US, Iranian archeologists excavate underwater sites of Siraf

US, Iranian archeologists excavate underwater sites of Siraf

Azerbaijan, Baku, July 24 /Trend S.Isayev, T. Jafarov/

A team of American and Iranian archaeologists has launched underwater excavations at the historical port of Siraf in the Persian Gulf, PRESS TV reported.

Led by Iranian archaeologist Hossein Tofiqian and US-based Iranian expert Sorna Khakzad, the team started their work on July 16.

The American members of the team have brought the special equipment necessary for underwater excavations, ISNA reported.

"Previous studies had identified three or four archaeological strata at the site," said former director of Siraf Cultural Heritage Studies Center Behrouz Marbaghi.

"The most ancient layer dates back to the Parthian era, and the major archeological strata are related to the Sassanid and the early Islamic periods," he added saying that most of the archeological strata are now under the sea.

Located 220 kilometers south-east of Bushehr and approximately 380 kilometers west of Bandar Abbas, the city of Siraf is noted for its many historic sites dating back to the Sassanid, Parthian and Islamic eras.

Previous excavations had yielded east African ivory objects, Indian stone pieces, and Afghan lapis in Siraf which confirm the use of the historic port as the main marine trade route during the pre-Islamic era and the first four centuries following the advent of Islam.

One hundred 35-130 meter deep stone wells and graves at the foot of the mountains surrounding the city are among some of Siraf's unique archeological sites.

Islamic gravestones, the resting place of the Muslim scholar Ibn Sibeveyh, and a number of Towers of Silence and Zoroastrian temples portray the region's religious diversity throughout history.

Excavations had also yielded Sassanid and early-Islamic residential strata as well as a number of intact amphoras used in sea trade during the Parthian, Abbasid and early Islamic eras.

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