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Wednesday 29 October 2003, by Raham ASHA

By refers to Kul-e-Farah and Eshkaft-e-Salman cuneiform inscriptions, seems the name of Izeh in Elamit period was Ayapir and sometimes Ayatem. It appears by documents that at Neo-Elamit period, a local monarch whose name was Hani, at the same time of Shutruk-Nahunteh (the second)’s reign, has ruled at Izeh. It is important to mention that before.


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Fig. 1 — Cemetery
An old Baxtiyâri cemetery with stone lions standing over the graves of the heroes, Izeh.

W. Samner’s excavations at Tal-e-Maliyan in Fars province close to Perspolis, Izeh was known as Anshan. The exact name of Izeh after Elamit period until the entrance of Islam is unclear but as there are a lot of Elymaian rock relieves and some scattered sites, also because their land has mentioned in classical Greco-Roman texts as “Elymaid” or “Elymaian”; it is possible to accept this Greek title for Izeh at their rule time. With regard to Islamic texts, the Moslems by Abdollah-Ebn-e-Amer’s leading could overcome Izeh after capturing Ramhormoz; since then, with replacement of Persian “h” to Arabic “j” and as Arabs can’t pronounce Persian “z” , they called this town Idhaj. At culmination of the local dynasty of Lor Atabakan the greats (Atabakan-e-Lor-e-Bozorg) it was called Malamir or Malmir (king’s house or capital ); this name has been used until 1935 but after that with government’s approval, changed again as it’s present name to Izeh; however it’s sometimes called as Izeh-Malmir.

Izeh is an ancient town located at the northeast of Ahwaz (the centre of Suzutan province), it takes approximately 210 km from Ahwaz to Izeh by passing Ramhormoz and Baghemalek.

This town is situated at the middle of Zagros mountainous chain at the centre of one ancient route which reached from Xuzestan plain to the central plateau of Iran by Isfahan. As Izeh has two different climatic sorts; cold at the North and warm at the South; and because of the shortage of agricultural fields also based on it’s suitable environment for animal husbandry, one special immigrant group that known as Baxtiari Tribes, has formed it’s main dwellings since early times. These tribes used Izeh as a liberal land for feeding their animal flocks through moving toward the North and South.

Baxtiari, known as one of the oldest Iranian dwellings, are composed of Haftlangs and Chaharlangs.

Today, these nomads (Baxtiaries) which had used to live as immigrants, based on the new provincial divisions, continue their life as normal villagers in one place at some provinces such as Lorestan, Xuzestan, Kohkiluye-o-Boyer-Ahmad, Chaharmahal-o-Baxtiari and Isfahan.

The oval shape plain of Izeh is surrounded by high mountains and as there are two lakes and some springs at their foots, this land has provided suitable life conditions from the early times.

Eshkafts (rock shelters) of Izeh Mountains have been the earliest human settlements from 20,000 years ago up to resent.

This ancient town has the biggest gathered collection of archaeological sites and monuments, for instance, Sabz-Ali and Zebarjad-Tepes which refer to Zarzian period [1] and the rock relief galleries which show special religious sconces.

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Fig. 2 — Xong-e Axhdar

The oldest Iranian rock relieves have been carved on the slope of Izeh mountains which are related to Early-Elamit period (20th century B.C.), the rock carvings of Shahsavar, Xong-e-Axhdar (Fig. 1) and Kul-e-Farah (Fig. 2) compose this carving group.

Another group which has more variety is related to Neo-Elamit period (12 centuries later) and consists of Eshkaft-e-Salman and Kul-e-Farah relieves. The last group of carvings includes some relieves which are contemporaneous with Seleucid-Parthian period [2].

The first traveller who has mentioned in his notes to ancient monuments of Izeh is English A.H. Layard. When Layard at 1841-1842 came to this region, Mohammad-Taqi Xan-e-Chaharlang were preparing a group of Baxtiari armies which was one of the great dangers for the central power of Qajars at Tehran , but opposed these difficulties. Layard continued his golden aim and as it’s mentioned at his memories he could visit rock relieves of Kul-e-Farah , Shkaft-e-Salman and Xong-e-Azhdar (Tang-e-Nowruzi). One another famous traveller who has mentioned to Izeh at 1842, is C.A;debode. Another adventurer was some of French archaeologists, who had settled at Susa and based on the treaty of 1895, started their excavations and through their journeys to Izeh, have some brief mentions about this land in their notes. Other foreigner researchers and travellers who visited Izeh and is important to regard them can mention to Madame Bishop, Schindler, W. Hints, E. Dewall and the last one, H. Wright who through two researching seasons, could survey the plain of Izeh and, J.Mehrkian, one of the field archaeologists of Iran cultural Heritage organization since 1982 with some excavations at Susa plain and some investigating programs at Izeh plain, has been starting his services to this valuable ancient museum.

His last researches in this plain are composed of some excavating activities at two sites: first at Taq-Tavileh Tepe which is located at the west side of Izeh and second, at small shelter of Shkaft cave, located at south side.

[1Wright, 1975.


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