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'La Pompei d'Oriente'
Portal of the Italian language

‘La Pompei d’Oriente’

Categories: Archaeology and Heritage

The results of the archaeological excavations at the Iranian site of Shahr-i Sokhta presented by the University of Salento.


With the publication of the book ‘Scavi e ricerche a Shahr-i Sokhta‘, the most recent results of the investigations of the archaeological project of the same name, co-financed by the MAECI, are presented to the public. The site, included in the List of UNESCO World Heritage sites, is located in the Sistan-va-Baluchistan province in eastern Iran and is considered an archaeological Eldorado.

The site, in fact, is perfectly preserved due to the saline concretions present over the entire surface that have sealed the findings and subsurface structures. But its peculiarity also lies in the fact that it has often been associated in archaeological literature with the mythological Aratta, a city mentioned in Sumerian texts, which rivalled the rulers of the first dynasty of Uruk. In Sumerian texts Aratta is presented as a distant, difficult to reach, fabulously rich place, filled with gold, silver, lapis lazuli and numerous other precious materials.

Pending evidence identifying the site, the discoveries made in the last 23 years by the Iranian mission and the Italian project led by Professor Ascalone have confirmed the exceptional relevance of the site. In fact, huge quantities of unworked stones have been discovered, such as lapis lazuli, turquoise, alabaster, evidence of significant commercial activity with the main centres of the Near East. Economic prosperity would have allowed a form of social balance between the clans that prevented power being centralized and a ruling class forming: the hundreds of recently discovered clay proto-tablets are in fact considered forms of family-based accounting. Its sudden decline is attributed to radical and abrupt climate change that would hit the major centres of Middle Asia.

The volume is edited by MAIPS Project Director Enrico Ascalone and by Seyyed Mansur Seyyed Sajjadi, director of the archaeological project of Shahr-I Sokhta and Dahan-ye qolaman since 1997.

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