year 6, Issue 22 (2-2023)                   Parseh J Archaeol Stud 2023, 6(22): 113-159 | Back to browse issues page

XML Persian Abstract Print

Download citation:
BibTeX | RIS | EndNote | Medlars | ProCite | Reference Manager | RefWorks
Send citation to:

Mohammadifar Y, Karami H R. (2023). Achaemenid Water Structures in the Catchment Area of Pelvar River - Pasargad District. Parseh J Archaeol Stud. 6(22), : 5 doi:10.30699/PJAS.6.22.113
URL: http://journal.richt.ir/mbp/article-1-848-en.html
1- Professor, Department of Archeology, Faculty of Art and Architecture, Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran , mohamadifar@basu.ac.ir
2- PhD Student in Archeology, Department of Archeology, Faculty of Art and Architecture, Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamedan, Iran.
Abstract:   (492 Views)
Providing water for the inhabitants of the plateau of Iran, which is located in the arid and semi-arid region of the earth, has always been one of the most important challenges for the its people since the beginning of the formation of the first dynasties and establishing the first irrigation systems. Low rainfall climate has caused the Iranian people to innovate different techniques to provide water for agriculture activities permanently.  Iranians are considered as the main creators of Kariz (subground aqueduct) as one of the most practical methods of exploiting underground water resources. Exploitation of running water resources by construction of dams on rivers and springs and the creation of canals is another method rooted in the history of the civilizations of the west Asia for supplying more sustainable water for the agricultural and industrial functions. In the specific and under investigation area of the Pulvar River, where the Achaemenid capital of Pasargadae is located, there are some of the ancient water structures including dams, artificial waterways, canals, extensive water reservoirs and springs. Of theses the dams are mostly built on the tributaries of the Pulvar River, and the water supplying canals are located below them.  Such complex structures have been built in the plains and districts surrounding Pasargadae such as Didegan, Murghab, Sarpiran, Kamin and Arsanjan. The present investigation briefly introduces these water structures and the techniques they were made in the Achaemenid period in the cultural landscape of Pasargadae. The results of this research are based on the studying historical documents and field studies of the past decades by historians and archaeologists, as well as field surveys by the author during the recent years in an area of nearly 16,000 square kilometers. The results of this research are amazing and very impressive. These extensive water systems, with the tact and intelligence of Achaemenid managers and engineers, have supplied water to all the plains and mountain valleys of the Pasargadae region. Villages and public settlements, gardens, agricultural lands, government buildings and centers, and finally the Royal Paradise of Cyrus the Great used of the benefits of water supply structures. In the construction of the dams, clay materials and ashlar or carved stone masonries have been applied, and some of them also have architectural structures with cut stone blocks. Waterways are also created in several ways on the slopes of hills and rocks.  Studies and researches show that the construction of water structures in the study area began during the reign of Cyrus the Great and expanded during the reign of Darius the Great and continued to develop until the end of the Achaemenid period. This method of exploiting surface of sub ground water resources continues to post-Achaemenid periods, especially in the Sassanid era and continues till modern times.
Keywords: Historical Dams, Achaemenid Architecture, Ancient Irrigation, Pasargadae, Achaemenid Empire.

It is for the first time that in this era, a tremendous transformation in Iranian architecture occurred by mixing the traditions of architecture and art with the traditions of other nations that came under the umbrella of the Achaemenid government. The builders of Pasargad, in order to establish a new capital that can have a correct concept of a powerful and magnificent government center and also bring the comfort of its residents, beyond the plain of Pasargad, investigated and assessed the feasibility of all the surrounding plains , and after That Pasargad was designed and built What can be concluded from these structures is that Pasargad was not limited to the complex of royal buildings whose remains remain in the center of the Pasargad plain, and it correctly had the concept of an official and advanced capital. A wide range of infrastructures that a government center like Pasargad needs has been identified in a wide area of Pasargad plain and the surrounding plains, which is a proof of how Pasargad was built and founded. An important part of the aforementioned infrastructures is the vast collection of water structures that were designed and built in the ancient territory of Pasargad. One of the most important plans of the Achaemenid government was to deal with the water issue, which the Shah and the administrative organization had taken over the management of (Brian, 1985: 1985). In the upcoming research, an attempt has been made to introduce the Achaemenid water structures of Pasargad region and its impact on the construction and development of Pasargad. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Pasargad World Heritage Site also conducted a field survey in the Pasargad Plain and the surrounding plains (Karami and Zarei 2015), and in this research, several dams and extensive water supply networks were identified (Map 1). In the fall of 2019, from the first season of the exploration of Didegan Dam (Bostan Khani) was done and parts of the architectural structure of the dam and its wall and foundation were explored and researched, which resulted in valuable results (Karami, 2019, unpublished).

