and they are currently studying it due to my theory," he said.

"Iranian cultural officials pay no heed to the new theories posed by Iranian researchers. For example, if it's said that the statue of Shapur I has been discovered at Bistun, they will go there to see the artifact, asking for no proof of its accuracy, but my or my colleagues' research, which has no visual evidence, is not considered," he complained.

There are various theories on the original purpose of Zoroaster's Kaba. Some experts believe that the monument was the home of a complete copy of the Avesta which had been written on 12,000 cows' skins. Some Orientalists also believe that Zoroaster's Kaba was a place where the Zoroastrians' sacred fire was kept burning eternally.

A number of other researchers say that the monument is the tomb of Smerdis, the son of Cyrus the Great, who was murdered by his brother Cambyses (king of Persia 530–522 BC).

Zoroaster's Kaba bears a Sassanid era inscription explaining the historical events during the reign of the Sassanid king Shapur I (241-272 CE).

The trilingual inscription, written in the Sassanid and Parthian dialects of Middle Persian and ancient Greek, describes the war between Persia and Rome in which Shapur I defeated the Roman emperor Valerian, who was captured in June 260 and died in captivity.

European scholars have named the inscription "Res Gelase Divi Saporis" (The Book of Deeds of the Emperor Shapur).

Roman legion founded Chinese city: Survivors of Crassus's routed army said to have built town

Roman soldiers who disappeared after a famous defeat founded a city in eastern China, archaeologists say.

The phantom legion was part of the defeated forces of Marcus Licinius Crassus, according to the current edition of the Italian magazine Archeologia Viva.

The famously wealthy Crassus needed glory to rival the exploits of the two men with whom he ruled Rome as the First Triumvirate, Pompey the Great and Julius Caesar.

Crassus decided to bring down the Parthian Empire - a fatal choice.

His forces were routed in 53 BC outside the Mesopotamian city of Carre - today's Harran - and he was beheaded.

According to the Roman historian Pliny, the Romans who survived were taken to a prison camp in what is now northern Afghanistan.

When Rome and Parthia sued for peace in 20 BC - 33 years after Crassus's last battle - all trace of the prisoners had disappeared.

The survivors of Crassus's legion became a mystery, walking ghosts in Roman legends. A Chinese historian in the Han Empire, China's second dynasty, provided an answer to the riddle in the early 3rd century AD.

The historian, Bau Gau, wrote that a Chinese war leader defeated a group of soldiers drawn up in typical Roman formation.

Crassus's old troops must now have been in their fifties and sixties.

Bau Gau said the foreigners were moved to China to defend the strategically important eastern region of Gansu, near today's city of Yongchang.

This is where the survivors founded the city of Liquian, the only site in China where the mark of Ancient Rome can be seen. 'Liquian' is said to mean 'Roman'.

The city has been virtually unknown outside China although hundreds of people visit it each year, admiring traces of defensive wallworks and pieces of broken pottery.

The number of visitors is certain to rise. Crassus, celebrated as the richest Roman of them all in pre-Imperial days, was never satisfied with his wealth and had an undying lust for glory.

Eighteen years before his doomed expedition to Parthia he put down a slave revolt led by the Thracian slave Spartacus. In Stanley Kubrick's epic film he was played by Laurence Olivier (click here to read full article).

Lost Median medallion found after 30 years

After having been misplaced for three decades, a brass medallion bearing the image of a Median nobleman was found in the Tehran University Archaeology Institute's storehouse for artifacts discovered at Qareh-Tappeh near Sagzabad, Qazvin Province.

Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization expert Mehrdad Malekzadeh said on Friday that the medallion is probably a belt buckle.

"The medallion is made of white brass and the engraved figure on the medallion is wearing an Iranian costume dating back to the Median era.

"The figure is wearing a Median era hat and wrinkled costume. He is also wearing a pair of leather riding boots and holding a mace in his hand," he added.

Malekzadeh believes that the design of the engravings on the medallion is a cross between the style of ancient Lorestan and the style of gold and silver medallions found in the ancient Oxus treasure.

"The medallion seems to have a simpler design compared to those of the Oxus, but enjoys better craftsmanship compared to the Lorestan brass works," he said

The mystery of why the nobleman is wearing a Median hat and a Parthian costume can only be explained through research and reexamination of the ancient texts, he noted.

Geographically, the plain of Qazvin is part of North Central Iran and is located on the southern slopes of the Alburz Mountains.

Archaeological studies of the region began in the 1970s with excavations of the three sites of Zagheh, Ghabrestan, and Sagzabad. However, no comprehensive research was carried out on the artifacts discovered at the sites, some of which date back to circa 3000 BC. (click here to read full article).

Excavations underway to locate ancient Greek temple in western Iran

A team of Iranian archaeologists recently began searching for the location of the ancient Greek Laodicea Temple in Nahavand, Hamedan Province, the director of the team announced on Thursday. "On June 15, the team began excavations, which will probably last until late July," Mehdi Rahbar added.

In 1943, archaeologists discovered an ancient inscription written in Greek in Nahavand, indicating the existence of a temple named Laodicea in the area, which dated back to the reign of Antiochus III the Great (223-187 BC), the Seleucid king who ruled Asia Minor.

He was the most distinguished of the Seleucids. Having made vassal states out of Parthia in present-day northeastern Iran and Bactria (an ancient country in Central Asia), he warred successfully against the Egyptian king Ptolemy V and in 198 BC obtained possession of all of Palestine and Lebanon.

He later became involved in a conflict with the Romans, who defeated him at Thermopylae in 191 BC and at Magnesia (now Manisa, Turkey) in 190 BC. As the price of peace, he was forced to surrender all his dominions west of the Taurus Mountains and to pay costly tribute. Antiochus, who early in his reign had restored the Seleucid Empire, finally forfeited its influence in the eastern Mediterranean by his failure to recognize the rising power of Rome. (Click here to read full article)

Rock music enhances suicidal sentiments, new study suggests

Moscow, 21 Jun 2005 (Pravda)

Rock music can destroy the brain through the impact of ultra and infra sounds which are inaudible t uman ear

People took note of the medicinal properties of music a long time ago. A music theater for medical purposes was built in the Kingdom of Parthia in the 3rd century B.C. Doctors at the theater used specially selected melodies for treating patients with depression, nervous disorders and heart problems. Enough evidence was gathered over the last century to prove that electromagnetic waves produced by the sounds of music could make vibrate every cell of the human body. Music can change the blood pressure and heart rate, it can also dramatically change the rhythm and character of breathing. (Click here to read full article)

American Archaeologist Authenticates Afghanistan's Recovered National Treasures

Washington Report, May/June 2005, pages 42-43

Special Report by Pat McDonnell Twair

Television Viewers around the world witnessed the looting of priceless antiquities from Iraq's national museum as U.S. troops passively observed the blatant theft of a nation's heritage.

It was presumed the same thing happened to Afghanistan's historical treasures when that country's national museum was reduced to a roofless, derelict building during the war against Soviet occupation and subsequent Taliban rule.

But archaeologists were puzzled by the fact that most of the precious objects from the Kabul museum failed to show up in Western auction houses. The museum had gained notoriety for its collection of more than 21,000 primarily gold objects of the Bactrian culture recovered in 1978 at Tilya Tepe (Mountain of Gold) by Russian archaeologist Viktor Sarianidi. As word of the horde of gold ornaments spread, Sarianidi rushed the treasure trove to the Afghan capital for safety. [More. ]

Parthian and Sassanid Inscribed Vocabulary Collected in a Dictionary

Tehran, May 30 (Iranian Cultural Heritage News Agency) – All the vocabulary of the Sassanid and Parthian inscriptions, seals, papyri, and pottery are collected and are to be published in a comprehensive dictionary by end of September.

The book is the most complete collection ever of the Pahlavi words found in rock inscriptions, seals, pottery writing, and papyri dating back to the Sassanid and Parthian era.

The book is the most complete collection ever of the Pahlavi words found in rock inscriptions, seals, pottery writing, and papyri dating back to the Sassanid and Parthian era.

According to Darius Akbarzadeh, director of the Hall of Inscriptions of the Iranian National Museum which is in charge of the project, the book covers all the words inscribed at the two era, not only those of the large and famous inscriptions, and both those found on rocks and mountains and the movable ones.

"Each entry of the dictionary includes the original form of the word, its phonetics, its frequency of use, the address of the including inscription(s), and finally the Persian translation," explains Akbarazadeh.

The dictionary is planned to come to the market by end of September 2005.

Previously, just a concise collection of Pahlavi words of unmovable inscriptions found on rocks and mountains were compiled by Sorbonne professor, director of the studies of ancient Iran religions, and president of the association for the development of Iranian studies, Philippe Gignoux.

Pahlavi was the formal language of the Parthian and Sassanid era.

The Parthian Empire was the dominating force on the Iranian plateau beginning in the late 3rd century BCE, and intermittently controlled Mesopotamia between ca 190 BCE and 224 CE. Parthia was the arch-enemy of the Roman Empire in the East and it limited Rome's expansion beyond Cappadocia (central Anatolia). The end of the empire came in 224 CE.

Of the Parthian times, no literary inscription is left because Aramid and Greek were the more popular languages of the time. Writings on clays and rocks are the only Pahlavi remnants of the era.

The Sassanid dynasty (also Sassanian) ruled Iran during the era of the second Persian Empire, from 224 until 651, when the last Sassanid King, Yazdegerd III, lost a 14-year struggle to drive out the Umayyad Caliphate, the first of the Islamic empires.

The inscriptions of Ardeshir in Naghsh-e Rostam of Shiraz, Fars, those of Shapur, and the one related to Zoroaster in the Zoroastrian Kaaba are the most important ones remaining from the Sassanid era. Pahlavi words of the Sassanid era are also found on bowls, glasses, mirror frames, etc. (click here to read full article)

Choob Tarash Excavation Operations

Khorramabad, Lorestan province, 29 May 2005 (IRNA)

Archaeologists work in Choob Tarash village near the provincial capital Khorramabad, western Iran, to find clues from Arsacid dynasty (250 BC-AD 226). A bronze coffin belonging to the Parthian era has recently been discovered in the region.
(click here to read full story)
Photo by IRNA bureau in Khorramabad

Bronze Coffin with Golden Blindfold Found in Western Iran

A two thousand-year bronze coffin containing a skeleton with golden blindfold and muzzle was found by archaeologists in a farm near Khorram-abad, in western province of Lorestan.

"These golden blindfold and muzzle Indicates that they belonged to a person from high class" said Jalal Adeli, the head of excavation group.

The shape of this 180x87x55cm coffin is similar to a bathtub with four helves. The blindfold and muzzle which were found over the skeleton was made of narrow golden layer.

