Chahryar Adle (1943- 2015)
Khorheh is a village located 225 km southwest of Tehran, near the Qom- Esfahan expressway and three parasangs away from Mahallãt. Two Greek-looking columns standing in this village have long drawn the attention of inquisitive minds and given rise to various views and theories. The last archaeological excavations at Khorheh were led by the Iranian archaeologist Mehdi Rahbar in 1996. These studies were undertaken within the framework of the Research Vice-Directorate of the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization (ICHO). Mr Rahbar’s ample report on his excavations is to be published shortly by ICHO in Persian under the title Sevomin Fasl-e Kãvoshhã-ye Bãstãnshenãsi dar Khorheh (The Third Archaeological Excavation Season at Khorheh). The present text took shape following the identification of old photographs of Khorheh preserved in the Photothèque (Albomkhãneh) of the Golestan Palace and a visit to Khorheh with the assistance and guidance of Mr. Rahbar. As his report is under print together with maps and technical photographs, it seemed unnecessary to repeat its contents here. This paper is therefore limited to briefly reviewing the excavations carried out at Khorheh during the Qajar period as compared to some other contemporary sites. They are all placed within the evolution of the knowledge and awareness of the past, self-awareness in relation to the past followed by the birth of archaeology in their wake. The paper will also contain a full description of the old photographs of the Khorheh site. At least for the earliest ones, comparative archaeological photographs of other sites even elsewhere throughout the world are rare.
The compilation of this article could not have taken place without the close collaboration of the following personalities and organizations to whom I express my deep gratitude : Mr. Mehdi Rahbar and the Research Vice-directorate of the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization who, with Mr. Rahbar’s permission, entrusted me with his unpublished report, Mr. Ali-Reza Anisi, the Director of the Golestan Palace, Mr. Javad Hasti and Ms. F. Ghashghaiyan, the Keeper and the Assistant keeper of the Photothèque at the Golestan Palace, who constantly helped me with my research at Golestan, Mr. Claude Karbassi who undertook the very difficult task of translating these pages and Ms. Azizeh Azodi who assisted me in preparing the final English text. Those who read both Persian and English may notice some minor differences between the two versions of my text; these variations were introduced by myself for the sake of clarification and are not attributable to any arbitrary decisions by Mr. Karbassi.
Love for collecting works of art and antiquities, which has been regarded as reprehensible and criminal in Iran during the past two or three decades, is deeply rooted in history and has been a major factor contributing to the emergence of modern archaeology. Love for antiquities and for collecting artifacts became one of the foundations of that science, history and individual and social identification from the moment an object was no longer appraised solely in terms of its material value, but, apart from its intrinsic artistic value, was also viewed as a means of better knowing oneself 1.
It is not known at what point in time an historical vestige was first looked upon as a testimony of the past and a means of acquiring knowledge and understanding, but whatever the case, the search was rooted in man’s nature and steadily developed in the course of time. This need is somehow perceptible in animals, albeit in a primitive form, just as any being’s progeny knows and looks for its mother, if only for the sake of survival.
1.Khorheh- Profile view of two pillars remaining from the avian of the Parthian building (ca. 150 B.C). Notheastward view in the direction of Emamzadeh Shahzadeh Abolqasem, Shahzadeh Eshaq and Hakimeh Khatun, in comparison with picture 2 belonging to 1859, the renovation of the building and its altered façade and dome are clearly visible. (Photography by Mehnaz Emadi, winter 999)
A - Excavation in search of oneself
One of the earliest pieces of evidence in this concern was discovered in Mesopotamia: Nabonidus, the last native ruler of Babylonia (556-539 BC), whose kingdom fell to Cyrus the Great, viewed excavated artefacts as testimonies of the past and used them as means of justifying the present and warranting an ideology — the existing governmental system of Babylon. Excavations made upon his order at the temple of Larsa led to the discovery of its foundation stone 2200 years before his time, the display of which lent the temple the role of a kind of museum2.
Nearer to our times, the best art collections — combining both artistic and financial value — belonged to the Safavid kings and princes, and before them to the last Timurid princes and noblemen. The Safavid Shãh Tahmãsp was already fond of painting in the early years of his rule, but perhaps even more important than himself as regards the appreciation of works of art were his brother Bahrãm Mirzã, and ahrãm Mirzã’s son, Ebrãhim Mirzã. From the time of Shah Abbas the Great onward, collecting calligraphy and paintings on loose sheets or bound in albums also became a current practice among the nobility and the rich, and commercial and artistic workshops flourished in such cities as Shiraz or Esfahan to satisfy the demand of these classes. The clientele, whether the king or others, were not interested in excavated items and did not seek to discover their identity in that way. What they mainly sought (besides architecture) were calligraphic specimens and paintings. In the latter domain, the interests of Bahrãm Mirzã, a foremost art-lover, ranged from Chinese drawings to Italian oil paintings. With that worldwide outlook, which has nearly disappeared in the Orient and Iran except for blind imitation, he surpassed even the illustrious men of the Italian Renaissance, because at the time the European’s horizon did not extend further than Rome and Greece, let alone Persia, China and beyond. During the Renaissance, European noblemen and wealthy people set up rooms in their palaces which were called “cabinets de curiosités” and in which they gathered antiquities among other items. The antiquities came from smallscale diggings carried out for that purpose, but excavations on a large scale did not start until 1710 (approximately the end of Safavid rule). In that year, Prince d’Elboeuf ’s excavations at Herculaneum led to the discovery of the city’s theatre, although he was still in search of antique objects to exhibit in his collection rather than finding answers to scientific questions. In 1748 (end of Nãder Shãh’s reign in Iran), the ash-covered city of Pompeii attracted attention. Work on the site began by order of the king and queen of Naples, and the first catalogue was published in 1755. In the next year, Johann Joachim Winckelmann, the German-born scholar considered by many as the father of Greco-Roman (classical) archaeology, published his initial notes about Herculaneum, but the compilation of a detailed inventory of the items discovered there was not begun until 1860. These registers were prepared in Pompeii by Giuseppe Fiorelli. One year earlier, in 1859, the first excavation at Khorheh had taken place upon the order of Nãsserod- Din Shãh. No record of it is available, except for two photographs accompanied by a brief description (pls. 2 and 3). Meanwhile, the unfulfilled British excavations in Susa had come to an end, of which neither a systematic register nor any photographs were made, but handsome drawings were prepared which are extant 3.
Thus, the work at Khorheh proved to be somehow more "high-tech" than that carried out at Susa. Neither the excavations of the British nor those of the first French missions at Susa could be considered scientific in present-day terms, because, as was customary at the time, the real objective at Susa and elsewhere — even often in Europe — was still that of discovering valuable objects (particularly gold) or impressive pieces to send to museums rather than finding answers to definite questions.
