Alexandria's founded by Alexander

Alexandria's founded by Alexander the Great (by year BC): 334 Alexandria in Troia (Turkey) - 333 Alexandria at Issus/Alexandrette (Iskenderun, Turkey) - 332 Alexandria of Caria/by the Latmos (Alinda, Turkey) - 331 Alexandria Mygdoniae - 331 Alexandria (Egypt) - 330 Alexandria in Areia (Herat, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria of the Prophthasia/in Dragiana/Phrada (Farah, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Arachosia (Kandahar, Afghanistan) - 330 Alexandria in Caucasus (Begram, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria of the Paropanisades (Ghazni, Afghanistan) - 329 Alexandria Eschate or Ultima (Khodjend, Tajikistan) - 329 Alexandria on the Oxus (Ai-Khanoum OR Termez, Afghanistan) - 328 Alexandria in Margiana (Merv, Turkmenistan) - 326 Alexandria Nicaea (on the Hydaspes, India) - 326 Alexandria Bucephala (on the Hydaspes, India) - 325 Alexandria Sogdia - 325 Alexandria Rambacia (Bela, Pakistan) - 325 Alexandria Oreitide - 325 Alexandria in Opiene (confluence of Indus & Acesines, India) - 325 Alexandria on the Indus - 325 Alexandria Xylinepolis (Patala, India) - 325 Alexandria in Carminia (Gulashkird, Iran) - 324 Alexandria-on-the-Tigris/Antiochia-in-Susiana/Charax (Spasinou Charax on the Tigris, Iraq) - ?Alexandria of Carmahle? (Kahnu)

Friday, July 14, 2017

Archaeological research resumed at Pasargadae

It is always a pleasure to hear about new and update archaeological research anywhere, but that is especially the case for Pasargadae where French and Iranian scholars have joined hands.

Pasargadae, founded by Cyrus the Great in 546 BC,  was the first urban settlement of its time and as such became the prototype for a Persian city, implemented less than a century later by Darius I for the city of Persepolis, as explained in an earlier blog (see: In Search of the City of Persepolis).

There are no doubts about the presence of water channels and dams in and around Pasargadae, as well as about the location of the stone quarries. Moreover, some 300 graves have been identified belonging to different eras ranging from the Neolithic to the Achaemenid period. Latest excavations have even unearthed remains of a 20 km-long wall belonging to the Achaemenid era.

It has been established that the different royal buildings at Pasargadae were not united as a single palatial cluster but spread around in a royal garden of several hectares crossed by several stone waterways. This garden turned out to be only a small parcel in a larger park where houses for the general public, craftsmen and nobility lived in quarters of their own. This park included the Tower of Zendan (also called Salomon’s Prison) as part of a larger complex and the wide basin to the southeast that has suffered from eons of agricultural activities. The vast plateau that rises to the north is generally called “the Citadel” or Tall-i Takht and commands the site. It is in this area of approximately two hectares that about a dozen of sites have been located, one of which was clearly identified as Achaemenid, associated with an ancient canal of more than two kilometers long.

The water needed for the entire population and for irrigation purposes was skillfully led through the many stone channels, some of which have already been exposed. The exact working of this water system has not been clarified yet, neither do we know whether the water was diverted from the nearby Pulvar River or from another source.

Recent excavations have also revealed the foundations of a city gate, which apparently was inspired by similar constructions in Babylon since elements of its typical glazed walls with bas-reliefs of a dragon have been unearthed. It is thought that this gate was built before Darius I came to power, probably by Cyrus the Great in order to celebrate his victories.

More geophysical measurement and physical excavations are required to draw a coherent archaeological map of the entire area of Pasargadae. Let’s keep a close watch on future excavations!

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