"Regarding the ceramics which were found around the coffin, we guess it can be traced back to Parthian era" said Adeli.

Archeologists hope to find some designs on the coffin after removing layers of deposit.

These excavations began when a farmer informed the Cultural Heritage Organization officials that some people wander around her farm with metal detector.

"After the arrival of excavation group and urgent speculation with help of police, we finally found the coffin and its contents on February 10th" Cyrus Ebrahimi, chief of Lorestan cultural heritage, told CHN.

"Because of the probability of illegal excavations and to prevent the damage to the site, we decided not to let the news break out until the arrival of professional archaeologists group" he added.

Hope to find other ancient artifacts a professional excavation group is currently working on the site.

Earth pressure has broken the coffin into four parts, therefore all the found artifacts were sent to laboratory of Falak-ol-aflak castle for research and restoration.

"We would find out the gender, death cause, body measures and probable disease of the person whose skeleton is found," said Farzad Foroozanfar, the anthropologist in charge of the project.

The only bronze coffin found so far in the region, was related to Arjan treasure which belonged to Kiddin-Khutran, the Elamite king, and was excavated during the construction of Behbahan dam.

The bronze coffin will be exhibited in Cultural Heritage Week (18-25 May), after restoration. (click here to read full article)

Gharbal Biz of Yazd Dates Back to Achaemenid, not Parthian, Times

New round of studies in Gharbal Biz of Yazd shows that the historical site which was so far considered a Parthian legacy, dates back to the Achaemenid era.

The site which is located in the Mehriz area of the central province of Yazd is the first to undergo archaeological excavations in the province.

Previously a graveyard and a Mithraism temple, plus artifacts dating to the Parthian and Sassanid times, led the experts to identify the site as dating back to the Parthian era, but new discoveries of pottery, studies on the graveyard and structural plans of the site have made them change their view and consider the area as from the Achaemenid times.

According to head of the excavation team, Azarmidokht Esfandiari, comparison of the Gharbal Biz objects with other pottery and tools of the Achaemenid era discovered elsewhere, has made archaeologists date the history of the site back to the Achaemenid era.

The dating back of the site to some 2500 years ago is evidence of the province's long history, where most of the previous studies have been focused on Islamic and historical sites and monuments. (click here to read full article)

Inflation Rate in Parthian Times: Less than One Percent

Studies on three pieces of hide discovered in Uraman of Kurdistan in 1909 revealed them as documents of several sales of one piece of land during one century at the Parthian times with an inflation rate of less than one percent.

The hides were accidentally discovered by a shepherd working in Uraman area in a cave in 1909. They were translated and published by an Englishman in 1915, and right now are kept in the British Museum, London.

The first two documents are written in Greek and the third in Aramaic which has been the official handwriting of secretaries of the Achaemenid and Parthian times.

The documents are of the sale of a vineyard in 88 BC, in 21 or 22 BC, and in 11 AD. The land is sold for 30 silver Dirhams the first time and the next two following times, and 55 silver Derhams for the last time.

Head of the Archaeology Research Center of the ICHTO, Masoud Azarnoush, who have studied the inscriptions, sees the discovery of these documents as a unique event that is of great value for history, economy, and for Iranian archaeology.

If silver Dirhams are considered to have a stable value throughout the years, the prices reveal that the inflation rate during the Parthian times has been less than one percent.

According to Azarnoush, the documents date back to the time that Iran was gaining great victories over its neighbors especially the Romans. "We can say that at the time that Iran had a strong military and political situation, its economic conditions were somehow stable too," said Azarnoush.

An interesting point mentioned in the documents, as Azarnoush explains, is the guarantee by the buyer to cultivate the land. In case the land is left barren, the buyer must pay a large sum of fine, 200 Dirhams which is four times the price of the land, to the government. Meanwhile, the seller also guaranteed to help the buyer out in cultivating the land, so that if the buyer was sick or for some other reason unable to continue production, the seller who was accounted responsible for the matter.

The punishment considered by the Parthians for lack of economic productions, Azarnoush believes, is another reason for improvement of production and boosting economy at the time. (click here to read full article)

Italian digs unearth ancient Parthian court

Italian digs in Turkmenistan are unearthing an extensive archaeological complex that was once a flourishing artistic and political center for the ancient civilization of Parthia. The latest round of digs has revealed invaluable detail about a fortified complex, located 18km southwest of the country's modern capital Ashkhabad, near the border of Iran, according to the excavation director, Antonio Invernizzi of Turin University.

Archaeologists believe that Old Nisa, one of the Parthian Empire's earliest capitals, was founded in the 2nd century BC.

It was renamed Mithradatkirt, or fortress of Mithradates (171-138 BC) after the king who turned Parthia into a powerful empire and one of Ancient Rome's greatest rivals.

Invernizzi explained that the complex expanded out from an original cluster of buildings protected by walled fortifications after Mithradates conquered Iran and Mesopotamia.

So far, he said, perfectly conserved walls of six to eight meters high had been uncovered, with the original decoration still distinguishable.

Substantial buildings, Mithraic mausoleums and shrines, inscribed documents and a looted treasury have also come to light.

Smaller finds include various artworks, marble statues, fragments of massive clay monuments -- including a depiction of Mithradates -- and around 40 ivory drinking horns, the outer rims of which decorated with people or classical mythological scenes.

Italian archaeologists started excavating Old Nisa -- which was totally destroyed by an earthquake in the first decade BC -- in 1990, picking up where earlier digs by the Russians had left off in the 1950s.

The Parthian Empire was the most powerful force on the Iranian plateau from the 3rd century BC onwards, intermittently controlling Mesopotamia between 190 BC and 224 AD.

Originally a tribe of nomads, the Parni people rose to power under Mithradates.

At one point, its empire occupied all of modern Iran, Iraq and Armenia, parts of Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. It also briefly held territories in Pakistan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine. (click here to read full article)

Same old sad story: Dams violating Iran's cultural heritage

Once again, we must hear the sad story of the construction of dams violating Iran's ancient sites. Unfortunately, this probably will not be the last time the tale is told.

A total of 42 ancient and historical sites from the Elamite, Parthian, Achaemenid, Sassanid, and Islamic eras will be submerged by the Salman-e Farsi, Mulla Sadra, and Marvast dams in Iran's southern province of Fars, an expert of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization said on Monday.

The ancient and historical sites have been identified through initial studies, however, the number is expected to increase after comprehensive studies, Alireza Asgari added.

According to the schedule set by the Ministry of Energy, the Mulla Sadra Dam near the town of Lamard and the Salman-e Farsi Dam near the town of Qir will become operational in the early months of 2006. Construction of the dams began in 1994. The Marvast Dam is also nearing completion.

"The main structures of the dams are located in the areas which are home to many significant ancient sites. For example, archaeologists have found evidence of the presence of a great fire temple in the reservoir area of the Salman-e Farsi Dam," Asgari said.

"Despite the time limit, no widespread studies or excavations have been carried out at the sites yet. Numerous teams of archaeologists should be sent to the regions to save artifacts and gather information from the sites," he added.

The Fars Regional Water Authority is also working on 20 more dam projects in the province.

One of the projects is the Sivand Dam at the ancient site of Tang-e Bolaghi, which is located only four kilometers away from Pasargadae, the first capital of the Achaemenids (550-330 BC) and the residence of Cyrus the Great. The dam is scheduled to become operational in March 2006.

Several teams of Italian, Japanese, Polish, French, German, and Australian archaeologists have been assigned to save 129 ancient sites from the Neolithic and Paleolithic periods, the early, middle, and late Elamite era (2700-645 BC), and the Sassanid era (224-651 CE) in Tang-e Bolaghi. (click here to read full article)

Parthian city discovered on Minab plain

A team of Iranian and British archaeologists have discovered a Parthian era city on Minab plain in Iran's southern province of Hormozgan, the director of the team announced on Wednesday.

"The city was discovered by chance during the study of Minab plain, which had been previously identified," Alireza Khosrozadeh said, adding that no excavation of the area has been carried out but facilities are being prepared for the team to confine the site for further study.

The team is currently making an initial study on the Parthian city and will soon submit a comprehensive plan for excavation of the site to the Center for Archaeological Studies.

Evidence for pre-Islamic occupation around the Straits of Hormuz was first documented in 1930-31 by Sir Aurel Stein and subsequent surveys by a number of scholars, including Alexander Williamson.

The Stein and Williamson surveys identified approximately 27 archaeological sites on the Persian Gulf coastal plain or associated with the first range of coastal ridges in an area extending from Minab to about 40 kilometers southward, and to the Persian Gulf shore about 30 kilometers westward, which have evidence of pre-Islamic occupation.

Two British archaeologists of the team from the University of Durham are studying the information compiled by Williamson.

The British archaeologists are to continue their collaboration with Iranian experts on the site next year. (click here to read full article)

Parthian era Phraaspa Castle discovered in Atropatene region

Phraaspa, an ancient castle of the Parthian province of Atropatene, was discovered during the archaeological studies near Zahak Castle in Hashtrud, in Iran's northwestern province of East Azarbaijan. "Due to the historical documents indicating that Phraaspa was located somewhere in Azarbaijan, our team began studying some areas around Zahak Castle, which dates back to the Parthian era. After finding more than 20 habitation sites and eight barbicans from the Parthian era, we were certain we had discovered the ancient castle," said Mohammad Feizkhah, an expert of the East Azarbaijan Cultural and Tourism Department.

Alexander occupied Media in the summer of 330 BC. In 328 he appointed Atropates, a former general of Darius, as satrap. In the partition of his empire, southern Media was given to the Macedonian Peithon but the north, which lay far off and was of little importance for the generals who fought for the inheritance of Alexander, was left to Atropates.

While southern Media with Ecbatana passed to the rule of Antigonus, and afterwards to Seleucus I, Atropates maintained himself in his satrapy and succeeded in founding an independent kingdom. Thus the partition of the country, which the Persians had introduced, became lasting the north was named Atropatene, after the founder of the dynasty, a name which is preserved in modern Azarbaijan.

The capital was Gazaca in the central plain, and the strong castle of the city was Phraaspa, which was believed to be identical with the great ruin Takht-e Suleiman, with remains of Sassanid fire temples and of a later palace.

A number of archaeologists also previously believed that Phraaspa was located in the region around Bakhtak Castle in southern East Azerbaijan Province.

"Since there are no defensive structures and wide plains near Bakhtak Castle, we can not say that Phraaspa was located in the surrounding area," Feizkhah argued.

"The newly discovered sites are scattered over wide areas. In addition, archaeologists have previously discovered many religious monuments and artifacts dating back to the Parthian era near Zahak Castle," he said in conclusion. (click here to read full article)

Important Parthian City Found in Eastern Azarbaijan

Archaeologists have identified residential quarters and fortifications discovered in the vicinities of the historical fortress of Zahhak in the north western province of Eastern Azarbaijan, as Faras Pa, one of the major Parthian cities of Iran.