2-Khorheh – General view of the archaeological site and the new mineral water lake formed in 1984-85 (Photograph by Mehdi Rahbar, ICHO)
Of course, this is still often the case, although no one dares acknowledge the fact. As is more or less true even today, the majority of museums, whether in Iran or elsewhere, looked more like Ali Baba’s caves and antiquarians’ bazaars than true centres of research and education. One instance of what may be called a true scientific excavation was perhaps first carried out in the New World. In 1784 — when Iran was about to come under Qajar rule —Thomas Jefferson (1743- 1826), the third president of the United States of America, excavated a burial mound on his lands in Virginia and began stratigraphic studies based on the assumption that the lower strata must be older than the ones above them. Relying on this theory, which appears self-evident today, he demonstrated that the hill in question had been used for burial purposes at different periods and, like similar hills east of the Mississippi river, had not come into being all at once 4. A major step in stratigraphy was taken by a French customs inspector by the name of Jacques Boucher in 1841, i.e., ten years prior to the beginning of the excavations of the British at Susa and eighteen years earlier than those of Khorheh. From this viewpoint, the works on the verge of being undertaken in Iran can be considered as backward. Working on the sand layers deposited at the bottom of the Somme river, Jacques Boucher was able to correlate the items discovered with their corresponding layers and ascribe the ensemble to a period prior to that given in the Old and New Testaments (in fact the items belonged to the Stone Age) 5. This interpretation conflicted with accepted beliefs concerning Creation, but it eventually prevailed. The application of Darwin’s theory of evolution (published in 1859, corresponding with the eleventh year of Nãsser-od-Din Shãh’s reign and the date of the first excavation in Khorheh) to archaeology consolidated the foundations of this newborn science. Later on the theories of Marx (Pre-capitalist Economic Formations,1858) and Engels (Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State,1884) merged archaeology with economy and sociology 6. Determining whether the impact of materialism on archaeology was good or bad is beyond the scope of this article, but it certainly had positive aspects, although its application to justify the class warfare leading to "the dictatorship of the proletariat" ended in exaggeration and failure. The Westerners’ interest in Iranian or even Egyptian relics, unlike their line of thought concerning China and non-Muslim India, was not (and still is not) the result of an independent scientific quest (aside from economic matters) aimed at identifying the civilization of this region in its entirety, but rather proceeded via Greek and Roman cultures on the one hand, and Christian culture on the other. Western civilization is like a tree with two roots, one based on Greek and Roman cultures and the other founded upon Christianity, and beyond it Judaism. It was following this outlook, and in search of acquiring knowledge about themselves, that Europeans on the one hand became infatuated with Greece, and on the other explored Palestine and Syria, eventually reaching Assyria, Babylonia and Susa. Winkelmann played a major role in consolidating the theory of the Greco-Roman foundations of Western culture, and in propagating the belief that classical Greek art is perfection itself. Classical Greek art, in its turn, often tends to consider man and his vision as utmost perfection and, consequently, is realistic in the perceptional sense (painted grapes are beautiful when attracting sparrows). Since Greek gods have human shape, behaviours and feelings, human beings are in their turn godlike and can be symbols of perfection. Indeed, in the opinion of some Greek philosophers, human visions and impressions constitute absolute truth and reality itself. This is epitomized in a sentence which Plato attributes to Protagoras: “Man is the measure of all things.”. The difference between this outlook and the Achaemenian vision in the same context and at the same time reveals its consequences in the most conspicuous manner in architecture and sculpture: Greek architecture and sculpture in the Parthenon and elsewhere are arts based on the scale of man as an independent individual, whereas in Achaemenian Iran the individual (who is unidentifiable as a person) is a particle of the Empire whom God (Ahurã Mazdã), — rather than the gods —, has entrusted to the King of Kings (see the rock-face inscription at Bisotun and other inscriptions of that period. The social and political impact of these two lines of thought is immense, but it lies beyond the limits of our present discussion).
In conclusion, Greece stands predominantly as a civilization of the individual citizen and cities, whereas Iran represents a vast empire in which the individual plays a minor role as a citizen. In Delphi the columns are made on the scale of man, and in Persepolis on the scale of the empire. In the frieze of the Parthenon figures are individuals, while the long rows of Median and Persian soldiers consist of identical men whose groups (not individuals) mainly differ in their headgear and clothing. In western art, portraiture showing the actual physiognomy of an individual came to exist, while up to the Safavid period Iran nearly always ignored it. Here we cannot enter an epistemological or ethical discussion and delve into the comparative appreciation (true or untrue / good or bad) of these attitudes although the author is inclined to believe that these facts are relative rather than absolute.
5 - Khorheh. The new mineral water lake created in 1984-85 (Photograph by Mehdi Rahbar, ICHO)
Be that as it may, the concept of Greek art has imposed itself in the Western world combined with the biblical heritage, and it was with such an outlook that the West approached the Middle-East and Greater Iran. Aimed at thwarting the British, Napoleon Bonaparte’s Egyptian campaign in 1798, which ideologically had a root in the French Revolution and its humanistic values (Universal Values in the revolutionaries’ view), brought some two hundred scholars of various disciplines to that country. It succeeded, by the multitude of results the expedition brought about, in establishing Egyptology as an independent discipline apart from Greek or biblical values. The results included in particular in the creation of independent sections in museums or in Champollion’s decipherment of hieroglyphic writing in 1822 and the publication of such unique books as Description d’Egypte. The Iranian World was not, and still is not, that fortunate: a Persian object may find its way to France and to the Musée Guimet with South Asian objects, to the Louvre with Assyrian or Ottoman vestiges and to the Institut du Monde Arabe with North African items ! The case is identical in other Western countries or elsewhere where they are emulated. Had the Westerners adopted a universal human outlook instead of a biblical and Greek-oriented one, the archaeology of the Iranian World would undoubtedly have developed in a more appropriate way, and these lands would have been known better, i.e., more accurately. An imaginary line drawn from the south-eastern corner of the Caspian Sea to the vicinity of Shiraz clearly shows that, except for a few instances, all the excavations carried out by Westerners, and of course by Iranians who blindly followed them, have been carried out on its western side, particularly in Khuzestan and biblical lands, and that little attention has been paid to other areas. Of course, the historic wealth of these regions justifies this attention, but it cannot explain the neglect of other regions. The above-mentioned outlook, particularly its biblical aspects, has even pervaded religious and philosophical studies, with the resulting drawbacks. The Russian operations, whether on the northern banks of the Aras river or in Central Asia, to a certain extent made up for these shortcomings, but unfortunately, their works remained largely unknown both in Iran and in the West. Because their inquiries were carried out with a view to Czarist (Russian) and later Soviet Imperialism, the interests of the Communist Party and, of course, purely scientific purposes, they remained largely free of Western (biblical and Greco-Roman) concepts, but were instead fraught with Marxist ideological fanaticism, which had noxious effects. Nevertheless, on the whole, their research work was useful.
4- Khorheh – General view of the archaeological site and the new mineral water lake formed in 1984-85 (Photograph by Mehdi Rahbar, ICHO)
The renewed and keen attention of the British having been focused on Susa during the delimitation of the Irano-Ottoman frontier was apparently unrelated with the above-mentioned views; but in fact the overall climate and the process of excavations prevailing there were no different from the general trend dominant in Europe. In particular, because they did not produce remarkable antiquities from that viewpoint, they were discontinued. William Kenneth Loftus (1820-1858) established himself in Susa in May 1850, but his inconclusive excavations only began in January 1851.
Sir Henry Creswick Rawlinson, a famous figure in politics and archaeology, said to Henry Layard, a no less renowned figure in archaeology who had also travelled to Susa: Loftus “turned the mound topsy-turvy without finding much”. Loftus was expected to repeat his accomplishments in Warka and unearth abundant antiquities, but this did not happen7.
Unlike the British, the Iranian government of the time showed a positive reaction to the works undertaken at Susa. It not only officially received a memorandum from its executives in Khuzestan (rather than from the British), which may be considered as the first known scientific and administrative Iranian report on the results of an archaeological excavation, but the authorities (no doubt the Shah himself ) even ordered its publication. The original text, reproduced in part, was written by Mirzã Sayyed Ja‘far Khãn Moshir-od-Dowleh (Mohandes-bãshi) and contained eloquent illustrations of one of the coins discovered at Susa. Mirzã Ja‘far Khãn was one of the five students sent to England in 1815 by ‘Abbãs Mirzã, the crown prince, and Mirzã ‘Issã the first Qã’em-Maqãm. He studied engineering and returned to Persia on July 24th 1819, beginning a career as a professor of mathematics, engineering and artillery. As, in compliance with Article 3 of the Treaty of Erzerum, a commission was to be convened with the participation of representatives from the Russian and British governments in view of determining the boundaries between Iran and the Ottoman empire, Mirzã Taqi Khãn Amir Kabir chose Moshir-od-Dowleh for the task and sent him to Baghdad. As already mentioned, in the framework of these operations, the British once again focused on Susa, and this time seriously. The sessions lasted approximately six years and Moshir-od-Dowleh returned to Tehran in 1854-58. His educational antecedents had prepared his mind for dealing with historical relics and if the complete texts of his writings are eventually found, a clearer picture of the situation will come to the fore. The preparation of that report, which did not have to include archaeological matters alongside political and administrative issues, the immediate publication of its scientific contents in Tehran, the study in the Capital of the coins unearthed, and the printing of illustrations of a sample of a dated coin, all clearly point to the existence of a dynamic atmosphere. Unfortunately, however, this was limited to some members of the upper classes at that period and, notwithstanding the active role of the Dãr-ol-Fonun (Tehran’s Polytechnic), did not become widespread among the majority (the people and even the well-to-do classes, including the bazaar merchants, for instance).
