Home flute Hastijan’s Cave Discoveries Unveiled: From Reed Flute to One-Centimeter Bags

Hastijan’s Cave Discoveries Unveiled: From Reed Flute to One-Centimeter Bags

by Madonna

Hastijan’s cave, a site with a century-long history of unauthorized excavation and looting, has revealed a trove of artifacts shedding light on Iran’s rich cultural heritage. Despite the cave being plundered multiple times, a recent archaeological effort has uncovered significant items, a selection of which is currently showcased at the Research Institute of Cultural Heritage’s Research Week programs.

Zel Cave, also known as Takht-e Qaleh, situated south of Takht-e Qaleh Mountain, has been subject to recent excavations after a hiatus of 70 years. The cave, with its damaged architecture due to past illicit digs, has yielded approximately 35 artifacts out of the around 300 discovered items.

The artifacts on display include leather fabrics inscribed with Pahlavi-script, wooden tools, pottery fragments, and animal bone remains dating back to the late Sasanian and early Islamic periods. Notable among the findings is a section of a garment’s sleeve and a shoe without its sole, preserving the mystery of their owner’s identity and fate.

A highlight of the exhibition is a reed flute, resembling modern-day flutes and providing evidence of written materials in Iran from the Sasanian era. This discovery pushes back the history of reed-writing instruments by 1,400 years, according to archaeologists.

Leather inscriptions from the late Sasanian and early Islamic periods, including a letter from a brother to his sister, are also part of the exhibit. The letter, housed at the Bancroft Library in Berkeley, California, emphasizes the importance placed on honoring women’s status during the Sasanian period. Written in the late Sasanian era or the early Islamic period, the letter showcases widespread literacy and writing among the Iranian populace before Islam’s advent.

The letter reads: “May the pearls of my dear sister, whom God may make happier, bring every happiness to my sister. I, through the hand of fate, have sent a bottle of pure oil. Write to me about your health and well-being, and be reassured about my ‘well-being’ and my children.” However, the presence of the disputed sentence, ‘Send the oil soon,’ remains a subject of discussion among archaeologists.

Despite the challenges posed by previous looting, Hastijan’s cave stands as a testament to Iran’s rich historical tapestry, offering a glimpse into the lives and culture of ancient civilizations. The ongoing efforts to safeguard and interpret these discoveries underscore the importance of preserving our shared heritage.

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