Based on historical documents, Faras Pa has been the capital of the local government of Atropathen and considered one of the major cities of the Parthian era. The city was raided by Greek forces, but wars of attrition forced the invaders to withdraw.

Following the historical evidence on Faras Pa's location in Azarbaijan area, archaeologists launched a series of studies around the historical Zahhak fortress which dates back to the Parthian times, explained archaeology expert with the Eastern Azarbaijan Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization, Mohammad Feizkhah.

The excavations led to the discovery of more than twenty residential areas and eight watchtowers confirming the once existence of the Faras Pa city there.

According to Feizkhah, despite the fact that many parts of the residential areas are hidden underneath the new villages and agricultural lands, they are very vast, including one that spreads in an area of seven hectares.

Before the discoveries around Zahhak fortress in Hashtroud area of Eastren Azarbaijan, experts believed that the Faras Pa city was located near Bakhtak fortress in the southern part of the province. (click here to read full article)

Iranian history to go under hammer at Christie's

A collection of Iran's historic and ancient artworks are to be sold at Christie's auction house in London during three sales entitled "Faces from the Ancient World, a European Private Collection", "Islamic Art and Manuscripts", and "Oriental Rugs and Carpets." An Achaemenid era bas-relief depicting the head of a soldier, which had been severed from the eastern staircase of the Apadana Palace in Persepolis, will be sold in Faces from the Ancient World on April 20. The bas-relief was smuggled from Iran about 70 years ago and was purchased for the first time in 1971 at Sotheby's, another London-based auction house.

Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (CHTO) was informed on April 3 that the owner of the bas-relief intended to sell it at Christie's and immediately notified the auction house to halt the sale of the artifact. The legal complaint filed against the owner of the bas-relief by the CHTO demanding its return was presented to a London court on April 18.

The bas-relief has been estimated to be worth £200,000 to £300,000, making it the most expensive item of all the artworks offered in the auction.

Three bronze situlae dating back to the 11th to 10th centuries BC a bronze whetstone socket with hone from the late 2nd to early 1st millennium BC from the southwestern Iranian province of Lorestan and a Parthian/Sassanid bone figure of an idol dating back to the early 1st millennium CE will also be on sale at the first auction.

A great collection of artifacts from different Iranian eras, including a Quran from the early Timurid era (15th century), and a large number of bowls, pottery works, glass bottles, hardwood inscription beams, a carved jade talisman, and many other relics will be sold in the Islamic Art and Manuscripts auction, which is to be held on April 26.

Two versions of Khamseh (Quintet) composed by Iranian poet Nezami (1141-1203 CE) and another poetry book also called Khamseh composed by the Persian-speaking Indian poet Amir Khosro Dehlavi (1253-1325 CE), which were all transcribed in the Safavid era, as well as some Qajar era stationary made of turquoise and a piece of a Seljuk era silk textile will be on sale in this auction.

A painting depicting Qajar era official Mirza Aqa Khan Nuri which has been signed by Mirza Abolhassan Khan Naghashbashi Ghaffari, the royal painter of Nassereddin Shah, and many photos from Iranian holy places will also be on sale in the Islamic Art and Manuscripts auction.

A large number of beautiful Persian carpets and rugs woven in different parts of Iran will be on sale in the Oriental Rugs and Carpets auction on April 28. (click here to read full story)

Ten Parthian Casks Discovered in Rig Port Waters

Ten casks dating to the Parthian dynasty have been discovered in the waters of Rig Port in the southern province of Boushehr. The casks were primarily used for burying the dead, and then for some 1000 years (before Abbasids) for trade and transfer of wine.

The underwater archaeology team of Iran recently discovered 10 casks in Rig Port coastal waters. Most of these casks are broken down, and only one remains intact. This type of cask has been the main container of liquids in Ancient Iran.

"Several items including headpieces, armors, and stone anchors were discovered during the first season of exploration in Rig waters. The archaeology team therefore decided to focus their work on documentation, photography, and filming of the explored sites," explained head of the exploration team, Hussein Tofighian. Meanwhile the site was studies furthermore and several casks were found there, added Tofighian.

The area under study spreads one kilometer into and 5 to 8 kilometers deep into the coastal waters of a southern island of Rig port, where some historical remains are scattered on the sea bed.

According to Tofighian, the intact cask provides useful information on the casks which were of great importance in the Persian Gulf region. The casks, with their wide mouths and small pointed bases, have a form different than those used in European ports and ships however, they rival the European type in their historical value and expansive use to bury the dead or carry liquids both for daily tasks and trade.

Underwater archaeologists believe that the discovered items are remains of a sunken ship, the body of which has moved or dissolved due to time passage, strong underwater currents, and local fishing activities. (see following story)

Parthian jars discovered in southern Iran

One intact and nine broken jars dating back to the Parthian era (1st century BC to early 3rd century CE) were discovered during an underwater archaeological operation in the Persian Gulf off the coast of Rig Port in Bushehr Province, the director of the archaeological team announced on Sunday.

"In our initial studies during the first phase of excavations, we found several helmets, armor, and stone anchors in the region. These artifacts led our team to the discovery of the jars in the second phase of excavations," Hossein Tofiqian added.

The torpito jars with open mouths and sharp legs were used as coffins during the Parthian era but were later used for transporting liquids in trade. The artifacts differ from the amphorae used often by European ships torpitos were used by people living in the Persian Gulf, Tofiqian said.

The first phase of excavations was carried out by a team of archaeologists from Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization and Britain's University of Durham, which began work in late November 2004 with the aim of discovering aspects of the social and economic life of the historical site during the Chalcolithic era (7000? to 3500? BC), while the previous excavations at the site mostly focused on the Elamite, Achaemenid, and Islamic eras.

The team discovered some artifacts including pottery and shards indicating that the process of baking earthenware was practiced at the site. In addition, several pieces of stone tools in different sizes were discovered, proving that the inhabitants of the region were farmers 7000 years ago. (click here to read full story)

Over 400 bas-relief works discovered in southeastern Iran

Over 400 bas-relief works, dating back to the Sassanid and Parthian dynasties, were recently discovered in Sarduyeh, in northern area of Jiroft, Kerman Province. The bas-relief works bear the images of human beings in hunting positions carrying bows and arrows, as well as images of wild goats and cats, said head of the archaeological team in the region on Wednesday.

Nader Ali-Soleymani added that studying the works which mostly belong to the Parthian era can reveal people's beliefs, and their cultural, economic and social structures.

Experts had previously discovered several other bas-relief works in five various regions in the province, he added.

Soleymani stated that a group of experts are widely studying the bas-relief works found in the province.

Bas-relief is a style of art in which the engraved figures project slightly from the background. (click here to read full story)

Temple -- Tourist Attraction

Photos by IRNA bureau in Kermanshah

Archaeologists save 2500-year-old shards of Tang-e Bolaghi

A team of Iranian and Italian archaeologists collected 4000 shards, some dating back to about 2500 years ago, from Tang-e Bolaghi, which will be flooded by the waters of the Sivand Dam, the director of the Iranian archaeological group said on Wednesday.

Situated in Fars Province, Tang-e Bolaghi is located only four kilometers away from Pasargadae, the first capital of the Achaemenid dynasty (about 550-331 B.C.) and the residence of Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Persian Empire. Pasargadae was registered on UNESCO's World Heritage List last July.

"The categorization of the shards can provide important information for experts because not much data has been gathered about the last periods of the Achaemenid and Sassanid dynasties in Fars Province," Alireza Asgari added.

"The discovered shards will also provide some information on local, Seleucid, and Parthian rulers as well as on ordinary people living in the region," Asgari said.

Some experts believe that Tang-e Bolaghi was once a part of the ancient imperial route connecting Pasargadae to Persepolis and Susa. The ancient area also contains sites from the Neolithic and Paleolithic periods, the middle and late Elamite era (2700-645 B.C.), and the Sassanid era (224-651 C.E.).

With no expert-level feasibility studies conducted beforehand, construction of a dam was begun in 1992 in the region of Tang-e Bolaghi. The dam is scheduled to be completed by March 2006 and afterwards a part of the ancient city will be buried under tons of mud from the Polvar River.

A number of experts of the Parseh and Pasargadae Foundation from Iran and teams of Italian, Polish, Japanese, French, German, and Australian archaeologists began operations in early January to save 129 ancient sites at Tang-e Bolaghi. Each team is working on specific sites.

A number of other dams, all in advanced stages of construction, have been identified as threatening Iran's ancient sites in several provinces including Gilan in the north, Kermanshah in the west, Khuzestan in the southwest, and East Azarbaijan in the northwest.

The reservoir of the Karun-3 Dam in Khuzestan was recently filled and a large amount of the cultural heritage of ancient Izeh became new sites for underwater archaeology!

Archaeologists had identified 80 sites in the region from the Epipaleolithic period (20,000-10,000 B.C.), including 13 caves and four rock shelters. The river valley also has a large number of rock-carved reliefs, graves, ancient caves, and other monuments and artifacts from the Elamite era. (click here to read full story)

3000-year-old shards discovered in northern Iran

The team of archaeologists working at the Kalvarz Hill of Rustamabad in Gilan Province recently unearthed 3000-year-old shards that they say may lead to the discovery of an ancient city. The archaeologists hope that they can also discover ruins in order to shed light on the architectural style of the site, said the director of the team, Mohammadreza Khalatbari.

Studies of previously discovered shards prove that the site was inhabited until the Parthian era and was abandoned after that, he noted.

The gray earthenware discovered in the lower strata of the hill dating back to the first millennium B.C. as well as the red earthenware discovered at the site indicate that the hill was a residential area during the Iron Age, he said.

But no signs of architecture dating back to the Iron Age have been found, he added.

The discovery of mud brick ovens and their vents are also signs of a city, he observed.

More research must be carried out to discover the architecture of the residential area, he added.

Animal fossils have also been discovered at the site.

Over 44 archeological and historical sites from the first millennium B.C. have been discovered and identified in the Rustamabad region of northern Iran. (click here to read full story)

Pahlavi language words still used in central Iran

Some words of the Pahlavi language are still used by the people of Abyaneh, which is near Kashan in the central Iranian province of Isfahan. Cultural anthropologist Abbas Torabzadeh said on Saturday that the dialect of Abyaneh has changed over the years, but the local people still use some ancient words from the Pahlavi Ashkani language here and there.

The Pahlavi Ashkani language, a branch of Middle Persian which was spoken in the Parthian era, has almost been forgotten but a few words of the original language are still heard in Abynaeh.

