Category Archives: IRAN

Massive Ancient Wall Discovered in Iran Belongs to Unknown Ancient Civilization

Massive Ancient Wall Discovered in Iran Belongs to Unknown Ancient Civilization

Archaeologists also uncovered the remnants of a stone wall in Iran that is roughly the same length as the famous Hadrian’s Wall, which was constructed by the Romans across England.

This satellite image was taken on July 31, 2019, by the WorldView-2 satellite. The red arrows show a surviving section of the Gawri Wall.

The wall, which extends about 71 miles (115 kilometres), was found in Sar Pol-e Zahab County in western Iran.

“With an estimated volume of approximately one million cubic meters [35,314,667 cubic feet] of stone, it would have required significant resources in terms of workforce, materials and time,” wrote Sajjad Alibaigi, an assistant professor of Iranian Archaeology at Razi University in Kermanshah, Iran, in an article published online in the journal Antiquity.

The structure runs north-south from the Bamu Mountains in the north to an area near Shaw Marg village in the south, Alibaigi wrote. 

Pottery found along the wall suggests that it was built sometime between the fourth century B.C. and sixth century A.D., Alibaigi wrote. “Remnants of structures, now destroyed, are visible in places along the wall.

Massive Ancient Wall Discovered in Iran Belongs to Unknown Ancient Civilization
Location of the ancient wall in Salmaneh Mount, south-east of Bamu mount.

These may have been associated turrets [small towers] or buildings,” wrote Alibaigi, noting that the wall itself is made from “natural local materials, such as cobbles and boulders, with gypsum mortar surviving in places.”

Though the wall’s existence was unknown to archaeologists, those living near it have long known about the wall, calling it the “Gawri Wall,” Alibaigi wrote. 

The Gawri Wall in the western mountains of Sar Pol-e Zahab; arrows indicate the wall’s line.

A spokesperson for Antiquity said that since Alibaigi’s paper was published, the journal has learned that another group of archaeologists carried out earlier research on the wall; that research was never published in a journal. 

Mysterious wall

Archaeologists are not certain who built the structure, and for what purpose. Because of the poor preservation of the barrier, the scientists aren’t even sure of its exact width and height. He said their best estimates put it at 13 feet (4 meters) wide and about 10 feet (3 m) high.

“It is unclear whether it was defensive or symbolic,” wrote Alibaigi, noting that it might mark the border for an ancient empire, perhaps the Parthians (who flourished between 247 B.C. and A.D. 224) or the Sassanians (A.D. 224-651).

Both empires in western Iran built large castles, cities and irrigation systems, so it’s likely that both had the resources to build the Gawri Wall, wrote Alibaigi.

The newly discovered Gawri Wall is not the only ancient long wall in Iran. Archaeologists have previously found similar structures in the north and northeastern parts of Iran. Those may have had a defensive purpose. 

Alibaigi hopes to carry out more research on the Gawri Wall in the future, he wrote. He did not respond to requests for comment. 

The Hasanlu Lovers and their 2800 years-old kiss

The Hasanlu Lovers and their 2800 years-old kiss

Archaeologists were shocked to discover the remains of two bodies, apparently sharing a romantic embrace before their deaths, in the ruins of an ancient, burned-out village.

The Hasanlu Lovers.

The University of Pennsylvania first discovered this skeletal couple during an archaeological excavation of an ancient city in northwest Iran in the 1970s. The two skeletons were discovered in the remains of the ancient city of Teppe Hasanlu, which stood in the area that is now Iran 2,800 years ago.

These remains were found in a mudbrick bin, designed for storing grain, embracing one another in what appears to be a kiss and were dubbed “The Hasanlu Lovers.”

From archaeological evidence, researchers discovered that the city of Teppe Hasanlu was destroyed around 800 BCE by an invading army that sacked the city and burned it to the ground.

In addition to the Hasanlu Lovers, human remains from hundreds of others from the time, men, women, and children were found strewn across the city streets of Hasanlu. The people of this city, it appears, were completely wiped out by the invading raiders.

Other bodies found at Teppe Hasanlu.

The Hasanlu Lovers were likely hiding from these invaders in the grain bin when they died of asphyxiation from the smoke emanating from the fires raging around the city.

The Urartu Kingdom of the Armenian highlands is believed to have been responsible for this slaughter.

While the media and public were quick to decide that the two people locked in this embrace were a man and woman in a romantic relationship, archaeologists responsible for the find note that the relationship and gender between the two remain unclear.