Introduction of Water Structures and Their Function
The extent and variety of Achaemenid works and sites in the territory of the Achaemenid Empire shows the intelligence and management ability of the Achaemenid government in the administration of the country in all fields, looking at the capabilities of the territory and the environment and paying attention to the culture and social capital of the various regions of the empire, which can be seen in He searched for historical documents and remains of Achaemenid works and sites.

The Effort to Manage the Country is More Visible in the Important Achaemenid Centers
In Pasargad, which is our focus in this research, various aspects of art and culture, architecture, government infrastructure, engineering and public settlements have been revealed and can clarify some of the unknowns. Whenever the name of Pasargad is mentioned, the collection of royal buildings and especially the tomb of Cyrus, the founder of the Achaemenid Empire, is remembered in our thoughts. But the Achaemenid capital of Pasargad is much wider and beyond the current area What we see today is the result of the knowledge and efforts that the engineers and builders of Pasargad have applied in a wide area of this area and have created a set of structures and infrastructures that meet the needs of the ruling center of Pasargad. One of the most important remaining infrastructures is the set of water structures that were created in the ancient landscape of Pasargad in several plains centered on Pasargad. However, metal and building stone quarries, metal smelting workshops, road networks, bridges, security checkpoints and support centers are other parts of the infrastructure works in Pasargad (Karami & Zarei, 2015). The concept of the ancient landscape of Pasargad can be considered for all the hills and heights around Pasargad, where the Achaemenid works and sites are directly related to the government site of Pasargad. The extent of this ancient area can be considered to be nearly 16,000 square kilometers based on archaeological surveys and researches, which according to country divisions includes the cities of Euclid, Khorrambid, Bowanat, Sarchehan, Pasargad, Arsanjan and Maroodasht from north to south.Pelvar River is the only permanent river in this area, the formation of settlement patterns of the first settlements from the Middle Paleolithic period until now is dependent on this river (Map 2).

The historical water structures of Pasargad and Persepolis are among the most prominent and valuable works left over from the Achaemenid era, which are located in the Bakhtegan and Tashk watersheds. The two main catchment rivers, Pelvar and Kor, form one of the basins in which the water from the rains in the highlands and plains flows into them in the form of flowing water and under the surface.  Due to the presence of two important Achaemenid centers of Pasargad and Persepolis in this basin and the need to provide water for them in the headwaters of these rivers, especially the Pelvar River, several reservoirs and diversion dams have been built with the aim of exploiting surface water resources And extensive waterways and water supply networks have also been established These structures include dams, waterways and water distribution networks, springs and reservoirs, and stone architectural structures for water distribution. The embankments are made of earth in the form of a hard clay core and a shell of stone debris and are mostly built on the heads of the branches, and the water roads are also on the slopes of Mahori hills and rocks and in the middle of the plains with two methods of accumulating soil and stone debris and excavating And the cutting of rocks has been created It seems that the Achaemenid engineers have selected the best and most efficient places for the construction of dams after investigating and studying the field of this basin. The mouth of mountain gorges through which seasonal rivers pass is the best place to build a dam Because the stone body of the valleys makes the dams stable and durable, and it has been easier and more reliable to contain and store the floods in the sub-branches. Due to the extent and shape of the catchment of this basin, the Pelvar river floods during rains and a large amount of water enters it, and it was not possible to control it for the Achaemenid engineers considering the facilities and technology of that era. Therefore, the best option for flood control is the construction of dams at the head of the branches and tributaries of Pelvar Also, it is easier to transfer the dams built at the head of the branches, which are located at a higher place than the plains and flat lands, and most of the downstream parts have benefited from the stored water. Apart from curbing seasonal floods, supplying water to settlements and residential areas, agricultural lands and gardens, providing water to Pasargad government grounds and especially Shahi Campus, as well as industrial uses and mills, are among the goals of building this vast complex of There have been water structures in this area The history of the construction of this set of water structures is related to the Achaemenid period, which, based on researches and archaeological documents, started from the beginning of the Achaemenid period and with the reign of Cyrus and expanded during the reign of Darius and was developed, maintained and exploited until the end of the Achaemenid period.
Article number: 5
Full-Text [PDF 3099 kb]   (122 Downloads)    
Type of Study: Research | Subject: Special Archeology
Received: 2022/08/5 | Accepted: 2022/10/8 | Published: 2023/02/20