The director of the Anthropology Research Center of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (CHTO) is convinced that since language is a dynamic and active phenomenon, one can not easily say an old language is dead and a new one has replaced it.

"Language keeps changing. New words are constantly being coined and replaced, and some old words begin to be forgotten," Mohammad Mirshokra'i observed.

The people of Abyaneh have retained some words of the Pahlavi Ashkani language, but one can not say they are speaking the language in its original form, he added.

There is also a language called Taati spoken by the people of Jolfa in western Iran, Mirshokra'i noted.

Taati is a language that developed from Middle Persian almost independently of modern Persian. It has retained many of the characteristics of the Sassanid era Pahlavi language. Taati can be understood by Persian speakers with a little practice.

There is a great danger that that the Pahlavi Ashkani words used by Abyaneh residents will be replaced by modern Persian expressions, since the town is gradually becoming a major tourist magnet.

Middle Persian is a language that developed around 300 B.C., shortly after the end of the Achaemenid era, and is divided into Pahlavi Ashkani and Pahlavi Sassani. The alphabet used for Middle Persian is called Pahlavi and is written from right to left. (click here to read full story)

International Committee to Save Historical Remains of Tang-e-Bolaghi

An international committee will be set up to help save the 129 archeological remains of Tang-e-Bolaghi gorge that will go under water when the Sivand Dam is flooded one year from now.

The 18 km Tang-e-Bolaghi is located 4 kilometers from the world heritage site of Pasargadae and is considered part of the first capital of the Achaemenid dynasty. Scholars believe it has been the kingdom route and the most important road of the country during the Achaemenid time, connecting Pasargadae to Persepolis and Susa.

Head of the Pars-e Pasargadae project, Mohammad Hasan Talebian, told CHN that they are trying to set up a committee under the supervision of UNESCO to prevent the loss of the historical sites of the area.

According to Talebian, scholars from Italy, France, Japan, Australia, Germany, Poland and England have so far announced their readiness to take part in the excavations of Tang-e-Bolaghi, and it is hoped that more would show up with the setting up of the committee, which is hoped to form in the upcoming months.

The formal request to organize the committee has already been handed to UNESCO and Mounir Bouchenaki, UNESCO assistant director general for culture has announced his approval when visiting the site, said Talebian.

Some 129 historical remains have been discovered in the area during the recent months, which include hills, metal kilns, caves and residential areas dating to the time before Christ, stone kilns, two group cemeteries, and more than 7 kilometers of border made by stone at the Parthian times.

Sivand Dam is planned to be flooded by next year when nearly 8 kilometers of historical sites of the Tang-e-Bolaghi gorge will go under water.

Dams have been constructed in the recent years to help economic development and water supply in some developing countries, but these projects have endangered their cultural heritage and therefore scholars have been prompted to save them before flooding the dams.

Pasargadae ancient site, 70 km north of Persepolis in Fars province, consists of many historical treasures like Cyrus Mausoleum and Public Audience Palace, and is the first Achaemenid capital in which the oldest Iranian garden system called Chahar-bagh (4 gardens) was used.

Pasargadae is the fifth Iranian site inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2004, and therefore deserves special care and any attempt to endanger it is prohibited.

The construction of Sivand Dam started in 1992 on the river of Tang-e-Bolaghi without the permission of the Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization. (click here to read full story)

Parthian Circular City Found in Khorasan

Iranian archeologists have found the architectural plan of a Parthian circular city in Nehbandan castle in southern Khorasan.

Nehbandan castle is one of the most important ancient cities in Iran that has signs of different historical periods. Though it hasn't been much excavated, archeologists have found remains from Parthian (250 BC – 226 AD) to Safavid (1501 – 1722) eras.

"As this site hasn't been studied much, we began studying the structures in this historical complex 2 years ago and found out that it has a circular form", Naser Nasr-abadi, head of excavations in this site, told CHN.

Aerial photographs have been a great help in identifying the circular form of this city that has a diameter of 250 sq meters and covers an area of about 50 sq meters, said Nasr-abadi.

According to historical documents, circular architecture was much used in different historical periods including Parthian era, but this is the first archeological evidence of this kind of city belonging to Parthian era found in Iran.

Iranian experts have studied this city extensively in the last 3 years in order to identify its precise historical background. Now on the basis of a piece of ceramic with Pahlavi inscriptions and the head of a statue belonging to Parthian era, the experts are assured that the city has been built in Parthian era and been of great importance to this dynasty. (click here to read full article)

Parthian and Sassanid Sites Discovered in Northwestern Iran

A joint Iranian and foreign research team has recently discovered four huge historical sites dating back to the Parthian and Sassanid eras at the Moghan Plateau in Ardebil Province.

The director of the team, Karim Alizadeh, said on Saturday that the team was completing their research work in the region when they discovered the sites.

"The historical sites were surrounded by canals used to irrigate the agricultural lands and protect the area as well," he added.

"The team, which included archaeologists and experts from Tehran and Tabriz universities, the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization as well as New York University, was working in the region for the past month," said Alizadeh.

He went on to say that preliminary findings indicate that the sites were from the Parthian (250 B.C.-226 C.E.) and Sassanid (226–651 C.E.) eras, proving that the Moghan Plateau was a very important farming area.

"The sites and the discovered artifacts reveal the fact that these newly discovered sites have many affinities with those in Khuzestan and the Mesopotamian area. They show that the Sassanids had organized systematic and developed agricultural activities throughout the country, but for some unknown reasons they were later neglected," he said.

Alizadeh noted the significance of the discovery of affinities between the southern region of Khuzestan and the Moghan Plateau in northwestern Iran, despite their different climates, and added that these findings should be studied more thoroughly.

The studies will help shed light on the lifestyles, economy, and commercial trade links of different regions of Iran in ancient times, he said in conclusion. Source : Mehr News Agency (click here to read full story)

Parthian Era Subterranean Village Discovered Near Maragheh

Iranian archaeologists have discovered a Parthian era village under the earth near the Mehr Temple of the northwestern city of Maragheh, the director of the Maragheh Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department said on Wednesday.

"Since the Mehr Temple is one of the little known sites of Iran, our team planned to carry out some excavations around it to ascertain some details about the temple. The excavations resulted in the discovery of an underground village which archaeologists believe dates back to the Parthian era," Nasser Zavvari added.

The Mehr Temple, which was constructed in the Parthian era (247 B.C.–224 C.E.), is located 65 kilometers from the city of Maragheh in East Azarbaijan Province. It was one of the main temples of the religion of Mithraism in ancient Iran.

The village is located at a depth of one meter below ground level and some holes were used as entrances into the underground community, he said.

"A number of houses of the village of Varju'i are located above the underground village. We plan to buy the houses to protect the area for additional studies," Zavvari said.

Several months ago, archaeologists announced they had discovered a three-story underground shelter from the Sassanid era in southern Isfahan Province. Their initial study indicated that the shelter was built for military purposes and could hide about 50 people.

The underground shelter has seven halls as well as three large and two small rooms. Each floor was linked to the other through several holes and a staircase leads to the main entrance of the shelter.

Archaeologists have determined that earthenware discovered inside the shelter dates back to the Sassanid era (226-651 C.E.).

In addition, a team of archaeologists has recently unearthed another underground city near Nushabad, Isfahan Province.

Experts believe study of the newly discovered ancient subterranean communities can provide valuable information about the architecture of ancient Iran. Thus, a new field of study called subterranean or hand-dug architecture has been established. Source : Mehr News Agency (click here to read full story)

This page last updated 13 Mar 2021

Online since 28 March 1998
Copyright ©1998-2021 Edward C. D. Hopkins, all rights reserved

Your engine cranks and cranks, but never attempts to catch.

This happens over and over again, because many quick-disconnect fittings that attach the fuel line to the outboard are just plain cheap. The same goes for the barbs that attach the fitting and the fuel line, and/or the hose clamps that secure them. With time, all of these connections tend to start leaking or allow air to get sucked in.

Cheap fuel lines, hose clamps, and connectors commonly cause problems with your outboard engine.

QUICK FIX: First, squeeze the ball as you watch the fitting between the engine and the line, the barb and the hose, the barb on either end of the ball, and if it’s visible, the fitting between the line and the tank. You need to isolate the leak, and seal it. If there’s no visible fuel leak, the ball may be sucking in air squeeze it again and again with your ear next to each connection, as you listen for a gurgle. Once the leak has been isolated, you may be able to fix it by cutting off a section of the fuel line and re-attaching the barb or fitting with a fresh piece of hose, or by simply replacing a hose-clamp. If the fitting itself has gone bad, you can sometimes push it to one side or the other to temporarily get the engine running. Once you do so, the draw of the engine is often enough to keep the flow of fuel moving.

Jordan senate meets as protests snowball over IMF-backed austerity

Jordan’s senate meets for a special session after another night of protests across the country, against IMF-backed austerity measures including a draft income tax law and price hikes.

Some 3,000 people face down a heavy security presence to gather near the prime minister’s office in Amman, until the early hours of Sunday morning, waving Jordanian flags and signs reading, “We will not kneel.”

Protests have gripped the country since Wednesday, when hundreds responded to a call by trade unions, flooding the streets of Amman and other cities to demand the fall of the government.

Last month, the government proposed a new income tax law, yet to be approved by parliament, aimed at raising taxes on employees by at least five percent and on companies by between 20% and 40%.

The measures are the latest in a series of economic reforms since Amman secured a $723-million three-year credit line from the International Monetary Fund in 2016.

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Gaza fire kites cause 3,000 fires, burn 2,500 acres of Israeli farmland

Over the past six weeks, firebomb-carrying kites and balloons launched from the Gaza Strip have started 3,000 separate fires and decimated some 10,000 dunams (2,500 acres) of farmland near the Gaza border, according to figures cited today by Hadashot television news.

Do you rely on The Times of Israel for accurate and insightful news on Israel and the Jewish world? If so, please join The Times of Israel Community. For as little as $6/month, you will:

  • Support our independent journalism
  • Enjoy an ad-free experience on the ToI site, apps and emails and
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We’re really pleased that you’ve read X Times of Israel articles in the past month.

That’s why we come to work every day - to provide discerning readers like you with must-read coverage of Israel and the Jewish world.

So now we have a request. Unlike other news outlets, we haven’t put up a paywall. But as the journalism we do is costly, we invite readers for whom The Times of Israel has become important to help support our work by joining The Times of Israel Community.

For as little as $6 a month you can help support our quality journalism while enjoying The Times of Israel AD-FREE, as well as accessing exclusive content available only to Times of Israel Community members.

Top 5 airlines serving Cleveland Hopkins Intl to Poland

Scores according to KAYAK customer reviews

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Cons: "Delayed flight, almost missed connection, told on first flight had to check carry-on then they lost our luggage on the connection, cramped seats, but i did pay for the cheapest seats"

Cons: "We arrived more than a half hour late, and considering this was about 4 am, this was significant. The guy in the middle seat was tall and had to speard his legs intruding on my space."