One of the “lovers,” the one laying on his back, is definitively a young male (18-22), due to his pelvic shape and dental structures. The sex of the second “lover” is much more under question.

It is unclear what the sex of the “touching” person truly was. While researchers were easily able to identify the age of the person these remains belonged to, 30 to 35, the gender remains a mystery as the skeleton has both male and female features.

The site of Teppe Hasanlu today.

Given the forensic evidence we have, it is more likely that the second body was that of a man as well.

When this evidence was first revealed in the 1980s, reporters flocked to report that the Hasanlu Lovers were gay. However, the relationship between these two ancient people, whether one was male or female, is entirely unknown.

While these two men could have been lovers, many hypothesize that the older person was, in fact, the father of the boy. If the skeleton is in fact female, then it could easily also be his mother.

Furthermore, “gay” and “straight” as discreet identities and orientations are a product of modern society, not labels that can be applied to people in the distant past.

While ancient people engaged in sex with members of the opposite gender and their own, these sexual preferences did not bring with them the same social identities that we associate with them today.

So while these intertwined skeletons from thousands of years ago maybe a stirring image, we should not assume to understand the complexities of their lives and social systems from a single snapshot.

Jiroft Civilization, one of the oldest in the world

Jiroft Civilization, one of the oldest in the world

A major cultural center

For about a century we have been aware that ancient Persia was a major factor in the complex of populations that laid the foundations for the development of civilizations, but actual proof of this fact has been made available only through very recent discoveries. Now we know for certain that already in very ancient times this country played a leading role in the formulation and elaboration of technological and artistic progress. 

The recent archaeological excavations carried out in southeast Iran demonstrate that, at the dawn of urban civilization, the Persian plateau and Susiana were just as important as Mesopotamia.

Archaeological research still in progress in the Halil Rud Valley, south of Kerman, was first concerned with protecting the prehistoric necropolises from clandestine, large-scale looting on the part of the inhabitants of the region.

The excavation at Jiroft’s Konar Sandal

Local people were systematically looting the tombs, and the stolen treasures were sent to the leading art markets in the Western world — London, Zürich, New York, etc. Taken out of their context, these objects lost their cultural importance and ended up having only commercial value, thereby becoming isolated and therefore ‘voiceless’ artifacts for historians, art historians, and anthropologists.

The official ban on plundering, together with the emergence of scientific surveys organized by Iranian archaeologists, have demonstrated that the region was the center of culture and art that developed around 3100 BC. The architectural and sculptural creations brought to light in the areas situated between Kerman and the Strait of Hormuz, at an altitude of 1968 ft (600 m) above sea level and in a region of palm orchards surrounded by mountains peaks over 13,000 ft (4000 m) high, are of the utmost importance and interest. The works unearthed by the archaeologists were contemporaneous with the flowering of Sumerian art at the ancient city of Ur, El Obeid, Uruk, or Telloh (Lagash), and in certain respects rival the production of these famous sites.

In Southeast Persia, there was a proto-Elamitic civilization that early on boasted a primitive form of writing, proof of which is provided by tablets brought to light at Tepe Sialk (Kashan, north of Isfahan), Tepe Yahya, and Susa.

The largest city in Elam in that period Was in fact Susa, situated at the confluence of the valleys of the Kherka and Karun rivers, which are perennial and flow into the Tigris and Euphrates in Lower Mesopotamia and then empty into the Persian Gulf. However, the digs carried out in these Khuzistan lowlands from 1883 on by the French mission at Susa ruined this site so badly that it is now impossible to establish chronological data with any degree of certainty. The aim of the excavations at that time was to concentrate on gathering objects (pottery and sculpture) rather than attempting to establish dates on the basis of the stratigraphy.

Consequently, archaeologists are now unable to provide precise dates for the superb pottery of Susa, which was unearthed over a century ago. The dates published by André Parrot in 1960 regarding these artifacts — the beginning of the IV millennium BC — must therefore be accepted with caution. In any case, we will return to this subject further on.

Present-day Excavations

The Iranian archeologist Youssef Majidzadeh who is now in charge of the research at the site of Halil Rud (in particular Jiroft, a locality after which the art of the region was named) has accumulated a collection of hundreds of delicately decorated stone objects. The special quality of the local material — a type of chlorite —makes it particularly suitable for sculpture: vases, bowls, cylindrical bottles, statuettes, weights (in the shape of ‘purses’), and animal figures, all accompanied by various ceramic objects.