News of the excavations carried out at Susa were published on Thursday April 22nd, 1852, on page 2 of issue No. 64 of the Vaqãye‘-e Ettefãqiyeh (Rajab 2nd1268, Sichqãn-yil), the official newspaper of the Persian government. This was done during the final stages of the British excavations at Susa, before the report of their operations could reach their own superiors, let alone be published. The news published in Iran was not only descriptive, but analytical as well. It included no mention of the names of the British excavators, which is interesting in itself. The wording of the newspaper, which accidentally dropped a certain amount of the text, is as follows: “Picture of an ancient coin discovered at Susa and brought to the Caliphal Abode of Tehran [engraving of the recto and verso of a coin with inscriptions in Kufic script and their translation in naskh script]”, see pl. 1.
According to the last written reports sent by His Excellency Mirzã Ja‘far Khãn Moshir-od-Dowleh to the high authorities of the Exalted Government, vestiges of very massive buildings were unearthed in the ancient city of Susa, located four parasangs away from Shushtar. Among these was the building of Artaxerxes I Longimanus [the Apadana], comprising thirty-six monolithic stone columns; the columns stood seven zar‘ apart and their height could not be determined because they were all broken and had collapsed, but their bases and capitals, which mostly bear figures of calves et alia indicate that these columns were very tall. Although not a fragment of stone can be found on the plain of Arabia [Khuzestan], the thirty-six columns found in front of that building towards the north indicate that salãm (audience) ceremonies were taking place there. The plan and disposition of this building are like the one at Persepolis, there are no differences. Some columns bear inscriptions in Syriac and Chaldean scripts in which the events of ... [omission in the original text] imposing... have been buried and most of the bricks, which weigh sixty-eight man, are inscribed with narratives of events. A few white [silver] coins with Kufic inscriptions have been found in the upper part of a building. It is clear that these coins were buried there after the Arab conquest.
They were minted in Basra, Damascus, Wasit, Merv, Herat, Nishapur, Dãrãbjerd, and Estakhr. One of these coins, which is from Wasit, was sent as a sample to the high authorities of the Exalted Government. It is illustrated at the top of this page. This illustration is drawn in the original size [scale 1:1] of the sample that has been brought in. Two of the illustrations depict the recto and verso of the coin, both inscribed in Kufic script, and the two other illustrations show the same inscriptions in the Naskh script for the sake of legibility. This coin bears the date 105 [H./ 723-24 AD], 1163 years before our time and it is astonishing how remarkably intact it has remained after such a period of time. Sepehr, the governmental chronicler of the time and a member of the entourage of Mirzã Ãqã Khan Nuri [the then Persian Prime Minister], summarized the discoveries in his turn in the Nãsekhot- Tavãrikh. Since he refers to gold coins, gives the name of the Caliph Al-Montaser (861-62 AD), mentions the type of stone (alabaster), and other facts not recorded in the newspaper, it must be admitted that Moshir-od-Dowleh’s original report was longer than the published news, and that Sepehr had access to that original. Sepehr wrote: “In the lands of Shushtar, where the city of Susa was founded in ancient times, a palace built by Bahman, the son of Esfandiyãr, called Ardeshir the Long-Armed (Artaxerxes I Longimanus) has appeared in a declivity of the soil. It had thirtysix alabaster columns and wherever baked bricks were used in the building these weighed sixty-eight man. Some gold coins bearing the effigy [in fact the name] of Al-Montaser-Bellãh also surfaced”9.
The article of the newspaper and Sepehr’s text refer to Loftus’ last excavation, which took place from mid-February to early April 1852. Rawlinson’s assessment of Loftus also includes this section. His sentence, which illustrates the general and prevailing object oriented view at the time, appears somewhat cruel today, because, as we saw in the Persian texts, Loftus’ excavations were not that fruitless in scientific terms. On the other hand, it is true that Rawlinson’s ideas universally prevailed at the time, but in view of what was said about scientific progress, Loftus’ excavations could nevertheless have shown a higher scientific level, for example by taking advantage of photography, which was not the case. He employed Henry A. Churchill, fortunately a skilful artist, and limited himself to his graceful sketches. It is notable that the nineteenyear- old Nãsser-od-Din Shãh, who had acceded to the throne only two years earlier, manifested more perspicacity than the British, because in the first half of 1850, at the time of Loftus’ first expedition, he gave orders to have the bas-reliefs of Persepolis photographed by Jules Richard, a Frenchman employed by the Persian government.
5 - Khorheh. Excavation area and beyond it the mineral water lake (Photograph by Mehdi Rahbar, ICHO)
Earlier, in 1811, James Morier, a British citizen of Swiss origin and the witty but vindictive writer of The Adventures of Haji Baba of Isphahan, had initiated excavations at Persepolis while just before, in April 1811, Robert Gordon had gone from Shiraz to Susa10. Gordon was a younger brother of Lord Aberdeen who later became the British Prime Minister in 1852. Morier, Gordon and others were members of the British diplomatic mission to Persia, and were dispatched by their ambassador (Sir Gore Ousely) to explore the country, including its antiquities.
Morier had gone to Persepolis in the closing days of April 1811. He had read the books of such renowned travellers as Chardin and Le Bruyen, through which he had become acquainted with Persepolis. He tried to figure out the subterranean corridors running under the platform of Persepolis, but he failed to recognize these as sewerage channels (p. 77). He went on excavating for two days, before Mirzã Mohammad ‘Ali, the governor of Marvdasht made him stop his work for not having an authorization from the Persian central government (p. 76). Morier was unable to excavate items such as coins or jewellery (p. 77). He writes that the bas-reliefs which came to light were as new as the first day, and that he tried to carry away a large piece of stone with two human figures on it.
6- Khorheh –Examples of Parthian Tiles (Photograph by Mehdi Rahbar, ICHO)
7- Khorheh – Other examples of Parthian Tiles (Photograph by Mehdi Rahbar, ICHO)
In view of its great weight, he decided to have them separated. As a result, the headgear of one of the figures was broken. Morier attributes even this destruction to the Iranians’ incompetence in cutting stone (p. 75). He did not ask himself whether, under the ethical or legal standards prevailing at the time in Persia, or even in England, the very removal of a work of art without a legal permission was a reprehensible deed. Nor did he realize that, even if it was not, he had at least made an error of management by entrusting the task to Persians, whom he considered devoid of any skill or quality, and corrupt. His unscientific character is also revealed in other instances, for example in comparison with Nãsserod- Din Shãh. The Shah expressed his grief at not being able to read an inscription on stone (see below, the text related to footnote 37), whereas for Morier what mattered most was possession. He writes (p. 75) that after the excavations he also found part of an inscription the final section of which Le Bruyen has drawn, to which he adds: were these letters to be deciphered some day, “we should be in possession of the whole inscription”. One cannot even presume in his defence that he perceived ownership in its collective sense (us), for his country and not for himself, because the items found by him and afterwards by Gordon — who went to Persepolis for excavations accompanying his ambassador (11th to 13th of July 1811) — became the private property of the ambassador, Morier and their dependents (p. 114). Ouseley and his companions were obviously motivated by a desire to show off, and particularly by the prospect of financial gains. The proof is that Ouseley later decorated the staircase in his London residence with some of the reliefs (Ouseley, vol. II, pp. 254-55, see below, n. 10), and he and his companions blamed Gordon “for glutting the market in England”.