Pros: "Crew was attentive to passenger needs in a quiet way: without fanfare, did all possible to make it a pleasant, comfortable trip. In fact, went out of their way to get me a wheelchair ride to next flight, which I dearly needed"
Cons: "First flight was delayed due to circumstances outside of airline’s control. They managed to get us there and help me with wheelchair, etc to make flight. Great service and kindness"

Pros: "When you lose your phone in the business class seat and a technician goes to find it once you land in Zurich and the day that it has miraculously disappeared there isn’t much to like at all about Swiss Airlines. Swiss Airlines isn’t going to hear the end of this is they don’t agree to replace my son’s phone. My husband is a lawyer and we are prepared to bring this to the public."
Cons: "My son dropped his phone in business class seat and the ground staff technician claimed it wasn’t there. Theft at its best! Swiss Air better take responsibility for their shady staff and agree to replace my don’s Phone promptly or we will take this to the public eye and courts. I’m sure we could get a big class action suit."

Pros: "I got a surprise upgrade to Business Class where the service, food, and comfort were all excellent."
Cons: "Flight was delayed for almost an hour while we were on board. (ultimately not the airline's fault), If I hadn't been in Business class, it would have been very uncomfortable."

Pros: "Both times I flew with Swiss airlines it’s been great! Food is pletntiful, staff is very kind."

Pros: "good flight didn’t have any problems"

Pros: "Everything, but the lack of entertainment, and the seats I bought were separated."
Cons: "The lack of entertainment, and the seats I bought were separated."

Pros: "Generally Swiss air was good"
Cons: "I ask a question if we will arriving late, she give me smart Remarks that we will be on time. No we were late 28 minutes my luggage did not arrive, I'm 4 hours from Warsaw, I wait for luggage which was lost and miss my connection do travel forward. I got home at 8 pm. She check my carry on and they lost , I have only bag with lipstick in there"

Pros: "Friendly crew. Food was good. Good take off and landing."
Cons: "Seats. They were extremely too small and tight. Made very hard to move or try to sleep during the long flight. I think they definitely need to be wider. Hard to sit side by side with others. Had to keep my arms in front of me or I would be pushing the other person. I know all airlines are pretty much the same. but it shouldn’t be."

Cons: "The headset outlet is still the old one, so you can't use your own ."

Pros: "I hope this carrier grows by leaps and bounds. The plane was new & clean, the pilots executed flawless takeoff & landing, the flight attendants were friendly to a fault, the plane left on time & arrived early. Round trip Orlando-Venice was $980 round trip. The only niggling detail was the somewhat limited selection of movies."

Cons: "I have just had the most unpleasant experience with Swiss Air and feel that anyone on FB should be very careful when dealing with this airline. I am a Gold Member of Star Alliance for more than 20 years and have flown dozens of times on Swiss and would expect courtesy and consideration in return for my loyalty to their airline. Their flight from Hong Kong to Zurich leaves at 00:15. I mistakenly booked this for Nov 9th instead of the intended late evening of the 9th which then turns out to be Nov 10th. When I discovered my error, I called Swiss at least six times to explain my error and ask if my son could stand by for the same flight on the 10th or even apply the amount to rebook the same flight the next day. ZERO flexibility or consideration. Missed flight, lose entire value. Start from scratch. Astonished that an airline that claims to be serving their customers would treat me this way. I travel through Europe at least 6-10 times a year from Asia. I will now route through Frankfurt, Munich, Paris, London, Vienna, Instanbul or even Moscow before ever going through Zurich again. I encourage anyone making travel plans to be very careful when considering flights with Swiss Airlines. Perhaps this treatment of a loyal customer explains why they went through bankruptcy already once."

Pros: "Flight itself was good, comfortable, staff were professional"

Pros: "short travel time"
Cons: "the landing was way too drastic. The pressure during landing was not gentle and I had a real hard time trying to allow my hearing to come back. The blood pressure in my head felt like my head would explode. My head hurt for a long time. Did not like the flight at all."

Pros: "Crew was professional and attentive. 55 minute flight so food was ice cream, beverages, and a piece of Swiss chocolate. Plane's entertainment system in my section did not work. I had to check my carry-on!"
Cons: "All of the above with the exception of crew & food comment."

Cons: "No seat entertainment."

Pros: "When checking in, I was upgraded to business without knowing it until I looked at my boarding passes. This was a good surprise of course."

Pros: "Swiss' Zurich Airport Business lounge is the most comfortable I've experienced. The flight attendants were professional, courteous and very helpful. A very enjoyable flight experience in business class."

Pros: "The flight attendants were attentive, food delicious, movie selection great also."
Cons: "I flew from Miami to Zurich, Zurich to France, France to Zurich, and Zurich to Miami within the span of a week and they were all at least 30 minutes late. BUT flight attendants came by with water while we were seated and offered chocolate, which I really liked. It wasn't the worst thing for me, but I can see how it's annoying."

Pros: "Boarding without frills. On-time departure. Overall good food. Great cabin crew they took care of a toddler with a fever and her mother."
Cons: "Nothing"

Pros: "It's such a short flight that to me the experience is pretty insignificant. I liked that it was on time and the rest was very average for what I expected in a 45 minutes flight"
Cons: "I would have loved a video"

Pros: "On time great crew. Free wine that is Swiss air."

Pros: "Good service, space for people and luggage"
Cons: "Less than great food, but everyone else is the same"

Cons: "Everything was very good except the TV screen on my wife's seat malfunctioned after the first movie watched. The crew "tried" to fix it but nothing happened, not blaming them specifically but I don't think they were to concerned about one customer with no entertainment. After a long while it started working again. It was a long flight to not have entertainment the whole duration of the flight. Besides this little problem it was a very good flight. Crew very professional and nice."

Pros: "good service"
Cons: "late departure, stressful to make the connection, had to check in hand luggage even though there was lots of space"

Pros: "Food & beverage, onboard entertainment and beauty product in the bathroom was good."
Cons: "Service was okay and the seats were horribly uncomfortable. Not what I remember from Swiss when I use to fly constantly with them 2 years ago. Also, I was singled out by the crew at the gate and pulled aside. Racially profiling at its finest."

Pros: "overall very satisfied"
Cons: "no issues"

Pros: "The larding was terrible. I came in a wheelchair but am able to walk short distances. I spoke to man at the gate about boarding early and he said he would come and get me. But he did not and I had to push and shove with everyone else as their is no plan. Awful! Service was good. Lots of water and juice brought round in the night of"

Pros: "Very comfortable seats for coach, good service."

Pros: "Checki-in via mobile app was easy, as was baggage dropoff at the airport. Both airport staff and flight crew were efficient, courteous, and friendly. Excellent service, good good, nice selection of entertainment."

Pros: "General good service, food was good"
Cons: "Airplane wasn't clean, we had hair on the headrest cover and asked one of the crew members for new headrest cover but was ignored."

Pros: "The flights were Just as schedule, the arrival time was even earlier than planned. The crew is always available and tries to make the flight as comfortable as it can be. The food is brilliant in comparison to other airlines. To sum up, always a good choice. * this is my 8th flight with Swiss."
Cons: "Nothing."

Pros: "Friendly crew. Good food"
Cons: "None"

Cons: "person behind me wouldn't allow my seat to recline and was constantly pushing/kicking my seat. I notified crew, but nothing was done about it."

Cons: "There is no question about check-in?? My ticket, booked through Kayak, did not state that no baggage is included. The Swiss air just said I should have picked it up from the booking and forced me to pay Euro 30, which I will claim back from Kayak. This is gross misrepresentation and on the same ticket flying a luggage was included."

Pros: "Friendly crew and very professoinal"
Cons: "Old plane"

Pros: "I loved the food, the crew, and the entertainment."
Cons: "Nothing"

Pros: "Left and arrived on time"
Cons: "Seat cramped"

Pros: "Good staff, food, service"
Cons: "No leg room for us tall people!"

Pros: "Nothing"
Cons: "Didn't have good selection of drink. Very tight seats never came by to pick up or ask if needed anything. Only saw them went serving dinner. I will never fly swiss air again."

Pros: "Swiss planes were clean and everything worked. Flight attendants very friendly. Food was superb. Plus, the connection in Zurich, as always, was seamless and painless. Will definitely give Swiss my preference when looking at trans Atlantic flights."
Cons: "Nothing."

Cons: "Not make me check my carry on when there was adequate room in plane"

Cons: "Delta is always a step above the rest."

Pros: "No middle searing."
Cons: "The tv did not work. The temperature was hot the whole flight. No airflow."

Pros: "Baggage handlers extremely fast"

Cons: "Assigning seats at check in? Why was that a thing? Also why did we have to wait for almost an hour once we landed to be given a gate for us to unload? So stupid the whole thing."

Cons: "Tightly packed seats made for discomfort. My knees were touching the seat in front of me."

Cons: "The Delta flight leaving Cleveland was a hour and a half late so we could not make our connection to get home and had to overnight in Minneapolis. This is the fourth time in six flights For Delta. I think the Kayak booking algorithm needs to allow more time between connecting flights."

Pros: "Quick boarding and great with accommodating my request for a window seat."
Cons: "Offer in flight entertainment."

Pros: "The crew was amazing this round I got good seats"
Cons: "Forgot my earphones so I had to read a book. I never asked nor did I see earphones"

Pros: "Crew was great."
Cons: "When all overhead bins were full, they should have allowed those who didn’t need to check their carry on to board the plane before those who needed to check their carry on. Very unorganized at gate."

Pros: "The ceew"
Cons: "Unorganized boarding and 6 hour delay from expected departure time."

Pros: "The boarding process was smooth ."
Cons: "The cleanliness of the seat and tray area."

Cons: "Flight was delayed and our luggage is lost"

Pros: "We eventually got there"
Cons: "In Cleveland, the doors remained opened for about 30 minutes after they were supposed to close, and 6-7 people boarded. We then arrived in ATL quite a bit after we were scheduled to land."

Cons: "they did not serve food in my section at all."

Pros: "Food, comfort, entertainment and treatment by the crew on this flight was spectacular. There was a lot of food, good entertainment and importantly, the seats were wide and comfortable."
Cons: "Very old plane, 767-300. The bathrooms needed a better and more thorough renovation."

Pros: "Delta Comfort Plus for the win! Great seats with plenty of legroom and room for carry ons. Friendly flight attendants"
Cons: "Nothing"

Pros: "This was the most professional crew we have seen in a long time. What a difference a good crew makes."

