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Monday, February 4, 2013

Iranian archaeologists to return to the prehistoric Bām-e Qeshm Geopark


The provincial branch of Iran’s Cultural and Heritage, Handicraft and Tourism Organisation (ICHHTO), at the Island of Qeshm in the Persian Gulf, has announced archaeologists from Iran’s Archaeological Research Centre (IARC) will recommence their research on the prehistoric sites, before the end of current Iranian year (March 20th).

During the previous seasons, Iranian archaeologists have identified human settlements belonging to the Paleolithic and the Mesolithic ages. The settlements are scattered around the Bām-e Qeshm Geopark, the oldest dates to 150,000 years ago and it is considered to be the earliest human settlement in the Persian Gulf.

During the last seasons, a number of human and animal bones, stone tools and other material cultures were discovered, which assisted in scientifically dating the sites.

IARC also announced, at the same time an underwater archaeological survey will be conducted near the island.

Archaeological research in 2006 led to the discovery of 32 historical sites belonging to the Parthian (248 BCE– 224 CE), Sasanian (224–651 CE), and post-Sasanian periods. Also, the evidence suggests the trade was strong during the Safavid period (1501-1736 CE).

Qeshm during the Sasanian era was called Abarkāwān and was part of the district of Ardashir-khorra. Later lexicographers explained Abarkâwân as a corruption of Abargâvân, (cow island); this is a folk etymology, which is reflected in Tabari's story of a commander in Khorrasan who accused his soldiers of having ridden only cattle and donkeys on the isle of Banu-Kâwân before he had turned them into competent cavalrymen.

The Island of Qesh, it is the largest island in the Persian Gulf near the strait of Hormoz (Hormuz) and covers an area of ca. 133 Km long and 11-35 km wide on average. The Island is stretched closley along side the south coastline (Hormozgan) of the Iranian mainland, only 22 km away from Bandar Abbas. The island virtually runs parallel to the coast between Bandar Abbas in the east and Bandar-e Lenga in the west and is located in the midst of two of Iran's largest natural gas fields in the Persian Gulf.

In 1989 the Qeshm Free Trading Zone was established with the goal of attracting substantial infrastructure investment to expand industrial, banking and tourist facilities. With a population of around 85,000. The Island of Qeshm today has four designated industrial areas, half a dozen large towns, and over 50 villages.

Bam-e Qeshm Geopark was registered with UNESCO as the first Geopark in the Middle-East, to become a tourist hub in the Persian Gulf, but soon it was dropped from the list, due to the lack of management and failing to meet UNESCO’s requirements. According to UNESCO, in comparison to the rest of the world Qeshm is unique and no such area can be found in the world.

Source The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies

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