8- Khorheh, Examples of Islamic Terra-cotta wares (Photograph by Mehdi Rahbar, ICHO)
9-Khorheh –Examples of Parthian Tiles (Photograph by Mehdi Rahbar, ICHO)
Gordon promised not to do so and ended up asking Lord Aberdeen, his brother, to make the bargain with him (Gordon’s letter to Lord Aberdeen is published by Curtis in Iran, p. 49, see below n. 10). As mentioned before, the governor of Marvdasht put a stop to Morier’s excavations, or rather to his treasure hunt, for not having an authorization from the Persian central government; however, slightly later in July, as the British came back to Persepolis reinforced by Gordon and the ambassador in person, the governor found himself unable to face them and let them dig. Pessimists might say that the governor was surely bribed, but at least for the first case, one may wonder why, for all Morier’s eagerness to come into “possession” of works of art — and while the British were always keen (justifiably from the British viewpoint) to bribe Iranians in their own interests —, why the shrewd Morier did not try to bribe the “corrupt” governor or at least start bargaining with him. Could it be that in those days, Persia was not as lawless as it is assumed, that an authorization was required to excavate at Persepolis, and that the governor was not corrupt?
As for Richard, it is true that, having failed to receive the funds to cover his travel expenses due to the government’s financial problems, he returned to Tehran from midway, without taking pictures at Persepolis11. However, this one inconclusive job assumes less importance considering the fact that photographs were made five years later on the initiative of Luigi Pesce, an Italian-born officer also at the service of the Persian government. An album with his photographs of Persepolis and Pasargadae was presented to the Shah on April_ 29th 185812. It is unfortunate that Richard himself did not either then or later realize the universal significance of Nãsserod- Din Shãh’s command. Having served many years in the government, he should have known that, particularly at a time when Amir Kabir was busy reorganizing the country’s financial system, and considering the Shah’s passion for photography, a pay order would be forthcoming sooner or later. Therefore, if he had grasped the far-reaching effect of the Shah’s order, he should have completed the job at his own expense, or even by borrowing the money to immortalize his name, but he missed the opportunity. To end these considerations it must be added that for a long time, the attitude of the French missions in Susa was not very different from that of the British, and that the official overall prevalence of “science” over “object" or "antique” hunting was not established until the advent of Mr. Firouz Bagherzadeh on the Iranian side and Mr. Jean Perrot on the French (see below, paragraph B). The universal reality nevertheless still remains that an object in gold is more valuable than the most ancient and eloquent shard, although this is rarely acknowledged; and many archaeologists might defeat their own ends by preferring a spectacular (“telegenic”) object to a shard which they don't quite know how to handle at first sight.
10- Khorheh- Profile view of two pillars remaining from the avian of the Parthian building (ca. 150 B.C). Notheastward view in the direction of Emamzadeh Shahzadeh Abolqasem, Shahzadeh Eshaq and Hakimeh Khatun, in comparison with picture 2 belonging to 1859, the renovation of the building and its altered façade and dome are clearly visible. (Photography by Mehnaz Emadi, winter 999)
B - Excavations at Khorheh
1 - First excavation, first photographs, second half of the summer of 1859 The first photographs at Khorheh were taken in Qoy-yil/1276 ( July 31st 1859 to March 20th 1860), or to be more precise, in the second half of the summer of 1859, one and a half years after the photographic survey of Persepolis. They were made during Nãsserod- Din Shãh’s journey to Qom, Kurdistan, Soltãniyeh and Azarbayjan. At least two photographs were taken during this trip and were included, together with a pencil drawing of its two columns, perhaps sketched by the Shah himself, in the album prepared for and presented to him in the same year (July 31st 1859 to March 20th 1860; pls. 2-4). This superb album is preserved as item no. 7703/679 in the Phothothèque of the Golestãn Palace.
Discussing this work is beyond the scope of the present article, but I believe photographs 1 to 58, and perhaps 61, to be the first known works of Ãqã Rezã, the first Iranian professional photographer, and photographs 62 to 96 those of his master, the French Francis Carlhian13. He came to Tehran at the end of 1858, at the same time as the French military advisors engaged for the Persian army, and joined them during this journey. Carlhian remained in Iran, serving at the Dãr-ol-Fonun (Tehran Polytechnic), and died in this country (b. May 6th 1818, Paris – d. January 6th 1870, Tehran). The reason for my attributing these photographs to Ãqã Rezã is that the quality of photographs 1 to 58, and even up to 61, is not as good as the next series (62 to 96), which I attribute to Carlhian in view of the large number of photographs of Paris among them, as well as the French inscriptions they bear.
11- Khorheh – Northern view of Emamzadeh Shahzadeh Abolqasem, Shahzadeh Ashaq and Hakimeh Khatun (Photograph by Mehdi Rahbar, ICHO)
The lack of quality may of course be due to Ãqã Rezã’s inexperience. A point is that there is a cyanotype (blue photograph) in this album (no. 141, fol. 122, attendants next to the so-called Throne of Yazid in the Golestãn Palace, 145 x 115 mm.). As cyanotype photography was introduced in Iran by Carlhian, as the photograph is of excellent quality, and as the date when the album was made corresponds approximately with a year after Carlhian’s arrival in Iran, this blue photograph cannot have been made by anyone else but him. And since Rezã also made cyanotype photography, the master-student relationship is again manifest. Ãqã Rezã Eqbãl-os-Saltaneh, the son of Mirzã Esmã‘il Jadid-ol-Eslãm, was born in 1843 and died in 189014. Photograph 31 of this album shows him at the age of seventeen. The compilation of this album once again shows the Shah’s attachment to photography and it is not improbable that he joined Rezã to make photographs on this trip.
As can be seen in pls. 2 and 3, these photographs were made in conjunction with a small-scale excavation in the prolongation of the columns. This excavation was undoubtedly ordered by Nãsser-od-Din Shãh, who was deeply interested in art and history, and the photographs were most probably also made upon his order, as photography was one of his passions. The outcome of this operation, carried out by eleven workers (see the caption of pl. 3, the number of diggers increased to sixteen in the next excavation, in 1892) is not known, but it must not have pleased the Shah, because 32 years later he dispatched another mission to resume these investigations, as was mentioned and will be further explained. It is notable that the conclusions on the period of the building of the columns reported below Ãqã Rezã’s photographs are more accurate than those written for Ãqã Yusef ’s pictures taken during the next excavations. Indeed in Ãqã Rezã’s photographs (caption of pl. 3) the columns are attributed by hearsay to the period of Darius (Dãrã, here to be identified with Darius III) while in Ãqã Yusefs’ they are dated to the Seljuk period. The attribution in Rezã’s work is neither far from reality nor in contradiction with the text of Hassan Qomi (988-89 AD), who believed them to have been erected by Alexander 15, whereas Ãqã Yusef, probably following the assertion of Dr . Feuvrier, who thought that the bones unearthed were of Turkish origin, attributed the columns to the Seljuk period (see below). This erroneous conclusion bears in fact little interest within the framework of the present article, because, rationally speaking, what is important is that a question is raised, continues to be raised, and attempts at answering it are carried out on the basis of scientific data until it is solved. In Khorheh, care was taken for these conditions to be fulfilled and, by keeping up this method, conclusions will eventually be reached. From the methodological viewpoint, the path adopted in the second study of Khorheh was right, but the incomplete data were used inappropriately, leading to wrong conclusions.