A bowl made of chlorite from Halil Rud with the image of a divinity: the mythical being, half-human and half-scorpion, had a protective function. Besides the relief motifs, the decoration consisted of encrustations of hard stone, shells or coral. Diameter 4.7 in. (12 cm), height 2.7 in.(7 cm), 3rd millenium BC; Musée Barbier-Mueller, Geneva.
This divinity from the Halil Rud region in southeastern Persia Marked the rise of a new culture. Made of composite material and dating from the third millenniumBC, the statuette is only 2 in.(5 cm) high. Seated and wrapped in a sheepskin, the goddess mother has a strange hairstyle and her large eyes and face are extremely elegant. The site of Jiroft, which was still unknown about fifteen years ago, has yielded thousands of finely worked objects. Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Geneva.
Left and bottom in the foreground are two sculpted objects from Haul Rud. At left is a truncated cone vase decorated with incrustations of white stone and with the mythical image of a wild beast attacking a snake. At right is a goblet with relief decoration of crouching ibexes. Height 5.1 and 2.8 in. (13.2 and 7.3 cm), IIIrd-IInd millennia BC; Musée Barbier-Mueller, Geneva.

Right Gazelles and predatory animals are represented on this Jiroft-style truncated cone vase in chlorite. Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Geneva.

The research carried out at the tepes of Konar Sandal A and Konar Sandal B, carried out with stratigraphic excavations, has brought to light unfired brick ramparts that are 36 ft (11m) thick and has also unearthed terraces that crowned the uppermost part of the tepes.

These summit platforms, which arc from 36 to 50 ft (11 to 15 m) above the ground, have a surface area of about 10 acres (4 hectares), for centuries people lived here, repeatedly rebuilding their dwellings made of unfired bricks and clayey earth compressed with straw and rubble. Since this material was brittle, it could not resist the climate and the onslaughts of neighboring peoples or nomads, so the inhabitants had to continuously build new constructions over the ruined ones. This led to the creation of artificial mounds known as tepes.

Archaeologists identified 12, 15, or 18 superposed levels by digging carefully into these unique hillocks that dot the Iranian plateau, much like the tells in Mesopotamia.

One of the most amazing aspects of the culture that grew up in southeast Iran is the presence of a form of writing known as proto-Elamitic, which probably dates from the lVth millennium BC and was discovered on tablets whose inscriptions are now being studied meticulously in order to find a key to decipherment. The first tablets, discovered in Susa in 1901, consisted of about 200 pieces, and another 490 were found in 1923. In 1949 the specialists found 5,529 different signs.

Analogous tablets found at Tepe Sialk, near Kashan, have allowed scholars to consider the Iranian plateau the center of this early form of writing. Later on, the discovery of other tablets at Tepe Yahya, in the heart of the Jjroft site, proved that the cradle of this writing — like that of the chlorite sculpture — might very well be the Haul Rud region, south of Kerman.

Jiroft Ziggurat – Origin of the Concept  

An entire repertory is given over the motif of architecture, which is another amazing subject in the artistic production of this time. On cylindrical bowls, there are images of regular facades, with pilasters that form tall plinths.

The chambers with doors and windows are surmounted by flexed architraves, whose curves seem to be produced by the weight of the structure on rather feeble palm-tree trunks. However, the most striking motifs are the images of constructions in the shape of ziggurats. Many cylindrical vases have representations of an edifice with three or four gradually receding stories, which reflect the concept of the classical Mesopotamian ziggurat. This type of object is often surmounted by a pole or ‘horn,’ which according to later Babylonian texts indicates their sacred nature. Now while the decorated vases at Jiroft have been dated at 3100-2600 BC, these small ziggurats from the Persian steppes seem to be more ancient than the structures built in the Mesopotamian plain, which are similar in some respects but much more impressive.

Ziggurat of Choga Zanbil, Iran

This fact alone means that Persia was the wellspring of these ‘artificial mountains,’ the enormous stepped bases of the temples that dotted the Land of Two Rivers (the Tigris and Euphrates). It is even possible that the storied tower originally crowned the tall terrace of the tepes, thus becoming the top part of a city as well as its religious symbol and insignia of power

At this stage, mention should be made of the votive or emblematic pieces representing tall perforated images of animals (eagles, scorpions, and even men-scorpions). These objects, which were carved tablets, have engraved guilloche decoration (interlaced bands with openings containing round devices) that is animated by polychrome stones. In this case, only a function connected to power — a ‘royal’ insignia or sacred symbol of a priest — would explain the motive behind such creations, which are from 12 to 15 inches (30 to 40 cm) high and may have been used as scepters.

