Pasargadae: New Research and Restoration Project

First Name: 
Last Name: 
Institutional Affiliation : 
Assistant Curator of Ancient Iranian and Near Eastern Arts at Los Angeles County Museum
Academic Bio: 
Ali Mousavi was born in Tehran, Iran in 1967. His elementary and secondary education was in Tehran, Iran. Mousavi studied in Lyon, France, and took his B.A. in Art History, and his M.A. in Ancient History and Archaeology from the University of Lyon. He came to the United States as the first Guitty Azarpay Fellow, and obtained his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2005. His interests range from the archaeology of second millennium B.C. in Iran to Achaemenid architecture and archaeology as well as late Medieval art and archaeology in Iran and Europe. He has been Assistant Curator of Ancient Iranian and Near EasternArts at Los Angeles County Museum since 2006. He is the field director of the Restoration and Research, the Zendan-e Suleiman Monument at Pasargadae.

The ruined monument which appears as a tall tower to the north of the palace area is known under the name of Zendan-e Soleyman or the ("Prison of Solomon"). The monument is severely damaged, and its study relies largely on the very similar building called the Ka'beh Zardusht at Naqsh-e Rostam. The Zendan rises to a height of 14 m, and consisted of a square stone tower capped with a pyramidal roof, which was buttressed at the corners with three rows of false windows on three sides of the building in a manner that is very similar to the design of the better preserved Ka'beh Zardusht.
It seems now necessary that a thorough reinvestigation and restoration work be carried out at the Zendan with the objective of the permanent consolidation of the monument, and its scientific restoration that may fulfill a double-goal: a better understanding of the monuments and its different architectural features; the appropriate restoration of the edifice. The initial step was taken during two seasons in the summer and autumn 2006. A second season of work is now scheduled for the fall 2009.
 Recent archaeological investigations at the site show that this enigmatic monument can be better understood in its full archaeological context. The surroundings of the building are dotted with a number of features and structures, the exploration of which will reveal significant evidence that may elucidate questions regarding the function of the monument.

Academic Discipline : 
Archaeology - Ancient Iran
Time Period : 
Up to the 9th century

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