12 - Khorheh. An old mineral water stream shaped by deposits (Photograph by Mehdi Rahbar, ICHO)
From the archaeological viewpoint, this photographic approach has at least three valuable results, it showed: 1- the situation of the site 140 years ago with no more than two columns like today; 2- an open, non-built area in front (on the southeast) of the columns, corresponding with the courtyard discovered by Mr. Rahbar; and 3 - a flat hill behind (to the northwest of ) the columns, indicating the prior existence of a large building. Unfortunately, the upper part of this hill, the part at its centre and on its east, disappeared in later years, before the second excavations carried out in 1892, during the reign of Nãsser-od-Din Shãh. As a result, the late Hãkemi and subsequently Mr. Rahbar only had access to its lower layers. Regrettably, these photographs do not help to explain Hassan Qomi’s descriptions in Tãrikh-e Qom, which Mr. Rahbar has quoted.
Thus, it is not clear what Qomi means by the “four pavilions” he refers to; if these four buildings did exist, as mentioned in Tãrikhe Qom (The History of Qom), and if their dimensions were as quoted therein, where were they located and how did they fit into the map presented by Mr. Rahbar? (his fig. 82)16 The features of this building — pavilion or temple — remain unknown, although the existence of such a construction near mineral springs recalls Takht-e Soleymãn on a smaller scale, and one can imagine the existence of an ensemble combining a palace and a temple on this site (see below).
During the 33 year-long interval between Nãsser-od-Din Shãh’s first visit to Khorheh (summer of 1859) and his second journey to its neighbourhood (May 31st1892), the French excavations at Susa began and Prince Farhãd Mirzã initiated some diggings at Persepolis. Other personalities from the king’s entourage also started operations which were, at least from a methodological point of view, more like treasure hunts than archaeological research. These actions included Mo‘ayyer-ol-Mamãlek’s “gold-washing” on 12th and 13th of October 1870 in the ‘Abbãssãbãd valley near Hamadãn, during the king’s journey to the Holy Cities of Irãk. At the time, “goldwashing” operations carried out with the authorization of the government were not considered illegal. It consisted of washing the earth by pouring water on the ground to wash the earth until precious items became visible. Unlike the excavations at Khorheh, and to those of Farhãd Mirzã at Persepolis, these undertakings were not motivated by a scientific quest but rather by a sense of curiosity in which the quest for gold or financial gain was not necessarily absent. Although Nãsser-od-Din Shãh’s own writings on Mo‘ayyer’s activities also refer to gold, his brief description remains scientifically oriented enough to allow the main object unearthed to be attributed to the Achaemenian period: “A thick gold ring was found which instead of a precious stone had a horned bull with two wings pierced with small holes like a perfume container”17. Even in “gold-washing”, the Shah insisted on the rights of his “subjects”. This was one of the Shah’s — i.e. his government’s as he was the Government — good characteristics refuting any personal or commercial interests. Thus, in a brief undated note but concerning Hamadãn, he writes: “As concerns ‘gold-washing’ in Hamadãn, let it be determined how much loss this imposes on [our] subjects in Hamadãn”18.
13 - Khorheh. The new mineral water lake created in 1984-85 (Photograph by Mehdi Rahbar, ICHO)
No documents are available concerning illegal, unauthorized or commercially oriented excavations carried out in this period, but some ten years ago partly coded letters written by the brother of a famous French antiquarian named Vignier, who was dealing in excavated artifacts and ancient manuscripts in the early years of the present century, came to light in Paris. These documents are most interesting and will be published in future19. Nor have any pictures been found so far of excavated artifacts unearthed a century and a half ago, but Vignier’s operations appear to have been accompanied by photographs and several of them are said to be extant, and are being searched for. Some of these must be similar to a recently published photograph taken by Antoine Sevruguin in the early 20th century of a jar and two jugs, all apparently lustre wares produced in Rey, Kãshãn or Sãveh20. Clandestine excavations put aside, those carried out in Susa by the Dieulafoy couple and their successors, particularly de Morgan, deserve seriouscriticism on both scientific and ethical grounds when compared with the highest archaeological standards of the time.
De Morgan did not excavate in Susa, but rather worked it out like a huge open mine. Guided by methods of fast economical extraction of minerals, rather than those of archaeologists or even geologists for identifying strata, he proceeded by digging out 5 meter-thick successive layers. However, at the end of the day, de Morgan’s inappropriate excavations, of which at least documents have remained, were not worse than those effected by many other archaeologists — including our compatriots, because no written reports or drawings and plans of these “excavations” are extant, and the traces themselves have often been destroyed by the very fact of digging up successive lay. French scientists — ranging from de Morgan’s dissatisfied assistants to André Parrot, the former director of the Louvre, and Pierre Amiet, the Head -Curator of its Oriental Section in our time, have written extensively about de Morgan’s shortcomings, and there is no need to analyse them again in this brief article. There are also eloquent reports on de Morgan by his contemporary Iranian observers, including those of Prince Dr Haydar Mirzã Shãhrokhshãhi, Mostafã Manshur-os- Saltaneh and Hossein, from the government’s Main Office in Arabestãn (Khuzestan). These official reports were addressed to the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs under Mozaffar-od-Din Shãh and have just been published21.
In Persepolis, Farhãd Mirzã was apparently the third excavator after Morier and Gordon. On “Government’s instructions”, undoubtedly emanating from the Shah, he sent Mirzã Bãqer — the governor of Marvdasht — with labourers to excavate at Persepolis to find “antique objects” (events taking place between 14th March to 16th April 1870). He himself joined them later for several days.
They found “sculptures in stone, the site of a lofty building, a bridle and an iron plate the pattern of which was not visible” (events taking place between 17th April to 14th May 1877 and the following days). The Prince certainly sent a report on these excavation to the Shah, but it has not yet been found. About six months later (between 19th October to 18th November 1877), he gave permission to Friedrich Carl Andreas, the German Iranologist, to excavate at Persepolis, but on behalf of the Government, refused his request to let him take possession of any item he might have come to discover22. Probably, Andreas did not accept this condition and did not go digging at Persepolis but was active later at Bushehr. Prince Farhãd Mirzã was fond of books and versed in traditional sciences, and he also had some knowledge of modern sciences and knew English (his disputable political attitude towards the British falls beyond the scope of this article). Of course, on the whole, neither he nor any of the other dignitaries of the time of Mohammad Shãh and the early reign of Nãsser-od-Din Shãh could match Prince Malek-Qãssem Mirzã, the Shah’s other uncle, in terms of modern knowledge and political awareness (which could reach undreamtof levels when it came to drafting a Constitution under Mohammad Shãh). Malek-Qãssem Mirzã the art-lover was proficient in cartography as well as in taking daguerreotype photographs and knew several foreign languages. He also had some medical knowledge and was aware of European events23. Such qualities could have made him an experienced archaeologist even in our time, but no evidence of his interest in this domain has as yet come to light.
At this period, the growing importance of archaeology had reached the point where specialists in this domain met at international congresses to deliver lectures and exchange views. The Russian government held one such congress in Tiflis in the autumn of 1882, that is, almost 120 years ago. The Caucasian authorities submitted an invitation to the Consulat Général de Perse in that city for a representative of the Persian government to participate in its sessions. The consul, ‘Alã’-os-Saltaneh, appointed Mirzã Rezã Khãn Dãnesh (later Arfa‘-od-Dowleh and Prince Arfa‘), his subordinate at the time, to take part in the meetings. I think that this was the first presence of an Iranian in an international archaeological congress. Arfa‘ recorded the events of that congress in his memoirs. He mentions that one of the benefits of his participation in it was the discovery of a mosque in Kutais. He writes that the building had an inscription from the Umayyad period, which he identified and read24. Arfa‘ was a great lover of antiquities and of ancient Iran25. In his palatial mansion, which he had built in Monaco between 1908 and 1912 and initially called “Dãneshgãh / Palace of Sciences” and later “Villa Esfahan”, there was a stone bas-relief of the Winged Man from Pasargadae (allegedly Cyrus) carved by Agliardi, a Roman sculptor who had sought refuge in Monaco during World War I (1914-18). Unfortunately, that mansion, which could have represented a powerful symbol of Iran in an important city abroad, was demolished some 15 years ago to be replaced by an apartment building. And the valuable objects in it, many of which (including cylinders of Persian music) bore great importance in terms of Iranian culture, were sold at an auction by Sotheby’s on June 28th 1983. From that collection, three huge flags bearing the Lion and Sun emblem were years later acquired by the author, but no information about the other objects, including the bas-relief mentioned, is available26.
