Magnificent Teppe Hasanlu legal boundaries demarcated

Magnificent Teppe Hasanlu legal boundaries demarcated

Urmia hasanloo
ارومیه حسنلو

TEHRAN – Legal boundaries and properties have been finalized for Teppe Hasanlu, which is a magnificent Iron Age site in northwest Iran.

The Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts announced the exact boundaries of the site along with 14 other ones including two churches, a bridge, and a school in separate letters to the governor-general of the mountainous province, CHTN reported on Friday.

Teppe Hasanlu has so far yielded various significant relics to glimpses of ancient life in the region. Some 65 years ago, an Iranian man, named Emamqoli Mohammadi Hasanluei, unearthed a millennia-old gold bowl in the debris of a burned building.

It is here, when in 1958 archaeologists came across a layer of an Iron Age city that had been frozen in time – a ‘burn layer’ containing tens of bodies preserved in ash and rubble. Teppe Hasanlu consists of a 25m high central mound with massive fortifications which is thought to be once a citadel surrounded by paved streets and an outer town with houses, stables, and temples.

Engraved with images of gods and rituals, a stone cylinder with gold caps, a figurine of laminated ivory, and a sword-hilt with a bronze guard, the Gold Bowl of Hasanlu is named after the man who discovered it almost 3000 years later not far from a skeletal hand of an individual who had been fleeing with the piece at the end of the 9th century BC. The excavation was led by the celebrated anthropologist and archaeologist Robert H. Dyson, Jr., who shined at Iran’s archaeology scene in the mid-20th century.

In no time it became evident that the bowl epitomized a unique and significant example of the ancient goldsmith’s expertise, demonstrating a high degree of technical mastery and a wide range of ornamental motifs that were deemed to provide a key to the religious and mythological traditions of its time.

Over the years, the bowl has been discussed in countless scholarly books and articles including an analysis by Marie-Therese Barrelet (1911-1996) as one of the greatest finds of the decade. Images of the crumpled yet still dazzling bowl appeared in newspapers around the world, and scholars began publishing their interpretations of the images etched onto this magnificent artifact.

According to the Britannica Encyclopedia, Hasanlu was inhabited from about 2100 to about 825 BC, but the richest period yet excavated dates to the 10th and 9th centuries BC. The period, often called “Mannaean” after the name of the people who lived in the area, is characterized by gray pottery accompanied by black and red varieties, the black ware being of a much finer quality and probably made in imitation of metal vessels.

The Gold Bowl of Hasanlu is being kept at the National Museum of Iran in downtown Tehran.