Possible Existence of a Sasanian Fire Temple in Sarab-e Mort


April 24, 2008



Archaeologists working at Sarab-Mort site in Kermanshah Province announced the news of the possible discovery of a Sasanian Fire Temple adjacent to the Parthian Manor house, reported Persian service of ISNA on Monday 21, 2008.

“During this year’s [archaeological salvage] excavation, we have unearthed the religious section of the structure; it consists of a Chahar-Taqi (free-standing Zoroastrian Fire Temple), which in fact was a private chapel,” said Yousef Moradi, director of archaeological salvage operation team at Sarab-e Mort.

The Parthian manor house consists of various sections including official, administrative, ceremonial and religious.

Moradi stated: “we started our excavation in the Parthian manor house last year. Last season we discovered the official, administrative and ceremonial quarters, and this year the religious section. However, the residential quarter has totally been destroyed and there is no hope of finding the private chamber belonging to the lord of the manor.”

Initially, the private and residential sectors of the manor-house were destroyed partly in 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war and the remaining part was demolished in recent decade as the result of the dam construction activities.

In regard to the Zoroastrian fire temple he said: “located in the southern corner of the structure there is a small area, which points out to its function and origin as a Sasanian fire temple. However, we cannot be sure until we complete our excavation.”

According to Moradi, the manor house was built during the Parthian dynastic era (248 BCE -224 CE) and was in use during the succeeding dynasty, the Sasanians (224-651 CE). Apparently the discovered religious section was an annexation. Further excavations however at a lower level will shed more light about its origin.

Iranian archaeologists began their second and last season of archaeological salvage operation at Sarab-Mort archaeological site in Kermanshah Province in February 2008, prior to the site soon being submerged once the newly built Dam becomes operational.

Discovery of plaster in the ceremonial hall indicates that the walls of this building were most probably covered with stucco-decorations which have been destroyed over time. This manor house covered an area about 5,000 square meters.

Sarab-Mort is situated near a stream known under the same name and it is located 3 kilometres east of Gilangharb in Kermanshah province. The site consists of three archaeological mounds (Tappeh).

The area of Sarab Mort is renowned for its mort (myrtle) trees. Myrtle was considered as a sacred plant by the ancient Iranians, and its leaves and fruits were used during Mithra and Anahita cultic ceremonies.

Original News bulletin published in Persian by ISNA , and translated and modified by CAIS [*]