Surprising archaeologists find 1,000-year-old stainless steel in Iran

Surprising archaeologists find 1,000-year-old stainless steel in Iran

Stainless steel as we know it today was created in the early 20th century, in England. But researchers found evidence of the use of an alloy of iron and chromium quite similar to stainless steel – but almost a thousand years old.

Discovery, published in Journal of Archaeological Science, was made with the help of a series of manuscripts medieval Persians, who took the researchers to an archaeological site in Chahak, in southern Iran.

“This research not only provides the first known evidence of chrome steel production dating back to the 11th century AD, but it also provides a chemical tracker that can help identify similar artefacts in museums or archaeological collections since their origin in Chahak”, believes the author study, archaeologist Rahil Alipour.

Surprising archaeologists find 1,000-year-old stainless steel in Iran
Crucible remnant containing an embedded chunk of slag.

Chahak is described in a series of historical manuscripts dating from the 12th to the 19th century as a famous steelmaking centre – but its exact location has remained a mystery, as several villages in Iran bear the same name.

The manuscript “al-Jamahir fi Marifah al-Jawahir” (“A Compendium for Knowing the Gems”, dating from the 10th to the 11th centuries AD), written by the Persian polymath Abu-Rayhan Biruni, is one of those documents, which also details recipe steelmaking – but registers a mysterious ingredient called “rusakhtaj”.

Microscopic analysis of the sample collected in Chahak.

The team of archaeologists used radiocarbon dating on a series of pieces of coal recovered from the archaeological site to confirm their production as having been made between the 11th and 12th centuries AD.

Using scanning electron microscopy, the researchers identified remains of the chromite mineral, described in Biruni’s manuscript as an essential additive to the process.

The steel particles analyzed contained between 1% and 2% of chromium – therefore, they were not stainless like the modern alloys, which contain between 11% and 13% of the material.

“In a 13th-century Persian manuscript, Chahak steel was known for its fine and refined patterns, but its swords were also fragile – so they lost their market value,” explains Thilo Rehren, co-author of the study.

The researchers believe that this marks a distinct tradition of steelmaking separate from the traditional methods used in Central Asia.

“The previous evidence belongs to steelmaking centres in India, Sri Lanka, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan,” said Alipour. “None of these, however, has any trace of chrome.

This is very important, as we can now search for this element in objects and track them back to their production centre or method ”, he adds.

12000 Years Old Body Of A Anunnaki King Found Completely Intact?

12000 Years Old Body Of A Anunnaki King Found Completely Intact?

This discovery was made completely by chance in 2008, and if we know what happened is certainly thanks to the Russian media, and to the television press.

It happened in Kurdistan, Iran, a country quite closed to the world, at least in the western world, but with good relations with Russia. (Body of an Anunnaki King)

Although hidden until today, we get to know what has been published by the Russian press.

The discovery occurred in work when digging the ground to make the foundations of a house.

Then came a mausoleum containing three coffins, and after making more concise excavations, the remains of an ancient civilization and the ruins of a city were found in a layer of earth. (Body of an Anunnaki King)

Archaeologists determined that the monument and the city were built between 10,000 and 12,000 years ago, a date quickly revised by the Islamic authorities after Find publication in the Russian press.

The Iranian authorities publicly stated that the ruins were 850 years old, which obviously does not correspond to the facts and is, again, an official lie.

Of the three sarcophagi found in the mausoleum, we only have video evidence of the first two.

We know nothing of the third, nor of its content, nor of who was inside.

As you can see, it is very difficult from the video to determine the height of the individual, although they appear to be very high.

Both seem to be in a state of suspended animation. One wears a crown, suggesting that he was the ruler of the city, and was buried, as can be observed, with his sorcerer, which leads him to conclude that in the third sarcophagus he must have contained his wife Reina.

There are gold coins placed in the eyes of the king, which is a well-attested habit of antiquity. This is a first blow to the official lie that the ruins are from the twelfth century.

It can be observed that it has Caucasian features, but copper skin: the second individual sarcophagus shares these same characteristics.

It looks like they are adorned with gold and precious stones.

These ornaments carry a cuneiform script that is not identifiable but has been translated, giving the name of the second man found in the second sarcophagus and thus his magician by profession.