16 - Villa Esfahan, residence of Prince Arfa‘ in Monaco. This mansion was initially called “University” and later “Villa Esfahan”. Watercolor painting, 1004 x 670 mm, work of Manfred Vaccari, dated 27 June 1915. As can be seen, this painting illustrated the cover of the catalogue published for the auction of the belongings of Prince Arfa‘, held in this house on 28 June 1982. Unfortunately, the house itself was demolished a little later and replaced by a residential apartment building. The architecture of the house is in the Mauresque style. From the viewpoint of westerners who had seen Ottoman, north African and Spanish houses, this type of building represented a so-called “Islamic” architecture. As far as the author knows, in Iran only the house of Yusef Adle (Qa’em-Maqam-ol-Molk, the father of Pr. Yahya Adle), built by Nikolai Markoff (1882-1957) opposite the Marble Palace in 1933, follows this style. Today, following its restoration by Eng. Mostafa Daneshvar, this building is used as the headquarters of the Expediency Council.
2- Second excavation at Khorheh, second photographic
campaign, creation of an excavation and survey team, May 31st 1892 dring Nãsser-od-Din Shãh’s journey to Persian Irãk (Central Iran), his retinue passed near Khorheh in 1892 and the Shah once again began thinking of the columns. This time he ordered a team to be formed to study these two columns. In his narrative, he briefly notes: “While We were in Mahallãt, We dispatched Hossein Khãn, Officer of the Royal Household and son of Ebrãhim Khãn Sadiq-e Khalvat, together with a photographer and ‘Ãref Khãn, the Translator of Ottoman Turkish, who is accompanying E‘temãd-os- Saltaneh, to Khorheh to make photographs of the ancient columns there as well as the village and its gardens”27. The mission to Khorheh is also mentioned by Mohammad-Hassan Khãn E‘temãdos- Saltaneh. On May31st 1892, he wrote in his diary: “... yesterday I sent Afandi [Efendi: i.e., ‘Ãref Khãn] to Khorheh and he has not come back yet.”28. In fact, ‘Ãref Khan, the photographer, and others were dispatched upon the Shah’s command, and E‘temãd-os- Saltaneh, the Minister of Publications and Director of the Translation Department, obeyed his order but did not take the initiative. These indications show that the team’s mission was serious, it lasted at least three days and two nights. According to the caption of photograph no. 21 (pl. 6), the team consisted of four persons, who arrived at the site on May 31st 1892. These were Hossein Khãn, ‘Ali Rezã Khãn Mahallãti, a relative of Hossein Khãn, Ãqã Yusef, one of His Majesty’s photographers personally present in photograph no. 21 (pl. 6), and ‘Ãref Khãn. In his architectural photographs, Yusef Khãn displays skill by placing a standing man to show the scale.
14- Khorheh. Safavid case tombstones adjoining Emamzadeh Shahzadeh Abolqassem, Shahzadeh Eshaq and Hakimeh Khatun. (Photograph by Mehdi Rahbar, ICHO)
‘Ãref Khãn was undoubtedly in charge of writing the report of the survey and he played an important role. As his name and his main job indicate, he had connections with the Ottoman Empire, and thus ought to have recognized the Ionic style of the columns, but apparently he did not. Perhaps Dr. Feuvrier’s indications on the Turkish origin of those buried at Khorheh ended up by misleading everyone. In his memoirs, he mentions the Greeks in connection with the remains at Khorheh, but apparently he failed to do so with the Persians; had he done so, surely the period to which the columns were finally attributed would have been roughly accurate. Photograph no.17 (pl. 8) shows that sixteen peasants were involved in the operations. The report of the mission is not available, and the Shah makes no mention of it either29. But Prince Manuchehr Mirzã, himself a photographer, and Mirzã Forughi, Mohammad- Hassan Khãn E‘temãd-os-Saltaneh’s secretary, who both went on the same day to see the ruins, related their observations to Nãsserod- Din Shãh’s French physician, Dr. Feuvrier, who accompanied the king during his voyage. In his memoirs, Dr. Feuvrier has included the accounts of both men — who perhaps also went to Khorheh upon the Shah’s and his minister’s order —, together with his own views and the opinion of E‘temãd-os-Saltaneh, who was an expert in antiquities and numismatics, as well as an amateur photographer (see below). It is due to these attitudes, inquiries and excavations, as well as the opinions expressed on the architecture, the graves and the types of skeletons during this expedition — as ordered by the king and the minister in charge, i.e. the government — that the excavations at Khorheh a centuary and a half to a century ago mark the dawn of Iranian scientific archaeological excavations, and differ from other excavations undertaken up to these periods.
Dr. Feuvrier’s memoirs were translated into Persian by the late ‘Abbãs Eqbãl, but as his translation is not sufficiently accurate30, another version is presented here [N.B. in this part in English]. About the interval between May 27th and June 1st 1892, Feuvrier writes that Prince Manuchehr Mirzã and Mirzã Forughi went to visit Khorheh during their five-day sojourn in Mahallãt. The fifth day of their stay coincided with May 31st 1892, that is, the same day as the date given for Nãsser-od-Din Shãh’s excavation in the photograph captions. Therefore, all these explorations and surveys have taken place together and the opinions expressed were submitted to the Shah and his minister (i.e., the government). The date conversion from the Christian to the lunar Muslim calendar in Eqbãl’s translation is mistaken by one day and thus fails to reflect the coincidence of the visit with the excavation: Eqbãl made May 27th 1892 coincide with Shavvãl 30th 1309, although it corresponds with Shavvãl 29th, the 30th of Shavvãl occurring only exceptionally, because this lunar month usually consists of only 29 days. After mentioning the village of Nimvar, from where he soon afterwards saw “fragments of columns and other ruins bearing evidence of a past quite different from the present”, Dr. Feuvrier writes30: “We rested five days at Mahalat... Prince Manuchehr Mirza, who is a highly skilled amateur photographer, took advantage of our stay at Mahalat to visit the ruins of Khorhé in the company of Mirza Floughi [Forughi], the secretary of Etemad es Saltaneh. They found no significant traces of buildings, but close to a kind of square pillar, heavily eroded at its base, they excavated and came across a quantity of human bones. The bones filled what seemed to them as a big basin as they recognized its brick-lined edge; but would not this closed space full of bones rather be one of those sarcophagi in unbaked brick in which the Greeks used to bury [their] dead after battles? Mirza Floughi brought me back a relatively intact skull and eight bronze or copper arrows retrieved from that ossuary.
15-Khorheh – Islamic graveyard discovered in the courtyard on the southeast of the avian of the Parthian building (Photograph by Mehdi Rahbar, ICHO
It must be said that, more than anything else, this skull resembles that of a Turk, and this justifies Etemad es Saltaneh’s opinion, who believed this ossuary to date to a period when the Turks forced the Persians to convert to Islam; because the Turks came this way from Arabia to Persia and had to fight battles in these regions. As to the metallic rods, these are 5 to 7 centimetres long, and their more or less blunted tips are pointed or dart-like. One of them has the particularity of having its end bent back on itself by a hammer blow, traces of which are visible. It is not rare to find such weapons with their ends deformed in this manner in ancient graveyards, the intention perhaps having been that they be no longer used after their owner’s death.”
