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New findings from the Sassanid period

Gravestones of Zoroastrians on the slopes of Naghsh-e Rostam

Newly, five Zoroastrian Pahlavi gravestone inscriptions were found on the slopes of Naghsh-e Rostam Mountain.

According to ILNA, Abolhassan Atabaki, a teacher of ancient languages at Shiraz University and having Ph.D in history from the University of Central Tehran, announced a few das back, about discovery of new lithographs that are located along the Naqsh-e Rostam rocks. In this regard, he said: “Precious new findings have been found in this section, which once again demonstrates the importance of Naqsh-e Rostam Mountain in archeological literature, culture, and ancient languages. The few newly discovered gravestones belong to followers of the Zoroastrian religion from among the people of Estakhr and its suburbs, whose survivors have tried to cherish their memory (late Sassanid period) next to their gravestones.

He added: “Because the burial of Zoroastrian worshipers has been different (and away from the sacred elements: earth, air, fire, water, plants), one of these stone inscriptions was next to a shelf type dokma (tower of silence) in the body of a rock, another dug in the body of a rock next to a grave cut in stone and the other three inscribed close to small stone dokmas. Although most of the letters in these inscriptions have faded over time, we could read text of these inscriptions.

Atabaki pointed out:  “The theme of most of these inscriptions is as follows: “This tomb in the month…

Year… Yazdgerdi

Name of deceased… boy or girl

So-and-so person …

For his/her soul

Ordered this to be built

May eternal paradise be his/hers

This place where Naqsh-e Rostam is situated has been of great interest to the Elamite (Anshan) kings, the Achaemenid and Sassanid rulers, so much so that numerous reliefs, tombs, and inscriptions from these periods have been carved on the heart of its rocks. In the Persepolis clay inscriptions, a place called “Nopistish” is mentioned next to the commercial city of “Metzish,” which is undoubtedly this same Naqsh-e Rostam.

In the same period as Ardreshir ii of achaemenid dynasty, Ctesias, the Greek physician, called this place “the mountain of two domes” or “the mountain of two peaks”, and this is where, for the first time, Darius the Great ordered to build his tomb.

According to the inscriptions of “Shahpour I Sassanid” and “Kartir Mobad” on the rock wall of Naghsh-e Rostam and the Ka’ba-ye Zartosht, this place was called “Dejanbisht” in the Sassanid period. Ibn Balkhi, living in the 5th century after Islam invasion, has, in his book called Farsnameh, named Naqsh-e Rostam the mountain of inscriptions.

After the 5th century after Islam, as narrated by the locals, western tourists have called this place Naqsh-e Rostam and also “The cemetery of Zoroastrians.

Today, the importance of Naqsh-e Rostam is not only because of its reliefs, tombs, and inscriptions of kings and nobles, but also because this mountain has monuments such as shelters from the Neolithic and middle stone age and Neolithic shelters, large Achaemenid mines, after-Achaemenid reliefs, towers of silence, and many burials of the Sassanid period including (ossuary, Stone Cave Tomb, cylindrical grave, hole grave, stone mass tomb, rock tomb, and mortar graves) which rarely have memorial inscriptions placed next to these burials.

Along the rocks of Naqsh-e Rostam, going towards the inscriptions of the archery of Shapur I of Sassanid dynasty, which have been less studied so far. The first of these inscriptions was earlier discovered by the famous archaeologist and explorer of Persepolis, Herzfeld, on the foot hills of the mountain called “Gerdlak Mountain” in the vicinity of the Hajiabad Marvdasht village. In the 90s (solar calendar), five other nscriptions related to the ossuaries (in the late Sassanid period) were discovered on the same mountain by “Abolhassan Atabaki” and “Najmeh Ebrahimi,” the theme of which was published in the conference of The Young Archaeologists in 2015.

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