Shahr e Sokhta yields Rare 4000 year old Relics

The article “Shahr e Sokhta yields rare 4000 year old relics” was reported in Payvand News on December 28, 2018. Readers are also referred to the articles below (pertaining to Shahr e Sokhta or “Burnt City”) in Kavehfarrokh.com archived in the section entitled “The Pre-Achaemenid Era“:

======================================================================================

Iran’s UNESCO-registered Shahr-e Sokhta has yielded tens of rare relics which date back to over 4000 years ago, as reported by IRNA. Senior archaeologist Seyyed Mansour Seyyed Sajjadi who led the site’s 17th archaeological season, avers as follows:

“A total of 26 burial chambers have been unearthed recently that led to discovery of potteries, beads, small metal objects and a piece of marble torch … The excavated objects date from a time span between 4800 to 4200 years ago … Significant part of our research in Shahr-e Sokhta deals with studies in botanical archeology and anthropology …”

Shahr-e Sokhta, meaning ‘Burnt City’, is located at the junction of Bronze Age trade routes crossing the Iranian plateau. The remains of the mudbrick city represent the emergence of the first complex societies in eastern Iran.

Excavation of tiles at Shahr e Sokhta (Source: Payvand News).

Founded around 3200 BC, it was populated during four main periods up to 1800 BC, during which time there developed several distinct areas within the city: those where monuments were built, and separate quarters for housing, burial and manufacture.

Excavation of artifacts (small jars or vases) at Shahr e Sokhta (Source: Payvand News).

According to UNESCO, diversions in water courses and climate change led to the eventual abandonment of the city in the early second millennium. The structures, burial grounds and large number of significant artefacts unearthed there, and their well-preserved state due to the dry desert climate, make this site a rich source of information regarding the emergence of complex societies and contacts between them in the third millennium BC.

Persian Scholar Ibn Sina first came up with idea of Quarantine

The article “Muslim scholar Ibn Sina first came up with idea of quarantine” was originally posted by Rasia Hashmi in Pakistan’s Siasat News outlet on April 06, 2020. As noted by Hashmi:

Ibn Sina was a Persian polymath who is regarded as one of the most significant physicians, astronomers, thinkers and writers of the Islamic Golden Age, and the father of early modern medicine

Kindly note that excepting one video, all other images and accompanying captions do not appear in the original posting in Siasat News. Readers are also invited to consult the following article on Ibn Sina …

Ibn Sina, Persian Polymath and Physician, Never Demanded Money from his Patients

For more on these topics consult …

Contributions to Learning, Science, Knowledge, Technology & Medicine

========================================================================================

It was the Persian scholar of medicine, Ibn Sina (980-1037) who first came up with the idea of quarantine to prevent spread of diseases. He suspected that some diseases were spread by microorganisms; to prevent human-to-human contamination, he came up with the method of isolating people for 40 days. He called this method al-Arba’iniya (“the forty”).

Hence, the origin of the methods currently being used in much of the world to fight pandemics have their origins in the Islamic world.

Ibn Sina is also known as Abu Ali Sina and often known in the west as Avicenna. He was a Persian polymath who is regarded as one of the most significant physicians, astronomers, thinkers and writers of the Islamic Golden Age, and the father of early modern medicine.

In the article ‘Ibn Sina: An Exemplary Scientist’ published in ‘the fountain’ authors Ihsan Ali / Ahmet Guclu quoted, Richard Colgan’s book ‘Advice to the Young Physician’ published from New York, in which the author wrote: “Ibn Sina (known as Avicenna in Latin and in the West) in his masterpiece The Canon of Medicine (United States National Library of Medicine, MS A 53) states that “Body secretions of a host organism (e.g., human being) are contaminated by tainted foreign organisms that are not visible by naked eye before the infection.” Let’s paraphrase this millennium-old statement as “Infections are caused by the contamination of body secretions of host organisms by foreign tainted microorganisms.” It is quite impressive that this definition is almost the same definition we use today for infections and more importantly that Ibn Sina hypothesized on the existence of microorganisms. Ibn Sina went even further to hypothesize that microbial diseases (e.g. tuberculosis) could be contagious and that those who are infected should be quarantined. Let’s briefly review the discovery of microorganisms and be further astonished with the intuition and vision of the “Father of Early Modern Medicine”.

A medieval portrait of Ibn Sina (Avicenna) (980-1037) drafted in c.1271, currently housed in the Bibliothèque interuniversitaire de santé in Paris (Image: Public Domain).