Dr. Feuvrier has in his turn published a photograph of Khorheh ( p. 327), but since he never went there, it must be
attributed to Prince Manuchehr Mirzã, who is mentioned above In Mr. Rahbar’s opinion, since such a relic cannot be seen in Khorheh today, it has either been demolished or must be attributed to somewhere else. The picture actually shows the “square pillar, heavily eroded at its base” mentioned by Dr. Feuvrier, but it is not what Manuchehr Mirzã and Mirzã Forughi saw and reported to him. In fact, Dr. Feuvrier has either misunderstood the description of the two men, or recorded it inaccurately. The probability of a misunderstanding is more likely, because he has also erroneously understood what E‘temãd-os-Saltaneh may have told him about Arabs and Turks. In substance, Manuchehr Mirzã and Mirzã Forughi told Dr. Feuvrier that, following excavations near a column with its lower cylinder heavily eroded and standing on a parallelepipedal base, they found a grave made with unbaked bricks (or covered with unbaked bricks). The column, of course, refers to one of the two columns at Khorheh, near which excavations were carried out and which appear heavily eroded in the photographs (pls. 6 and 10).
Prince Manuchehr Mirzã must not be identified with Manuchehr Khãn ‘Akkãsbãshi (the King’s Photographer), who was his contemporary and whose biography Zokã’ has included in his History of Photography32. In this book, Zokã’ does not mention Prince Manuchehr Mirzã as a photographer, but in his unpublished notes, he writes: “Manuchehr Mirzã, son of Masrur Mirzã, son of Teymur Mirzã, joined the Translation Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in May 1902 and was from 1903 to 1905 the agent for this ministry in Shiraz. He was thoroughly familiar with French language and culture.” Dr. Feuvrier reproduced his portrait on page 331 of his book (p. 267 of the Persian translation). E‘temãdos- Saltaneh, who also did photographic work, was a friend of Manuchehr Mirzã. Two months after their sojourn at Khorheh he wrote on the August 4th 1892 in his diaries: “... accompanied by Manuchehr Mirzã, I once again travelled to the village of Ashtiyãn, and we took photographs of that old man and the village”33. A picture of the old man, surely taken by Manuchehr Mirzã, is reproduced in Feuvrier’s book (p. 359). The Shah himself writes about their journey to Khorheh: “We did not go to see the dam [of Nimvar]. Instead, E‘temãd-os-Saltaneh and Prince Manuchehr Mirzã went and took photographs of it which they presented to us” 34. For unknown reasons, E‘temãd-os-Saltaneh did not personally go to Khorheh, otherwise matters would have been explained more clearly. If he had seen the columns, he would certainly have noticed their Greek style and, in recording his memories of Sunday May 29th 1892 (p. 932, i.e., two days before the excavations at Khorheh), he would have attributed Greek origins to Khorheh, rather than to the mosque of Mahallãt: “I went to the mosque of Mahallãt, which is now in ruins. It is very old. Originally, two thousand and three hundred years ago, it was a Greek temple of idolatry, but it was transformed into a mosque after the victory of Islam. The way its prayer niche (mihrab) is built and other elements indicate that it was not constructed during the Islamic period.” (see a picture of the mosque and its mihrab certainly taken by Manuchehr Mirzã in Feuvrier’s memoir, p. 329). It is not impossible that E‘temãd-os-Saltaneh replaced with “Yunãni (Ionian, i.e., Greek), the term “Rumi (Roman)” that he had heard on the site. For most people, especially in architecture, the term rumi also covered yunãni. Nor is it excluded that the local inhabitants of the region confused the two places, attributing to Mahallãt what actually was true of Khorheh, about 18kms away.
In conclusion, the intricacy of the problem of Khorheh did not allow the investigations to come to a coherent and final conclusion, and this situation continues to the present, while Mr. Rahbar’s research has not yet come to an end. In the research carried out during the reign of Nãsser-od-Din Shãh, uncertainties and contradictions are found in the album captions and in Dr. Feuvrier’s memoirs as well as in the other documents. These can be
summarized as follows:
1 - Perhaps a column, but at least a grave and the arrows therein were somehow connected with ancient Greece in Dr. Feuvrier’s opinion, whereas the Persians believed them to date back to the time of Dãrã, to be identified with Darius, or maybe more precisely Darius III (see captions of pls. 2 to 4, dated 1859). These attributions were not that wrong, but:
2 - In his anthropological examination, Dr. Feuvrier identified a skull as that of a Turk, which is at odds with the Greek origins he had attributed to the tomb. It was probably for the same reason that the columns on photographs dated 1892 (pls. 5 to 10) were mistakenly assumed to be Seljuk works. Mr. Rahbar believes that the columns date back to 150 BC and that the graveyard and all the Islamic graves therein belong to the 14th century AD, which concurs with E‘temãd-os-Saltaneh’s and Dr. Feuvrier’s views about their Turkish origin. In the worst imaginable eventuality, Dr. Feuvrier’s anthropological examination of the skull might be considered as mere “showmanship”, but raising the question here is of no avail, because what really matters is that the need for such an action was felt at the time, and that was the case.
3 - The idea of Turkish origins was E‘temãd-os-Saltaneh’s as well, and it was probably he who told Dr. Feuvrier about the Arab invasion and the much later arrival of the Turks in central Iran. Dr. Feuvrier, who was unfamiliar with Iranian history, misunderstood the sequence of events and recorded them in the confused manner we observed. Raising anthropological or ethnological origins on the basis of bone remains is interesting and marks an innovation in Iran. Racial considerations were widely discussed across the world at the time. The Russian Khanikoff, who had formerly visited Iran, was also involved in these matters, and the Comte de Gobineau, the famous French writer and ambassador to Persia in the early years of Nãsser-od-Din Shãh’s reign, who was reputed to be pro-German, had expressed his racial opinions in a romantic literary style. Nazism later exploited his writings, but that is a separate matter. The study of bones, excluding any political aims, is one of the main fields of present-day archaeology.
4 - It is strange that neither ‘Ãref Khãn nor E‘temãd-os-Saltaneh seem to have noticed the Greek style of the columns, because both were polyglots and aware of Europe. In addition, E‘temãdos- Saltaneh was also the foremost Iranian expert on the Parthians. His history on that dynasty, although written with the aim of demonstrating the unfounded Parthian origins of the Qajars, as he himself admits, was nevertheless fruitful in scientific terms. For reasons mentioned previously relating to the discovery of pre-Islamic Iran, and in view of the ever greater glory that was attributed to old Persia and the Aryans to the detriment of the Turks and Arabs, Nãsser-od-Din Shãh was no longer very fond of his Turkish origins. So when one day E‘temãd-os-Saltaneh blurted out, obsequiously as he himself admits, that the Qajars were of Parthian origin, the Shah immediately ordered him to write a book on the subject. E‘temãd-os-Saltaneh later expressed his remorse at having come out with that assertion, but it was too late and he had no choice but to write the book, which was a good one for its time except for its conclusion35.
As already mentioned, we must assume that the reason why both Dr. Feuvrier and E‘temãd-os-Saltaneh failed to associate the columns directly with Greece and the Parthians was that they had actually never seen them or even their photographs. Otherwise they could not have missed the obvious connection, particularly since they were intellectually predisposed and prepared to notice such things. Indeed, about a day before the excavation at Khorheh, both the Shah’s and E‘temãd-os-Saltaneh’s attention had been drawn to a Sassanian or Sassanian-looking coin, prompting the Shah to write in his memoirs: “We reached the field of Sost Kondor... good water was made to flow down from the upper spring ... In the evening we were strolling on the mountain overlooking the spring ... Maghrur Khãn the eunuch found a large silver coin in the valley and presented it to Us. We had it read by E‘temãd-os-Saltaneh. It was a coin of Anushirvãn. This is very strange”36. I do not know to what extent the amateur numismatist E‘temãd-os-Saltaneh was familiar with ancient scripts, but Nãsser-od-Din Shãh himself was unhappy about his inability to read ancient texts and in another occasion wrote: “At the upper end of this valley there is a big stone with two rings of cuneiform inscriptions. We went and looked at it. It is quite intact. Traces of a ruined castle were also visible atop the mountain overlooking these inscriptions, and I was very weary and disheartened about being unable to read those inscriptions.”37
5 - As concerns the sarcophagus or the ossuary, it appears that the excavators came across a grave of the type seen in Rey and Bastãm, which was built with bricks in the form of a large case buried under the ground. This type of grave was used at least from Samanid, Ziyarid and Buyid times until the Mongol period. It could reach larger dimensions, acquiring the form of a small cellar and used as collective graves (Zuzan, Torbat-e Jãm, Bastãm, Rey). Mr. Rahbar’s view, who attributes the graveyard here and the tombs next to the Emãmzãdeh at Khorheh to the 14th century AD, does not conflict with the existence of a sarcophagus-shaped grave. The photographs do not show these voluminous graves, and the bones displayed by the excavator in photograph 22 (pl. 7) ndicate the discovery of an individual grave of the type excavated by Mr. Rahbar (see illustrations 83, 84, 95 and 96 of his text). It is possible that even the sarcophagus-shaped grave was in fact of that kind, and the first excavators took its lahad (bricks covering the space where the body is lying) for parts of such a small construction.