1. - ابن‌بلخی، (1384). فارسنامه. تهران: اساطیر.
2. - استروناخ، دیوید، (1379). پاسارگاد گزارشی از کاوش‌های انجام شده توسط مؤسسه مطالعات ایرانی بریتانیا از سال 1961 تا 1963. ترجمۀ حمید خطیب شهیدی، تهران: انتشارات سازمان میراث فرهنگی کشور.
3. - استروناخ، دیوید، (1366). «شکل‌گیری باغ سلطنتی پاسارگاد و تأثیر آن در باغ‌سازی ایرانی». ترجمۀ کامیار عبدی، مجلۀ اثر، 22 و 23: 75- 54.
4. - اسدی، احمدعلی؛ و بوشارلا، رمی، (1388). گزارش دومین و آخرین فصل کاوش نجات‌بخشی سد شهید آباد. آرشیو پایگاه میراث جهانی پاسارگاد.
5. - اسکولد، ایوانچیک؛ و لیچلی، واختانگ، (1397). فرهنگ هخامنشی و سنت‌های محلی در آناتولی، قفقاز جنوبی و ایران. ترجمۀ شاهین آریامنش، تهران: پژوهشگاه میراث‌فرهنگی و گردشگری، آریارمنا.
6. - بریان، پیر؛ و بوشارلا، رمی، (1392). باستان‌شناسی امپراتوری هخامنشی. ترجمۀ سید محمدامین امامی، علی‌اکبر وحدتی و محمود بهفروزی، تهران: کتاب پارسه.
7. - بریان، پیر، (1380). امپراتوری هخامنشی. ترجمۀ ناهید فروغان، تهران: نشر و پژوهش فرزان روز- نشر فطره.
8. - زارعی‌کردشولی، فرهاد؛ و محمدی، اکبر، (1396). یافته‌های محوطه میان جاده‌ای پاسارگاد شواهدی بر شار پارسی یا اردوگاه پارسی. پاسارگاد 1، تهران: کتاب بهار.
9. - زارعی‌کردشولی، فرهاد، (1383). «بررسی باستان‌شناسی تنگ‌بلاغی پاسارگاد». آرشیو پایگاه میراث جهانی پاسارگاد، (منتشر نشده).
10. - سامی، علی، (1338). پاسارگاد قدیمی‌ترین پایتخت شاهنشاهی هخامنشی. شیراز: اداره کل فرهنگ و هنر استان فارس.
11. - سایکس، سر پرسی، (1391). تاریخ ایران. ترجمۀ سید محمدتقی فخر دائی گیلانی، تهران: نگاه.
12. - سید سجادی، سید منصور، (1398). دهانه غلامان: شهری هخامنشی در جنوب شرقی ایران. تهران: آریارمنا.
13. - عسکری‌چاوردی، علیرضا و کلیری، پیرفرانچسکو، (1385). «گزارش کاوش محوطه 75 و 76 تنگ‌بلاغی». آرشیو پایگاه میراث جهانی پاسارگاد.
14. - عطایی، محمدتقی؛ و بوشارلا،‌رمی، (1385). «گزارش کاوش محوطه 34 تنگ‌بلاغی». آرشیو پایگاه میراث جهانی پاسارگاد.
15. - کرمی، حمیدرضا؛ و طالبیان، محمدحسن، (1392). «مدیریت آب منطقۀ پاسارگاد در دورۀ هخامنشی». پژوهش‌های باستان‌شناسی مدرس، 5 و 6 (10 و 11): 242-216.
16. - کرمی، حمیدرضا؛ و زارعی‌کردشولی، فرهاد، (1395). «بررسی باستان‌شناسی شهرستان پاسارگاد و بخش مشهد مرغاب». آرشیو پایگاه میراث جهانی پاسارگاد، (منتشر نشده).
17. - کرمی، حمیدرضا؛ و زارعی‌کردشولی، فرهاد، (1396). سد قوسی تنگ آسیاب ارسنجان نمونه‌ای از مهندسی سدسازی هخامنشی. پاسارگاد 2، تهران: کتاب بهار.
18. - کرمی، حمیدرضا و زارعی‌کردشولی، فرهاد، (1396). نگاهی نو به پردیس پاسارگاد. پاسارگاد 1، تهران: کتاب بهار.
19. - کرمی، حمیدرضا، (1399). «کاوش باستان‌شناسی بند هخامنشی دیدگان(بستان‌خانی)». آرشیو پایگاه میراث جهانی پاسارگاد، (منتشر نشده).
20. - کریمیان،حسن؛ سرفراز، علی‌اکبر؛ و ابراهیمی، نصراله، (1389). «بازیابی کاخ های هخامنشیان در برازجان با اتکاء به داده های باستانشناسی». باغ نظر، 7 (14): 45-58.
21. - نیکول، ماری‌بی، (1393). بندهای باستانی دره درودزن. ترجمۀ محمدجعفر ملک‌زاده، شیراز: نوید.
23. - Ibn Balkhi, (1384). Farsnameh. Tehran: Asatir.
24. - Asadi, A. A. & Boucharella, R., (2008). “The report of the second and last chapter of the rescue exploration of Shahid Abad dam”. Archive of Pasargad World Heritage Site (in Persian).
25. - Askarichavardi, A. & Cleary, P., (2006). “Exploration report of area 75 and 76 Tang-balaghi”. Archive of Pasargad World Heritage Site (in Persian).