The royal sarcophagus seems to be clothed with gold or metal that resembles it, and near the monarch can be seen a gold casket encrusted with strange gems, just like those found adorning the king, it is said strange because they seem luminescent. (Body of an Anunnaki King)

The Yakhchāl: 2,400-Year-old Persian “refrigerator” that stored food in the desert

The Yakhchāl: 2,400-Year-old Persian “refrigerator” that stored food in the desert

Looking up inside a Yakhchal

The refrigerator is one of the most indispensable appliances of modern life. it’s almost unthinkable that a person can live with one or least have other means to keep their food refrigerated. so, imagine what if life was like during ancient times when electricity was still unheard of.

Ancients were wiser than some today belief. They had no rockets or electronics, no indisputable proof of such inventions was discovered, but they developed the technology that we don’t usually associate with the ancient world.

The yakhchal (meaning ice pit) was a type of ancient refrigerator built in the deserts of Persia (now Iran), which was made without electricity, modern coolants, or most elements of modern refrigerators. It demonstrates the ability of humans to find solutions to problems with any materials or technology they have available.

This approach to making refrigerators was mastered by Persian engineers around 400 B.C., though it is possible that people were making them before that.

Yakhchals are fairly simple to make so that even those who were relatively poor could afford them. Most yakhchals were domed structures with an underground square-shaped containment area.

Yakhchal in Yazd, Iran

After the containment area was dug and the dome was erected, a type of mortar made from clay, sand, ash, goat hair, and lime called sarooj was used to make it waterproof.

The collection area for the water needed to be deep enough to keep cool and the material out of which the yakhchal was made needed to be enough of an insulator to keep out heat.

Water was brought to the yakhchal either by directly transporting ice from nearby mountains or diverting water from an aqueduct into the yakhchal using underground water channels called qanats.

Adjacent to some yakhchals, an east-west oriented wall would be built on the south side of the refrigerator and water would be brought into the yakhchal from the north side of the wall. The reason for this was to keep the water cool during the middle of the day as it entered the yakhchal.

Another device used to keep the yakhchal cool is a badgir, a type of wind-catching mechanism which would catch the breeze and divert it down into the yakhchal.

As the air descended, it would be cooled by the ice as well as the cool air accompanying the water in the qanat. Alternatively, the badgir could be used to cause warm air to rise and cool air to replace it. This mechanism is still used in many desert towns in modern Iran.

A diagram showing how the yakhchal kept the inside refrigerated

Once in the yakhchal, the water would freeze overnight. This process could be expedited through having ice, transported from the mountains, already present in the yakhchal to act as a seed.

Once the water was frozen, it would be cut up into blocks so that the water could be easily transported out of the yakhchal for drinking and other purposes. In addition to storing drinking water, the yakhchal was also used to keep food such as fruit, dairy products, and probably meat cool so that it would last longer.

Many Yakhchals in Iran, Afghanistan, and other parts of west and central Asia are still standing even after thousands of years. They represent the remnants of ancient Persia and are a part of the cultural heritage of Iran.

A yakhchal in the Dasht-e-Kavir desert, Iran

In addition to being historically interesting, yakhchals have also been suggested as an inexpensive and sustainable way for modern Iranians and other central Asian communities to have refrigeration without requiring the use of electricity.

Theoretically, the process used to make yakhchals could also be replicated and used in other regions with climates similar to desert areas in Iran and Central Asia such as the American Southwest or parts of northwestern China. In this way, the revival of ancient technology could help modern people around the world live more sustainably and still have modern conveniences, specifically refrigeration.

Modern westerners tend to assume that conveniences like refrigeration require advanced technologies such as electricity and the ability to produce powerful coolant chemicals, but it turns out that refrigeration can be produced using surprisingly simple methods.

Inside ice house, Meybod Iran
Ancient Persian Air Conditioning

2,000-Year-Old Burials Uncovered in Iran

2,000-Year-Old Burials Uncovered in Iran

At the ancient Tepe Ashraf in Isfahan, a team of Iranian archeologists found what they call the second Parthian era skeleton (247 BC – 224 CE) hoping to offer new insights on the history of the central Iranian city.

Led by senior archeologist Alireza Jafari-Zand, the team uncovered the remains of the first ‘Parthian lady’ last month in a place they believe is likely to be an ancient cemetery.

“At a distance of 10 meters from the body of [the first] Parthian lady, we found the burial [place] of a teenage girl. She is buried in the form of an open arch and on the ground.

Skeleton of another ‘Parthian lady’ discovered in Isfahan

Evidence shows that the body belonged to a teenager of about 12 to 13 years old with a height of about 160, but unfortunately the skeleton is damaged due to high humidity,” Jafari-Zand said on Tuesday.