Pros: "The crew were fantastic and tried their best the delay."
Cons: "Delayed flight. 2 hours delay. Had to rebook a connecting flight and hence was very tight to board the next flight"

Pros: "Flight was good. Left on time. Crew was attentive."
Cons: "Did not assign seat at check in. Had to go to gate and check in. Staff handled it well, but it was inefficient. Wasted time dealing with it."

Pros: "Two ladies working in the aisles were very pleasant and nice"
Cons: "Takeoff accelerated too much. nicer to have a longer launch process"

Pros: "Efficient on board crew"
Cons: "Ground crew caused delay for unknown reason"

Pros: "The crew is always wonderful. The complimentary beverage and snack really makes the flight better, even in the tiny seats. The flights with tv screens and charging ports are great, although they only seem to be on my shorter of the two connecting flights."
Cons: "Crew allows the first zones to place both their carryon and personal items in overhead storage, filling the bins before many travelers board the plane. We are then asked to check our bag, and are forced to put our 1 bag between our legs, whole many people stored two overhead. Flight was delayed a few minutes and time was not made up in air. Delta changed a few of our flights before we were even off the plane, while other passengers were allowed to keep their original flight (originally we all had the same connecting flight). Looks to me like they overbooked and pulled some of us randomly. Also, my checked bag was sent on wrong plane, and sat unattended at next airport for 2 hours."

Pros: "everiding si so good thanks this is my 2nd time lovet"
Cons: "so organais tritment so good everiding lovet"

Pros: "Short trip"
Cons: "Very hot ride"

Pros: "Staff were friendly and worked hard."
Cons: "Seats were very basic and not as good as the low cost carrier I normally fly out of the UK. Very old and noisy aircraft. Seemed little control over how much hand luggage passengers were bringing onto the aircraft."

Pros: "Despite small aircraft, boarding was fast and easy. On time departure and arrival. And quite clean aircraft despite a very fast turnaround. And Biscoff. Delta's free wifi for messaging is a nice touch, as is free in-flight video. In-flight music would be nice, too. Doesn't hurt to ask :)"

Pros: "On time. Most important"

Pros: "We were treated very well and it was a short, sweet flight. Nothing to complain about."

Pros: "Seats are comfortable. These short haul flights often have worn out, painful seats."
Cons: "They do a bad job of screening people with bags too large for the overhead bins and then those people have to check one they have already tried to board and it slow things down."

Pros: "Delta was so accommodating"
Cons: "N/a"

Pros: "- usb abd 110v charging ports on the seat backs - in-flight entertainment system for all passengers - comfy seats and adequate legroom in basic econ."
Cons: "- zone 1-5 boarding does not make for good logic - should board all window seat passengers first, then all middle seaters, and finally all aisle sear passengers"

Pros: "I liked that Delta gave me quick alternative flights and was able to switch at no charge to another flight using their app. I was traveling with my 12 year son and they were accommodating in seating us together."
Cons: "The hassle and the fact that we had to run to catch the new flight."

Pros: "Hey, they let us off the plane."
Cons: "The plane had just come in & problem was detected. Does it really take an hour to get the log book recorded?"

Pros: "Delta is a mess to check in. Check in on line, print boarding passes then stand for an hour to get bag checked, in Cleveland an. urn ind almost as long in Austin. Terrible"

Pros: "It was on time."
Cons: "The plane was dirty and there was a lot of trash around my seat."

Pros: "Hard to like anything with this delay -- missed 3 appointments in Raleigh."

Cons: "If you have to swap out planes, do it at night, not the morning of the flight! And tell the customers in advance, so they can get some sleep instead of hurrying to the airport for an "on time" flight that couldn't be flown because of an equipment problem."

Cons: "Economy seating was cramped and painful. I sat in a window seat and couldn't hardly move freely enough to get my seatbelt on and I am a petite female!!"

Cons: "the seats are WAY TOO SMALL"

Pros: "Our original flight delayed and then cancelled and the need help kiosk was quick to provide an alternative. Better aircraft and good flight compared with the original flight"
Cons: "The replacement flight has been delayed almost 2:30 hours due to bad weather in NYC."

Pros: "The aircraft was much better than the originally plan which was delayed and then cancelled. Comfort seats and cleaner aircraft was a nice surprise after 5.5hrs of stranded time at the CLE airport."
Cons: "Delayed for 5.5 hours."

Pros: "Flight attendant was very nice."
Cons: "My 6 pm flight left at 8:19. Debris wasn't cleaned from plane between flights. Want some French fries? Lady had two barking dogs in first class. I was in first class. It wasn't worth the extra money we paid to be in first class."

Pros: "Nice snacks for such a short trip. most airlines have abandoned this for short trips. Clean and spacious cabin"
Cons: "Freezing cold in the cabin"

Pros: "Seats were very comfortable. Plane interior was in new condition, including electronic window shade tinting."
Cons: "Staff was not particularly warm or attentive. Was never offered more to drink, and after asking for more wine was ignored."

Pros: "Boarding was efficient and the crew were nice."
Cons: "the seating is horrible. it was the tightest seating I've ever experienced."

Cons: "Klm is the best, even on a 40min they served small breakfast."

Pros: "Everything perfect and arrive to destination on perfect time."
Cons: "All positive."

Pros: "Decent price for economy comfort seat, 4A."
Cons: "The flight was delayed about 80 minutes and they did not informed until when I got to the Airport. I could have stayed more at home instead of the terminal. They have also changed the boarding gate.."

Pros: "Crew good and seat OK but not exceptional for business class"
Cons: "Food was average - main course could have been better. Range of movies ok but not great"

Cons: "A little bit chaotic when they loaded two planes at the same time in a very tight space in Amsterdsm but this was most likey an airport soecific design issue and not a KLM issue. The flight was as good as can be expected fir an international flight. The staff was great"

Pros: "Planes were on time and connections made."
Cons: "One bag delayed as not put on flight and food could be better."

Cons: "I congratulate the KLM crew!"

Pros: "Crew was great, very responsive and hospitable!"
Cons: "more lunch choices, especially choices without dairy products."

Pros: "Onboard crew were nice and polite. Flight was on time (a rarity)."
Cons: "The boarding crew was rude and unpleasant, the plane was boiling hot."

Pros: "Great crew, comfortable seating with enough leg room."
Cons: "Provide dinner before getting to joburg, instead of a snack. Flight arrives late so dinner would be appreciated"

Pros: "Seat was uncomfortable. There was nothing to like. In past I have traveled by KLM but this time it was worst."
Cons: "No proper food service. Even to the passenger of Amsterdam no dinner was served. No inflight service. It looks like domestic flight. I will think twice to travel by KLM. The check-in staff at counter was absolutely arrogant. Staff ar boarding gate was nice."

Pros: "Crew was friendly"
Cons: "Passenger who needed wheelchair assistance it took KLM 50 minutes to get him off plane which delayed our boarding. KLM not prepared to handle passengers with needs"

Pros: "Crew was very engaging and service was good."
Cons: "My seat was horrible. Right at the door, crammed, and no place to store my carry-on luggage."

Pros: "quick/efficient boarding - good staff - good food - easy flight !"
Cons: "the connecting times for klm seem to be very close - if your running late to start - you may not make your next one -"

Cons: "Long haul flight made pleasant by KLM"

Pros: "Gaps between seats are very narrow."
Cons: "when serving drinks, cabin crew limited to serve liquor only once and it was poor service."

Cons: "Poor food, flight attend and finally baggage missing. Overall experience is extremely bad."

Pros: "Nice crew pilot food and beverage"
Cons: "No wifi"

Pros: "Very friendly onboard personnel - I really had kind of homy feeling."

Pros: "Face recognition was amazing"
Cons: "Too hot on plane"

Pros: "Restrooms clean, decent food and drink, nice cabin crew."
Cons: "No complaints"

Pros: "Snooth and efficiënt with a KLM service"
Cons: "No entertainment"

Pros: "The crew was fantastic! Our needs were constantly being met and just about the time you thought you might want a snack or a meal, the attendants were already heading down the aisle. Because of an allergic reaction, I asked for ice a number of times and the attendants were more than happy to meet my needs."
Cons: "The seats were very close together. The trip from New York to Amsterdam seemed a lot more comfortable than the return flight. The food from NYC JFK was better than the food from Amsterdam. The movie selection on both flights was a little disappointing."

Pros: "Travel on Crostian Airlines did not pappen. KLM flight to Munich was cancelled and I was rescheduled on Air Setbia to Belgrade, the Split."
Cons: "That it didn’t happen."

Cons: "The movie selection did not seem extremely varied."

Cons: "infotainment was down. Lost my luggage the flight was delayed"

Cons: "Delay can occur sometimes but it wiuld be better to be explained its reason and the estimated time for boarding. The customer service at CDG airport was the worst ever and all people standing boarding desk were useless without any mind what they are doing."

Pros: "Food was just fine, movie selection very good"
Cons: "Uncomfortable seat cushions, lights were truned on too early (1.5 hours before flight landed)"

Cons: "Actually the Welcome on board announcement. The part where they special welcome loyalty program members. I do not get that. I am an explorer holder my self, but really?? so other paying customers are not as welcome. This is leftovers from the older days.."

Pros: "Only thing we liked was the fact that we were able to get onto our flight at all. "
Cons: "Was not informed that checking in online is the only way to secure a seat. So, regardless of whether you book your tickets 3 months in advance or the day before, you're not actually guaranteed a seat unless you check in online. We weren't told this until we were at the airport and checked in there that we might not be able to get our pre-booked in advance flight because of over-booking from KLM. We then had to wait and see if there were seats available when boarding. Luckily, there were, but we were not sat together. Not the greatest start to our first holiday together as a couple. We were told that if there weren't seats available, they'd pay for us to get to another airport to fly out, which would have meant a huge delay on the only time off we'd get together this year and have to rearrange our pre-booked and pre-paid living arrangements for the week. All because there wasn't a lot of emphasis on the need to check in online before hand. You'd think if someone checked in at the airport, that would be more of a guarantee that they'd be flying with you that day, but apparently not. Definitely not impressed or happy with this part of the KLM experience. This is the only company that we've had this problem with, they should make it clearer that it is essential to check in online."

Pros: "The crew came to get me from the arrival gate to get to the departure gate since our plane was delayed. It helped to know that the airline was checking to make sure we made the flight."
Cons: "I did not get my luggage in Nairobi. The delayed flight that was the most likely reason it did not get to the connecting flight to Nairobi."

Cons: "Amesterdam airport employee was really rude"

Cons: "At some point the luggage was lost. here."

Pros: "Flight was on time and quick and comfortable"

Pros: "Priority boarding was appreciated and the flights were on time. Service was fine. Schipol was good."

