Ancient pottery discovered in underground shelter

TEHRAN — Residents recently discovered pottery while clearing an underground shelter in northern Iran.

A clean-up project has unearthed several cultural items in an underground shelter in the northern province of Gilan, Iranian archaeologist Shahram Ramin said on Monday.

The find includes several plain and glazed pottery dating back to the Islamic era, Ramin said.

The structure is about 300 meters in the heart of a hill with the east-west axis and measures about 120 by 100 meters in a natural soil bed mainly composed of sand barely fused with silt and lime, a he explained.

The outer part and the top of the hill are flattened in the form of three platforms and on these are several thatched-roof buildings belonging to local villagers, he added.

Once archaeologists research and analyze such structures, they could attract tourists to the area, he said.

Experts say these narrow, labyrinthine underground “cities,” which were used as defensive shelters in times of war, still hold plenty of charms as destinations for domestic and foreign travelers.

Artisanal troglodyte architecture is a particular method, which does not require major construction materials and therefore a very low environmental load since its creation is mainly done by extracting space rather than adding mass. Architecture by subtraction rather than addition offers many opportunities that require extensive research and analysis.

Since there is no compulsory method to make spaces rather than material cohesion, there is no priority in the construction of a troglodyte structure, whether by the roof or by the ground. Processing boulders, rocks, and piles of dirt requires a variety of tools such as an axe, hammer, chisel, and sledgehammer to shape the interior space.

Based on academic findings, the creation of handmade cave architectural sites depends on several factors, including climatic and geographical conditions, defense, security, sustainability and religion, which were deeply related to cultural, political circumstances. , social and economic. This architecture can be classified into different formal types in terms of exterior form, interior space and function (religious, tombs, residential and shelter).

In Iran, many magnificent cases of this architecture have taken place in different regions due to its different climates. This unique architecture is in contradiction with conventional settlement patterns and construction methods, and can still take advantage of mountains and valleys on the ground or wall, which is a good way to control climatic fluctuations in different regions.


Bonny J. Streater