Talking about the new discovery, he explained “It is clear from the burial that the tomb was designed [based on a special ritual]. Next to this corpse, there was a platform on which the remains of a large broken jar and a part of a horse’s spinal cord were placed.”

However, he proposed a hypothesis that the tombs were probably opened in very distant history, IRNA reported.

“Around the burial of this teenaged Parthian girl, a stone hedge was erected and a platform was set up. Remnants of this type of platform had already been found in the Parthian lady’s grave and a blue-colored jug was placed on it.

The archaeologist believes that due to the confusion of architectural evidence and objects of these two tombs, the tombs were probably opened in very distant history,’ he explained.

Earlier this year, an ancient burial containing the remains of a horse — estimated to be four years old was found near a place where a giant jar-tomb was unearthed weeks ago, which researchers believe could shed new light on ancient human life in Isfahan.

“Tepe Ashraf is the second place after the Tepe Sialk (in Isfahan province) that has yielded the discovery of such jar tombs that offers valuable clues to uncover the obscure history of pre-Islamic Isfahan,” according to the archaeologist.

Excavations at Tepe Ashraf initially began in 2010 when Jafari-Zand announced his team found evidence at the site suggesting that the Sassanid site had also been used during the Buyid dynasty (945–1055).

“We stumbled upon a reconstructed part in the ruins of the castle, which suggests that the structure had been used during the Buyid dynasty.”

The Parthian Empire (247 BC – 224 CE), also known as the Arsacid Empire, was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran.

The Parthians largely adopted the art, architecture, religious beliefs, and royal insignia of their culturally heterogeneous empire, which encompassed Persian, Hellenistic, and regional cultures.

At its height, the Parthian Empire stretched from the northern reaches of the Euphrates, in what is now central-eastern Turkey, to eastern Iran.

Ancient 3,000-Year-Old Underground Irrigation Canals Invented By People Of Persia

Ancient 3,000-Year-Old Underground Irrigation Canals Invented By People Of Persia

The well-known Persian irrigation tunnels are considered one of the oldest technological wonders in the world and are part of the Unesco World Heritage List. The Persian Qanats named two years ago to Unesco’s World Heritage List, are one of the oldest engineering wonders worldwide.

These 3,000-year-old ingenious channels still provide a reliable water supply to some of Iran’s most arid regions, consisting of an old system of underground water sources.

Qanats began in the Iron Age when surveyors discovered that a source of water at the head of a river valley could be redirected to create tunnels that would bring the stream to where water was wanted, ultimately opening on ground level into an oasis.

Today, the qanats are known by the holes, created as air shafts to release dust and bring oxygen to workers digging the tunnels by hand, which can still be witnessed above ground.

An integral part of Iran

Iranian filmmaker Komeil Soheili has documented the Persian qanats for National Geographic. He told the publication, he believes they are an “integral part” of the landscape of his Iranian native province.

“The diversity of landscapes and cultures [in Iran] is something that’s not well understood by the world. One of the oldest civilizations in the world came from this amazing creation,” he said.

The eleven Persian qanats that constitute this impressive elaborate and orderly system also include rest areas, water reservoirs, and watermills. Building this network, however, was no easy feat.

Each qanat construction requires great precision as the angles of the tunnels’ slopes need to be at just the right degree to ensure water flows freely but not forcefully enough to aggravate erosion and collapse the tunnel. To this day, the somewhat fragile system still requires yearly maintenance and can easily fall into disrepair.

In the 1960s and 1970s, an administrative tangle saw damage come to many qanats as a result of the breakdown of their traditionally imposed communal management system. Soheili said this breach was partially due to the disappearance of communities’ reliance on the tunnels.

“People don’t depend on qanats anymore, as it was before,” he explained. Today, the underground channels are more of a “hobby” since working in the system no longer provides financial sustenance.

Vibrant lavish civilizations

Their historical and cultural impact, however, can not be denied. The irrigation tunnels were responsible for allowing civilizations and agriculture to bloom in a harsh and arid desert hostile to both.

Perhaps their most substantial effect can be witnessed in the history of the city of Persepolis located in the Fars province of south-west Iran.

The metropolis built by the Achaemenid Persians in a dry desolate and unforgiving area became one of the most vibrant cultured cities in the world still revered today for its unique palaces equipped with lavish gardens that bloomed with unparalleled beauty. 

The qanat technology also spread as far as Morocco and Spain proving its ubiquitous usefulness and appeal.

This is partially due to the fact that the system also helps lower indoor temperatures which meant it was often used as an ancient method of air conditioning and refrigeration. Talk about innovation!