Pros: "great choice of entertainment content, friendly crew"

Pros: "Staff superb. They even surprised us with an exit row and a gift for my partners birthday! Amazing. Samantha and Dennis also took time to come and personally wish him a happy birthday. A lovely touch. This airline runs like clockwork. They are just great. The sandwich and stoop waffle are nice too."
Cons: "There is a bus to the plane, so that takes a bit of extra time but they are very well organized."

Pros: "Professional, friendly service. Punctual, safe flight. Comfortable, spotless airplane."
Cons: "What is there not to like about KLM? I cannot find anything."

Pros: "Wide selection of entertainment, food was good."
Cons: "Boarding unorganized, but that may have been more of a passenger issue then KLM"

Pros: "I ended up getting home with less delay than originally predicted. I guess that's a good thing Also delta customer service was super polite and trying to help when I called"
Cons: "Delay again. seems to be pretty frequent on KLM flights at least on the ones I flew with in the past 4 years. this time it was 3hours wait due to a technical issue. no alternative flight option and we ended up getting a very old plane as a replacement. In addition people at info terminals are disorganized and not kind at all.."

Cons: "I missed my flight because of MU"

Cons: "Fewer entertainment options than the delta flight. I got excited with that first flight."

Pros: "They flew full speed to catch up with the delays."
Cons: "Departure was scheduled with one hour delay. When everyone was boarded they mentioned a leaking toilet. It took them 1,5 hours to disable the toilet. In the mean time, no drinks, no snacks, nothing. So we should depart at 18:00 but it became 19:30. Our first drinks and meal was no earlier then 21:00. The crew should have anticipated better that the technical problem would at least take one hour and give everyone a drink at least."

Cons: "Flight was delayed 4 hours. was not able to make connecting flight in Amsterdam. No flights from Amsterdam to final destination in the US. Lost one full day. Had to stay overnight. What a cluster mess. Will never fly with KLM airlines and would not recommend. Will spend a little extra money and fly on other airlines. very poor, disorganized, and horrendous flight experience. Buyer beware."

Pros: "Entertainment, cabin crew great."
Cons: "Seat layout may now be standard but is still cramped."

Pros: "Plane is clean and comfortable. Boarding was great."
Cons: "Staff was lacy and rude to another customer. She told the passenger she wasn’t walking to the back of the plane to get her a paper cup."

Pros: "Crew was very pleasant."
Cons: "There were no announcements at all about the delays! It was confusing and poor service."

Cons: "Multiple delays. Need to offer back up flights and hold connections for delayed flights."

Pros: "The food was amazing"
Cons: "The seats could have more space"

Cons: "SFO-Copenhagen was cancelled. Only hint for that came from Kayak which I didn't even use for booking (I used Flyus). Sas and Flyus didn't notify us and sas customer service had to actually use 5 min to verify that flight was cancelled after we called them. That left some poor rebooking options. Anyway, I am very disappointed how Sas didn't notify us. It would have been even nastier if we had got to the airport before realizing that flight was cancelled."

Pros: "Good service from flight deck and cabin crew. Clean and comfortable"
Cons: "Take-off was nearly an hour late. No complimentary food and coffee was instant and very average."

Pros: "Efficient"
Cons: "Difficult to find check in at Copenhagen airport"

Pros: "Great food and service as always"

Pros: "The airplane clean ,Food good etc."

Pros: "Nice staff, good leg room, comfortable seats, complimentary hot beverages with refills offered."
Cons: "One seat was wet and steward had to provide blanket for my friend to sit on, one other persons bag got stained as floor was wet in front of her and bottom of middle seat magazine holder was also wet! Also flight was delayed leaving and there was rubbish and chewing gum from previous flights. we had to clean the tables ourselves with wet wipes as they were dirty from previous flights."

Pros: "The fact that I was lucky and the plane was not full and got two seats to myself"
Cons: "Terrible planning with too few ticket counters that created a huge line and massive delays First European airline that I have travelled that offered no food"

Pros: "Most everything"
Cons: "I'd like to be able to get seats together as a family before getting to the gate. I had to ask for switches both outbound and inbound, which they were nice enough to make."

Pros: "Food good. Crew very nice."
Cons: "Seats very uncomfortable."

Cons: "Our suitcase was damaged. Because we did not notice this until we got to our apartment we found that it is not possible to make acclaim, rather you just have to make a general complaint with a response according to SAS likely in 3 weeks. This process took over an hour of my time. The three tel numbers given to report damage are in Scandinavia and not much use when travelling within the UK."

Pros: "Friendly service. No problem with moving to open seats to stretch out."
Cons: "Even though it was an older plane, it was still comfortable."

Pros: "Excellent staff!"
Cons: "All airplanes are 2 Noisy. (Of course this is not the fault of SAS). I use noise canceling headphones that helps a lot. EBut the background noise level always strikes me as too much!"

Pros: "Crew were excellent, had a row to myself, luggage turned up quickly"
Cons: "No landing cards given!"

Cons: "The seats were far too narrow. At least I could put both feet under the seat in front of me!"

Cons: "Not enough characters to express my disappointment."

Pros: "Everything about the flight was fine. Boarding, flying and retrieving luggage were all standard and went smoothly."
Cons: "I was upset that neither Kayak nor SAS provided any information about our ticket being a basic, basic ticket, by which I mean, did not include any checked luggage allowance in the price of the flight. I ended up paying 140 additional Euros for two bags. It appears that SAS's pricing is gaming the system when searching for flights or that Kayak is not being up-front about the type of fare they are advertising."

Pros: "There was absolutely nothing I liked."
Cons: "We didn't have a flight. Our flight was canceled at the airport. We were told 10-15 minutes after our boarding time that there would be a delay, but we should check back in 45 minutes. So, we never made it to Stockholm to take that flight back home."

Cons: "Check in was unorganized--many of us had tickets with unassigned seats that weren't taken care of till right before the flight. A situation which every system listed us as on standby--even if that wasn't true."

Cons: "ended up having to put both of our large carry-on items under the seat in front of us while the flight attendants stuffed people's coats and jackets into the overhead"

Pros: "The gate agent at check-in was very helpful and knowledgeable. The entire ground crew did a good job. The crew was friendly and attentive. The plane was clean. The entertainment options were more than adequate. Bathrooms were well kept."
Cons: "I know you can't expect coach to be luxurious. But the space between seats in the airline industry in general have gotten ridiculously small. Words were exchanged between my wife and the lady (nothing extreme, but still) in the seat in front of her. When the lady leaned her seat back, my wife could barely watch her movie. All in all, I would definitely fly SAS again."

Pros: "Plane was quite empty"
Cons: "Plane wasn't in the best shape"

Pros: "My first time flying SAS on my trip to Europe from USA and I was highly impressed. Everything was efficient and comfortable. One of the highlights was the check in - this is often a long and frustrating process, however this could not have been easier and so quick. I was very happy and made my entire check in experience simple and efficient. I will be going straight to SAS for my next trip to Europe, no question. Thank you very much. Daniel Valewink"

Pros: "Easy kiosk check in, baggage drop off, good service."
Cons: "No advance discussion about emergency exit row seating requirements, and we were not allowed to even have a paperback book to read in this row. The flight was full and boarded, so not able to change seats."

Cons: "I paid for internet but it never worked"

Cons: "Due to a train mix-up, I arrived at the Frankfurt airport with only 53 minutes to get through security and board. Lufthansa would not let me through the process, even though I immediately told them about the problem. They not only refused to let me board, but also refused to reschedule me. I had to buy a whole new round-trip ticket at more than double the price in order to meet my family for our once-in-a-lifetime reuinion in Norway, but also make my existing connection for the return flight. It cost me an additional 999 Euros cash in the middle of my vacation because my Kayak ticket was not refundable."

Pros: "Everything was very good. I enjoyed the flight very much. The staff was friendly, courteous and professional. The cleanliness was good."

Pros: "The food was excellent"
Cons: "A glass of wine free of charge would have been a nice addition."

Cons: "Flight was late and they left us completely hanging at the Stockholm airport with no agents anywhere to be found and no instructions on what to do about the missed connection."

Pros: "we landed 20 minutes before schedule"

Pros: "Boarding was quick, the staff was friendly, the plane was clean."
Cons: "I was really cramped in my seat and was unimpressed with the food."

Pros: "I liked the movie quality and overall order of the stuff and the flight."
Cons: "Since when do I have to pay for wine? :( Also, too few movie choices."

Pros: "Flights ran on time."
Cons: "Suitcase arrived badly damaged. Crew was rude and inattentive. It was hard to get water during the flight."

Pros: "Flight was on time, boarding was efficient."
Cons: "No free snack? Come on. What is this, wizzair?"

Cons: "Unfortunately we had to postpone our trip due to a family crisis. I called in an attempt to receive a voucher or some credit. I was advised that a change was possible, but that with penalties and taxes, it would amount to MORE than the price of the ticket. Hell of a way to run a railroad. speaking of railroads, that gives me an idea for when we reschedule!!"

Pros: "tjis flight was on United Airlines. It was nice and simple"
Cons: "the landinf was ROUGH and The plane was very grimy"

Pros: "Nice crew"
Cons: "The flight is very noise they never turn off the lights and close the windows so it's very hard to try to sleep."

Pros: "Everything was great, food, blanket & pillow, movies, friendly service."
Cons: "The 3 hour delay for landing. Had a 2 hour drive home from the airport, hard to stay awake. So tired for work the next morning."

Pros: "we didn't crash"
Cons: "it was extremely hot in boarding area. when we landed we sat on the tarmac for an hour with no air conditioning and we weren't allowed to use the"

Cons: "I could not check in online for this leg of the trip and so could not simply go to a baggage drop line. The company handling checkin dealt with 4 or 5 airlines. It was not clear from iceland air website that i had to checkin with SAS. First stood in line for iceland air then had to go stand in line again for company handling SAS. Spent way too much time online doing this. Otherwise trip was fine."

Pros: "Entertainment system is very good - like 100 movies on demand even games available."
Cons: "Economy seats had little leg room weren't offered a choice of entrees Make sure you call ahead if you need vegetarian meals."

Pros: "It was weird boarding last. We understand different airlines have different policies but we believe letting the elderly and families with little children should always have first priority. We as a family and with an elderly who is not 100% well have big challenges. It is always nice for other airlines to get us in earlier so the elderly and the little children can settle. This airline's policy is a shift for us. If not for the good price, we'd choose another. But it was just ok just a longer wait. Children and the elderly should always have the best benefit. Not the busiiness people.. Crazy policy!"
Cons: "Service was mediocre. Staff was nice but not very caring like other airlines and most were older women who are burnt out. Its almost like they don't want to be there. Food was excellent but there was a charge for red wine. This is Europe. Thought the US was bad. Economy class comfort is not that comfortable as always. o well! Your staff English especially the women announcers were terrible. We could not understand hardly anything. The pilots were a lot better! Need to take English classes.. Sorry but have to be honest. "

Cons: "1st class could not board because that area was not cleaned"

Cons: "Over crowded boarding area - delay at departure"

Pros: "Really pleasant flight. Excellent pilot, good crew."
Cons: "Nothing! This was one of my best flights ever."