The authors further quoted Robert Koch’s book ‘A Life in Medicine and Bacteriology’ published from Washington, D.C. which read: “In the seventeenth century, nearly seven centuries after Ibn Sina, the Dutch scientist Anton van Leeuwenhoek (also referred to as the “Father of Microbiology”) observed microorganisms under a microscope (van Leeuwenhoek 1980). With his fundamental discovery, he showed that there were living organisms that were not visible to the naked eye. What van Leeuwenhoek did not realize was that these microorganisms (e.g. pathogen: a disease causing microbe) could actually be the cause of infections. This is contrary to the discoveries made by Ibn Sina seven centuries earlier that microorganisms could be the cause of infections despite the extremely limited evidence for the existence of microorganisms at the time. Nearly two centuries after Leeuwenhoek’s first observation of microorganisms, in 1876, Robert Koch, a German physician, postulated that microorganisms could actually be the cause of infection and therefore disease by his fundamental observation that the blood of an infected animal that contained pathogenic bacteria that, when transferred to a healthy animal caused the recipient animal to become sick.”

The first page of Avicenna’s Canon, in a manuscript dated to c. 1596/7, currently housed in Yale University, Medical Historical Library, Cushing Arabic ms. 5) (Image: Public Domain).

Ibn Sina’s gigantic medical encyclopedia al-Qanun fi al-Tibb (The Canon of Medicine), comprising of upwards of a million words, has been used as the standard medical textbook up until the seventeenth century and is still widely considered a valuable resource for the study of medicine.

UNESCO: The Parthian Fortresses of Nysa

The article Parthian Fortresses of Nysa” was originally posted by UNESCO. The photographs inserted below are from the Meros.org venue, with the descriptive captions and map of the Parthian Empire provided by Kavehfarrokh.com. The version printed below has also been slightly edited.

====================================================

Nisa was the capital of the Parthian Empire, which dominated this region of central Asia from the mid 3rd century BCE to the early 3rd century CE. As such it formed a barrier to Roman expansion, whilst at the same time serving as an important communications and trading centre, at the crossroads of north-south and east-west routes. Its political and economic power is well illustrated by the surviving remains, which underline the interaction between central Asian and Mediterranean cultures.

Map of the Parthian Empire in 44 BCE to 138 CE (Picture source: Farrokh, page 155, Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War-Персы: Армия великих царей-سایه‌های صحرا). See also Military History and Armies of the Parthians

The Parthian Fortresses of Nisa consist of two tells of Old and New Nisa, indicating the site of one of the earliest and most important cities of the Parthian Empire, a major power from the mid 3rd century BC to the 3rd century AD. They conserve the unexcavated remains of an ancient civilization which skillfully combined its own traditional cultural elements with those of the Hellenistic and Roman west. Archaeological excavations in two parts of the site have revealed richly decorated architecture, illustrative of domestic, state and religious functions. Situated at the crossroads of important commercial and strategic axes, this powerful empire formed a barrier to Roman expansion while serving as an important communication and trading centre between east and west, north and south.

A close-up of one of the sections of Nysa’s enduring Parthian system of architecture (Meros.org).

UNESCO Criteria

Criterion (ii): Nisa is situated at the crossroads of important commercial and strategic axes. The archaeological remains vividly illustrate the significant interaction of cultural influences from central Asia and from the Mediterranean world.

Criterion (iii): The Parthian Empire was one of the most powerful and influential civilizations of the ancient world, and a brilliant rival of Rome which prevented the expansion of the Roman Empire to the east. Nisa, the capital of the Parthian Empire, is the outstanding symbol of the significance of this imperial power.

A walled structure of one the chambers at Nysa(Meros.org). Later Sassanian architecture would also display especially thick walls and depending on the region, either bricks or stones could be used in their construction. For more on Parthian and Sassanian military architecture, consult Chapter 13 “Military Architecture”  in Armies of Ancient Persia: The Sassanians (2017).

The integrity and authenticity of the property, and also of the surrounding landscape, in terms of the size of the two tells and the siting of the capital at the foot of the Kopet-Dag mountains, are unquestionable. The two tells do not in any sense represent the original appearance of the Parthian capital, but their present appearance is due solely to natural erosion.

A meandering pathway towards a Nysa structure(Meros.org).

The site is gazetted as one of the 1,300 historical and cultural monuments of Turkmenistan. Nisa is also one of the eight State Historical and Cultural Parks (SHCP) that have been created to protect the most significant sites in Turkmenistan. A buffer zone has been established. The property comes within the provisions of the Bagyr town development plan. Serious efforts are still needed to set up an efficient preventive maintenance scheme that will ensure the survival of recently excavated parts of the site. A five-year plan has been formulated for 2006-2010, in order to ensure a better balance between the different activities (e.g. archaeology vis-à-vis conservation) and to combine and harmonize all the existing documents and strategies relating to the site.