26. - Atai, M. T. & Bousharla, R., (2015). “Exploration report of the area 34 Tangbalaghi”. Ar-chive of Pasargad World Heritage Site (in Persian).
27. - Bergner, K., (1937). “Bericht Uber Unbekannte Achaemenidische Ruinen in der Ebene von Persepolis”. in: Archaeologische Mitteilungen aus Iran, 8: 1-4.
28. - Brian, P. & Boucharella, R., (2012). Archeology of the Achaemenid Empire. Translated by: Seyyed Mohammad Amin Emami, Ali Akbar Vahdati and Mahmoud Behfrozi, Tehran: Kitab Parse (in Persian).
29. - Brian, P., (2008). Achaemenid Empire. Translated by: Nahid Foroughan, Tehran: Farzan Rouz Publishing and Research - Fitra publishing house (in Persian).
30. - De Schacht, T.; De Dapper, M.; Asadi, A.; Ubelman, Y. & Boucharlat, R., (2012). Geoarchaeological study of the achaemenid dam of the Sad- i Didegan (Fars – Iran). Geomorphologie.
31. - Herzfeld, E., (1928). Excavation of Pasargadae. Smithsonian Institution.
32. - Javad, J. & Thomalsky, J., (2016). “The Iranian-German Tappe Rivi Project (TRP), North Khorasan: Report on the 2016 and 2017 fieldworks”. Amit, 48, 77-120.
33. - Kaim, B.; Asadi, A. & Heidari, R., (2007). “Irano- Polish Excavation at site No. 64 at Tang–e Boulaghi”. in: Archaeological Reports 7(2), on the Occasion of The 9th Annual Symposium on Iranian Archaeology, Tehran: Research center for ICHHTO: 69–96.
34. - Karimian, H.; Sarfraz, A. A. & Ebrahimi, N., (1389). “Recovery of Achaemenid palaces in Brazjan by relying on archaeological data”. Bagh Nazar, 7 (14): 45-58 (in Persian).
35. - Karami, H. R. & Zarei Kordshuli, F., (2016). A new look at the Pasargad campus. Pasargad 1, Tehran: Kitab Bahar (in Persian).
36. - Karami, H., (2019). “Archaeological exploration of the Achaemenid dam of Didegan (Bostankhani)”. Archive of Pasargad World Heritage Site, (Unpublished), (in Persian).
37. - Karami, H. & Talibian, M. H., (2012). “Water management of Pasargad region in Achaemenid period”. Modares Archaeological Researches, 5 & 6 (10 & 11): pp: 216-242 (in Persian).
38. - Karami, H. & Zarei Kordshuli, F., (2015). “Archaeological survey of Pasargad city and Mash-had-Morghab district”. Archive of Pasargad World Heritage Site, (unpublished), (in Persian).
39. - Karami, H. & Zarei Kordshuli, F., (2016). The narrow arch dam of Arsanjan Mill is an example of Achaemenid dam engineering. Pasargad 2, Tehran: Kitab Bahar (in Persian).
40. - Kleiss W., (1987). “Staudämme bei Qaderabad (Fars) und südwestlich von Kashan”. Archäologische Mitteilungen aus Iran, 20: 89-106.
41. - Kleiss W., (1988). “Achaemenidische Staudämme in Fars”. Archäologische Mitteilungen aus Iran, 21: 63-68.
42. - Kleiss W., (1991). “Wasserschutzdämme und Kanalbauten in der Umgebung von Pasargadae”. Archäologische Mitteilungen aus Iran, 25: 23-30.
43. - Kleiss W., (1992). “Dammbauten aus Achaemenidischer und Sassanidischer Zeit in der Provinz Fars”. Archäologische Mitteilungen aus Iran, 25: 131-145.
44. - Kleiss W., (2000). “Achaemenidische Wasserbauten”. In: Matthiae P., Enea A., Peyronel L., Pinnock F. (Eds.) Proceedings of the First International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East. Rome, May 18th-23rd 1998, Vol. 1. Dipartimento di scienze storiche, archeologiche e antropologiche dell’antichità, Rome: 753-760.