The Symptoms of Subaru Head Gasket Problem

The signs of gasket failure will show in a systematic way, one by one:

  1. You will find oil trickling down between the head and block surfaces. The leak will get bigger with time and possibly lead to a coolant leaking.
  2. The smell of Sulphur or fuel from the coolant reservoir. At this stage, you will also notice higher readings in the coolant temperature gauge.
  3. Recurrent overheating of the engine during a long drive.

>> Click here to see a list of used car from Japan for sale <<

Top 10 Disgusting Ingredients You&rsquove Probably Eaten Today

The “natural flavors” label is quite intriguing.  It is considered a way of protecting the secret formula/recipe, a way of preserving the product’s uniqueness.  Would you expect regurgitated secretions produced in an animal’s digestive system to be approved by the FDA as food additives?  The secretion produced by the beaver’s sacs and civet absolute (derived from the unctuous secretions from the receptacles between the anus and genitalia of both the male and female civet cat ”, according to A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives delish) are other gross ingredients found in food. Watch out for those natural flavorings & flavors!

Lanolin is secreted by the sebaceous glands of wool-bearing animals.  Believe it or not, it is used to soften chewing gum.

Sugar itself doesn’t contain animal ingredients, but most companies use bone char (animal charcoal) in filters to decolorize sugar.  According to regulatory bodies, the bones are required to come from cattle that have died of natural causes.  Countries like Pakistan, Brazil, Nigeria, India and Morocco are main suppliers.

What you are actually consuming and paying for, may be surprising.

10.  Silicon Dioxide

Oxygen (46.6%), silicon (27.7%) and aluminum (8%) are the first three most abundant elements in the earth’s crust.  Crystalline forms of silica include quartz, cristobalite and tridymite.  Silicon dioxide is the main chemical compound of sand.

This element raises concern when it is used as an additive.  Amorphous silicon dioxide (E551 in Europe) is one of the most important anti-caking agents.  The FDA allows the use of SiO2 and considers it safe, as long as it doesn’t exceed 2% of the food’s weight. You can find it in everything from processed meat, spice powders, instant soups & sauces, snack bars, supplements, pharmaceutical drug tablets and more.

Silica, short for silicon dioxide, is beneficial to our body in several ways, but the body needs a very small amount of it to stay healthy.  Is it dangerous to add silicon dioxide to food? Probably not, since its toxicity level is often very low.  Is it disgusting and unusual?  Yes, it’s down-right disgusting if you’re asking me.

9.  Borax

Discovered over 4,000 years ago, borax is also known as birax, sodium borate, or sodium tetra-borate, and is usually found deep underground.

Sodium borate is a crystalline compound that is the sodium salt of boric acid.  The term borax is widely used to refer both to a miracle mineral, and to a refined compound with countless applications.  Borax is king indeed, just like the above ad states.  The mineral keeps mice, bugs, ants and mold away.  It is used as a multipurpose cleaner, fire retardant, fungicide, herbicide and…food preservative.  Borax is banned as a food additive (E285) in the United States , but it is allowed in imported caviar.  E285 is legal in the European Union and Asia.  Borax is also used in the textiles, glass and leather industry for tanning and dyeing.  Is there anything borax can’t do?

8.  Gelatin

The flavorless and translucent substance may be used as a stabilizer, texture enhancer, or thickening agent in foods.  The active element of gelatin is the collagen obtained from various animal parts.  According to Professor M.C. Gomez-Guillén, “the most abundant sources of gelatin are pig skin (46%), bovine hide (29.4%) and pork and cattle bones (23.1%).”

7.  Shellac

Shellac is obtained by refining the secretions of the Kerria lacca insects.  Native to South-East Asia, the insects reside in colonies of thousands on trees such as Kusum, Ficus, Palas, and Ber.  It takes approximately 300,000 lac bugs to produce a one-kilogram sack of shellac.

Shellac is unrivalled when it comes to furniture polishing and wood finishing.  It is used in almost every industry, including food and pharmaceutical processing.  The same product that is utilized for coating furniture is used also for coating fruits, vegetables (shellac replaces the natural wax that is lost), candies, snacks, and pastries, to make them look fresher and more appealing.

6.  Carmine

You may have recently heard that Starbucks decided to stop using carmine as colorant. No more insect-derived coloring in the Strawberry Banana Smoothie, Strawberries & Cream Frappuccino , or Red Velvet Whoopie Pie!

Carmine is obtained from female cochineal insects.  After the bugs are killed by immersion in hot water, or exposure to heat, and then dried, their abdomen is extracted and cooked at high temperatures (it contains the most carmine).

If one of the following terms – carmine, cochineal extract, natural red 4, E120, C.I. 75470, E120 or hydrated aluminium chelate of carminic acid – appears in the ingredients list, the red bug dye is in your food.

The cochineal extract is added to everything from meat to marinades, juices, jams, gelatins and candies, baked goods, toppings, icings, and dairy products.

5.  Human Hair And Duck Feathers

L-cysteine is a common flavor enhancer and dough conditioner used in bakery products (pizza, crackers, bagels, bread, croissants and donuts, to name a few).  While some L-cysteine is chemically synthesized in labs, most of this non-essential amino acid is extracted from human hair or duck feathers.

Industry experts claim most human-derived L-cysteine comes from Chinese women, who sell it to chemical plants to support their families.

Many L-cysteine manufacturers seem to have moved away from the disgusting hair-derived substance, and on to the far-more-appetizing duck feathers.

McDonald’s confirmed some months ago that, as of last August, it has stopped using ammonia-based pink slime in the production of its burgers.  What about the duck feather-derived L-cysteine used in its pies and rolls?  McDonald’s confirmed that it uses L-cysteine made only from duck feathers, so there’s no human hair to worry about.  Gee, what a relief…

4.  Cellulose

Cellulose comes in a variety of forms – powdered cellulose (E460ii), microcrystalline cellulose (MCC or E460i) or cellulose gum – each with a specific use.  The odorless and tasteless powdered cellulose is sourced from either bamboo or cotton-based plant material.  Often labeled as high-fiber or reduced fat, the “miracle” ingredient may be used in the following foods: cheese, yogurt, ice cream, processed fruits, vegetables, cereals, pre-cooked pasta, and bakery wares.  See here for more details.

Dan Inman, director of R&D at J. Rettenmaier USA, said that manufacturers add cellulose to their products because it acts as an extender, reducing breakage and providing structure.  Food producers from all over the world save almost 30% in ingredient costs by going for cellulose as a filler or thickener.  Powdered cellulose can replace as much as 50% of the fat in some biscuits, cakes and cookies.

Sara Lee, Taco Bell, Jack in the Box, Pizza Hut, Wendy’s, Dole, KFC, Nestle and Kraft Foods are some of the many brands that put wood in our food.  Safe or not, it’s disturbingly unnatural to have cellulose in aliments. No wonder food doesn’t taste anymore as it used to.

3.  Castoreum, Civet

The same substance that beavers naturally secrete to mark their territories, gives flavor (?!) to certain foods.  Castoreum is a bitter, strongly odoriferous secretion, produced by the animal’s sacs.  These sacs are located by the anal glands.

According to an article published in the International Journal of Toxicology, castoreum has been used extensively in cosmetics, especially in perfumes, and has been added to food and beverages as a natural flavoring agent for at least 70 years.  Castoreum is generally recognized as safe by the FDA, FEMA and other regulatory bodies, and is especially useful as an ingredient in raspberry & vanilla flavored foods.  You may find it in ice creams, candies, syrups, pastries, and cigarettes.

The gross part is that castoreum doesn’t have to be listed on the label by its name because it is considered a natural flavor.  Apparently, beaver-butt tastes like vanilla and raspberry.  Eat up!

A Beaver’s Anal Glands…yummy!

Ambergris , civet and musk are other disgusting animal-derived ingredients.

Civet (zibetum, zibet) is secreted by the civet cat’s perianal scent glands and is a common ingredient of frozen dairy desserts, baked goods, candies, puddings or gelatins.

2.  Insect Filth, Mold, Rodent Filth, Maggots

The US Food and Drug Administration condones a certain percentage of natural contaminants in the food supply chain.  Here’s how many of these yummy-nummies to expect in your food:

All spice, ground: average of 30 or more insect fragments / 10g 1 or more rodent hairs / 10g

Berries: average mold count is 60% or more average of 4 or more larvae per 500 g 10 or more whole insects or equivalent per 500 g.

Frozen broccoli : 60 or more aphids and/or thrips and/or mites per 100 g.

Chocolate: 60 or more insect fragments per 100 grams 1 or more rodent hairs per 100 grams (when six 100-gram subsamples are examined)

Macaroni and noodle products: 225 insect fragments or more / 225g

Canned and dried mushrooms: 20 or more maggots of any size / 100g 75 mites / 100g

Peanut butter: 30 or more insect fragments / 100g 1 or more rodent hairs / 100g

Tomato juice: 10 or more fly eggs / 100g 5 or more fly eggs and 1 or more maggots / 100g average mold count in 6 subsamples is 24%.

Tomato paste: 30 or more fly eggs / 100g 15 or more fly eggs and 1 or more maggots / 100g 2 or more maggots /100g in a minimum of 12 subsamples.

Some products may have natural contaminants, others not.  Unfortunately, the European Union does not regulate the amount of filth or mold in food it has explicitly exempted the above listed “ingredients” from regulation.

Don’t misunderstand me, entomophagy is not gross.  The benefits of eating insects are overwhelming, but there’s a very big difference between eating processed remnants of bugs and rats, and consuming healthy & edible insects that are rich in proteins, minerals and vitamins.

1.  The First Approval Of Viruses As A Food Additive

The Food and Drug Administration approved, six years ago, a cocktail of bacteria-killing viruses to prevent listeriosis.  There are about 1600 cases of listeriosis, with 410 deaths per year in the United States.

The special viruses (bacteriophages) are sprayed on poultry products and ready-to-eat meat just before they are packaged.  What will happen when listeria develops resistance to the bacteriophages over time?  These viral additives are used to fight potential infections from poor quality meat.  Why expose millions of individuals to unnecessary risk for the benefit of so few?

What food safety authorities should really do is raise the standards and improve the quality of our food supply. What’s your opinion on the latest food additive?

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Watch the video: Πολωνία: Δύο άνδρες ισχυρίζονται πως εντόπισαν τρένο γεμάτο θησαυρούς (January 2022).