25 February 2024 The Future is the Product of the Past

Archaeologists Unearthed Third Greatest Fire Temple Existing in Ancient Iran’s Sassanid Era

Archaeologists have unearthed ruins of what they believe to be the third-greatest fire temple in ancient Iran during the Sassanid era.

The Sassanid era (224-651 CE) was the longest-lived Persian royal dynasty, ruling for as long as 400 years.

The fifth season of excavation of an ongoing archaeological survey in a valley near the village of Robat-e Sefid/Bazeh Hur in northeastern Iran continues under the headed of archaeologist Meysam Labbaf-Khaniki.

“We have probably discovered the third greatest fire temple that existed in ancient Iran,” archaeologist Meysam Labbaf-Khaniki said on Wednesday, according to ILNA.

“During this archaeological season, we have gathered considerable evidence such as engraved plasterwork and inscriptions that suggest the ruins are related to an important fire temple,” said the archaeologist, as cited by Tehran Times.

Inscriptions and fragments with Pahlavi characters should first be sorted and categorized so that linguists and cultural heritage professionals may read (and understand) them, he stated.

These fresh discoveries are expected to open a new chapter in the history of Iranian arts during the Sassanid epoch, the archaeologist said.

Exquisite stuccoworks embellish capital columns that support the main hall of the fire temple, he said.

The cult of sacred fire forms the basis of Zoroastrianism. In the Zoroastrian fire temples, the fire was not worshiped at all. Still, because of its dynamism, warmth, protection role, and the nature of transformation, it is commonly mentioned as an aspect of divine power.

Photo: ILNA

However, the outside façade of a Zoroastrian fire temple is nearly usually purposefully unassuming and devoid of ornamentation. This may reflect historic tradition (supported by the prosaic nature of fire temple technical terms ) that the primary aim of a fire temple is to house a holy fire, rather than to glorify what is otherwise just a structure.

The basic structure of present-day fire temples is always the same. There are no indigenous sources older than the 19th century that describe an Iranian fire temple (the 9th-century theologian Manushchir observed that they had a standard floor plan, but what this might have been is unknown), and it is possible that the temples there today have features that are original of Indian origin.

At the entrance to a fire temple, one comes into a large space or hall where congregation (also non-religious) or special ceremonies may take place. Off to the side of this (or sometimes a floor level up or down) the devotee enters an anteroom smaller than the hall he/she has just passed through. Connected to this anteroom, or enclosed within it, but not visible from the hall, is the innermost sanctum (in Zoroastrian terminology, the atashgah, literally ‘place of the fire in which the actual fire-altar stands).

The Zoroastrian place of worship is called fire temple because they perform their prayers in the presence of fire. In ancient Iran, the head of the family always kept the fire burning, so keeping the fire lit became a tradition. Keeping the flames lit was a divine symbol for worship in Iranian fire temples.

Related Articles

Underwater Researchers Found Temples to Ancient Gods in Sunken City

20 September 2023

20 September 2023

Two temples belonging to the Egyptian god Amun and the Greek goddess Aphrodite were found in the sunken city off...

First Human Traces Buried in an Ancient Gold Mine in Eastern Sahara

2 May 2021

2 May 2021

Some of the earliest signs of human life dating back 1.8 million years have been discovered in an old gold...

1900-year-old Child’s Nightgown with intriguing knots found in the Cave of Letters in the Judean Desert

5 October 2023

5 October 2023

The Cave of Letters in Israel is one such site that has yielded a large number of papyrus letters and...

Excavations of Aççana Mound, the Capital of the Mukish Kingdom, Continue

16 July 2021

16 July 2021

2021 excavations have started at Aççana Höyük, the old city of Alalah, in Hatay’s Reyhanlı district. The ancient city of...

DNA from 20,000-year-old deer-tooth pendant reveals woman who wore it

4 May 2023

4 May 2023

A pendant made of a deer tooth that was exposed to DNA about 20,000 years ago has yielded clues about...

Archaeologists identify a sunken Nabataean temple dedicated to the God Dusares at Pozzuoli

12 April 2023

12 April 2023

Off the coast of Pozzuoli on the Phlegrean Peninsula in Campania, Italy, underwater archaeologists have identified a sunken Nabataeans temple...

Anatolia’s largest olive oil factory unearthed

14 January 2022

14 January 2022

A Roman-era olive oil factory has been unearthed during excavations in the İskenderun district of Hatay. It has been reported...

Neanderthals caused ecosystems to change 125,000 years ago

16 December 2021

16 December 2021

Researchers say Neanderthals changed the ecosystem by turning forests into grasslands 125,000 years ago. Around 125,000 years ago, these close...

Archaeologists in Egypt unearth Roman-era cabin and royal sphinx statue

6 March 2023

6 March 2023

An Egyptian archaeological mission discovered a sphinx statue inside a Roman-era limestone cabin excavated in Egypt’s south. The artifacts were...

Four 1,900-year-old Roman swords found in Judean Desert

6 September 2023

6 September 2023

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced the discovery of four extremely well-preserved Roman swords hidden in a cave in the...

Vase for holy oil used by ‘hidden Christians’ in Japan

24 May 2023

24 May 2023

After the family that had passed it down through the generations permitted the artifact to be examined, a relic from...

Archaeologists find a Roman military watchtower in Morocco for the first time

7 November 2022

7 November 2022

A Roman military watchtower the first of its kind was discovered by a team of Polish and Moroccan archaeologists in...

Mosaics found in Türkiye’s Sinop belong to dining room of a wealthy family

24 June 2023

24 June 2023

The pebble mosaics unearthed during the excavation of a building complex in the province of Sinop on Turkey’s Black Sea...

Dog Kajtuś uncovers Poland’s biggest treasure of the past 100 years

21 April 2022

21 April 2022

A dog named Kajtuś discovered the biggest treasure found in Poland in the last 100 years. The treasure was found...

A new Archaeological Site has been Discovered in Oman

7 July 2021

7 July 2021

Oman‘s Ministry of Heritage and Tourism recently discovered an ancient site in the town of Al Khobar, Sumail Province, Al...