45. - Kleiss, W., (1982). “Safavidische Staudämme bei Saveh und Qom”. Archäologische Mitteilungen aus Iran, 15: 361-374.
46. - Kleiss, W., (1991). “Wasserschutzdamme und kanalbauten in umgebung von,Pasargadae”. Archaologische Mitteilungen aus Iran, 24: 23-30.
47. - Nicole, M., (2013). The ancient dams of Darudzn valley. Translated by: Mohammad Jaafar Malekzadeh, Shiraz: Navid (in Persian).
48. - Nylander, C., (1965). “Old Persian and Greek stonecutting and the chronology of Achaemenian monuments: Achaemenian problems I”. American Journal of Archaeology, 69: 49-55.
49. - Nylander, C., (1966a). “Clamps and chronology (Achaemenid problems II)”. Iranica Antiqua, 6: 130-146.
50. - Nylander, C., (1966b). “The toothed chisel in Pasargadae: Further notes on old Persian stonecutting”. American Journal of Archaeology, 70: 373-376.
51. - Nylander, C., (1970). Ionians in Pasargadae. Studies in old Persian architecture. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis Boreas 1, Universitetetbiblioteket Uppsala, Uppsala, 176 p.
52. - Sami, A., (1338). Pasargad is the oldest capital of the Achaemenid Empire. Shiraz: General Department of Culture and Art of Fars Province (in Persian).
53. - Sebastien, G.; Mohammadkhani, K.; Farjamirad, M.; Ibnoeirida, N.; ZareKordshouli, F.; Karami, H. R. & Laisney, D., (2018). Field Report on the 2015 Current Archaeological Work of the Joint Iran-French Project on Pasargadae and its Territory. Iranian Heritage Studies, Vol. 1, Shahid Beheshti University.
54. - Seyed Sajjadi, S. M., (2018). Dahane Gholaman: an Achaemenid city in the southeast of Iran. Tehran: Aryarmana (in Persian).
55. - Skold, I. & Litchley, V., (2017). Achaemenid culture and local traditions in Anatolia, South Caucasus and Iran. Translated by Shahin Aryamnesh, Tehran: Research Institute of Cultural Heritage and Tourism, Aryarmena (in Persian).
56. - Stronach, D., (1366). “Formation of Pasargad Royal Garden and its influence on Iranian gardening”. Translated by: Kamiyar Abdi, Journal of Art, 22 23: 54-75 (in Persian).
57. - Stronach, D., (1379). Pasargad, a report of the excavations carried out by the British Institute of Iranian Studies from 1961 to 1963. Translated by Hamid Khatib Shahidi, Tehran: Publications of the Country’s Cultural Heritage Organization (in Persian).
58. - Sykes, S. P., (1391). History of Iran. Translated by Seyyed Mohammad Taqi Fakhr Dai Gilani, Tehran: Negah (in Persian).
59. - Whitcomb, D. S., (1985). Before the roses and nightingales. Excavtions at Qasr-i Abu Nasr, Old Shiraz. New York,The Mettopolitan Museum of Art.
60. - Zarei Kordshuli, F., (1383). “Archaeological Survey of Pasargad Tang Balaghi”. Archive of Pasargad World Heritage Site, (unpublished), (in Persian).
61. - Zarei Kordshuli, F. & Mohammadi, A., (2016). The findings of Pasargad crossroads are evidences of the Persian influx or the Persian camp. Pasargad 1, Tehran: Kitab Bahar (in Persian).

Add your comments about this article : Your username or Email:

Send email to the article author

Rights and permissions
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.