6 - In the discussion concerning the arrows, Dr. Feuvrier emphasizes their old age and type, but mentions no date. He expressed an opinion about their bent points which seems admissible by itself, but Mr. Rahbar’s survey indicates that the graves are Islamic and that the arrows are therefore unrelated with the grave in which they were found. The arrows were probably located beside the grave or within the earth dumped on the corpses. No such objects were found in Mr. Rahbar’s excavations.
7 - A systematic excavation based on a geometric grid following present-day standards was not carried out in Khorheh. Instead, earth was removed in places deemed to be important, that is along the direction of the columns.
8 - Neither Nãsser-od-Din Shãh’s team nor anyone of his entourage have expressed an opinion about why these relics were built, and no mention of them is made in books written during his reign. The photographs taken in 1859 (Pl. 2) show that the site consisted of a flat and shallow open area in front of the columns (east of the pavilion/temple) in which fragments of construction materials were scattered, and that no considerable building therefore existed under it. Hence, one can conclude that this environment consisted solely of an open space or courtyard. A flat area approximately 2 meters above the location of the columns existed to the west, parallel with the columns (Pl. 3), which is no longer visible in the photographs taken in 1892 (Pl. 5). This elevated area comprised the pavilion/temple whose vestiges were excavated in later years by Hãkemi and Rahbar. If this flat hillock had not been removed in parts between 1859 and 1892, the building’s walls could have been retrieved up to its roof level or perhaps even higher (see Rahbar’s fig. 98). The function of this building has remained unknown, and today it is difficult to establish any correspondence between Khor b. Arvand’s pavilion as described by Hassan Qomi and the present state of the excavations. Khor’s name nevertheless explains the origin of the name of the present locality. The existence of this relic beside mineral water springs evokes, on the one hand, Takhte Soleymãn on a smaller scale; and, on the other, the fact that the medical virtues of the waters were already so well-known in 896 or 901 AD that according to Hassan Qomi, Amir Borun-e Tork, the emir of Qom, decided to build a caravansary there38. It thus seems evident that the Parthian building must have been the heart of an ensemble connected with the springs, and must have consisted of a palace, a temple and a place of rest or caravansary for ailing people or pilgrims, and the temple must have been dedicated to one of the deities of water, medicine, or both, in the Irano-Greek tradition prevailing during the Parthian period.
In science, what is important is curiosity; that questions be constantly asked, and that attempts at answering them be made on the basis of rational data. Since even certainty must be challenged, mistakes are not too important, because the way for reconsideration remains always open. In Khorheh, a process of this kind was developed, not absolutely but relatively — even if unconsciously or affectedly: initially about one and half century ago, in 1859, the columns attracted attention by way of curiosity rather than for financial raisons, excavations were undertaken and the columns were photographed (an operation quite progressive in those days), the photographs were gathered in an album which was placed in the Imperial Library (in a way a governmental library as the King was the State)39, and an answer was given to a question (their attribution to the time of Darius). Thirty three years later, a team of experts — as we would call them today — were appointed by the Government (the Shah and his relevant minister), in which the best specialists and authorities in the Shah’s entourage were directly or indirectly involved40; therefore a novel and positive process was taking place. All these elements show the existence of a positive and dynamic attitude at least in some quarters within the cultural and scientific framework of that period; the establishment and activities of the Dãr-ol-Fonun being one of its other aspects. The operations at Khorheh illustrate the continuation of the intellectual approach of Nãsser-od-Din Shãh’s reign, the first spark of which — archaeologically speaking — lit up at Persepolis. Although the first persons involved in the photographic project of Persepolis were Europeans (Richard followed by Pesce), they worked at the service of the Persian government, remained in Persia and died there. The 1850 and 1858 photographic projects of Persepolis were either carried out upon Nãsser-od-Din Shãh’s personal orders or in view of attracting his attention within the cultural framework of the early years of his reign — they took place 150 and 141 years ago, respectively. The efforts made at benefiting from modern sciences, which had begun at the time of ‘Abbãs Mirzã and were pursued by Mohammad Shãh and Hãjj Mirzã Ãghãssi, acquired a systematic nature and an accelerated pace at the time of Nãsser-od-Din Shãh and Amir Kabir, but this pace slowed down later for reasons beyond the scope of the present article. In the history of Iranian archaeology, it was the sum of behaviours, curiosities, excavations and deductions concerning the columns, the grave and the type of the skeleton uncovered under the Shah’s — i.e. the government’s — orders that made the Khorheh excavations over a century ago the forerunner of an Iranian, scientific and governmental approach in this field. Those features distinguish the excavations at Khorheh from other early similar works (whether foreign or Iranian) in Persia and characterize them as a remarkable turning point on a global scale.
Revised plan of the Pavilion (or the temple?) at Khorheh after Mr. Rahbar’s excavations, 1996 (ICHO). A: Main Open Room provided with one wooden central column standing on a stone base; B: Eyvan with 6 stone columns (2 still standing); C: Courtyard; D: Main entrance; E: Corridor
Analytical Description of the Photographs and Images of Khorheh in the Photothèque of the Golestan Palace, Tehran A- Photographs of excavations carried out during the reign of Nãsser-od-Din Shãh in the summer of 1859, preserved in Album 679/7703. Photographs attributed to Rezã, the first professional Iranian photographer. First photographs of an archaeological excavation in Iran.
Technically, photograph no. 12 of this album shows that the pictures were made on glass rather than paper negatives. Unfortunately, these glass originals have not been found as yet.
Pl. 1- Pages 1 and 2 of the Vaqãye‘-e Ettefãqiyeh, the official journal of the Imperial Persian Government, no 64, dated Thursday Rajab 2th 1268 (Sichqãn-yil) / April 22nd 1852.
The news of the excavations at Susa are published on page 2, together with a picture of a coin dated from the year 105 AH (723-24 AD). These reports were published at the time of the end of the first British excavation season at Susa, but they are not mentioned.
Pl. 2- Photograph 8 of the album: “Image of the stopover at Khorrheh. 5”.
Albumen print, yellow-brown coloured, w. 230 x h. 169mm. Technical factors have discoloured the photograph and its apparent colour is not due to copying, but is so originally.
General view of Khorheh, inscribed “Khorreh”. Number 5 here, or numbers 4 and 106 on the next two photographs, indicate their location in the initial album of the Soltãniyeh expedition, which was later on taken apart to create the present album. The camera was set 20 to 25 meters away from the south by southeast corner of the pavilion/temple and the photograph was taken north by north-westward. On the right hand side of the photograph, towards the northeast, one can see Emãmzãdeh Shãhzãdeh Ab-ol-Qãssem, the conical roof of which was neither shaped as it is today (see Rahbar’s fig. 61), nor as it appeared in 1892 (see pl. 5 here, photograph 19 of album 113/7134). A semi-ruined seigniorial building also appears on the photograph, between the Emãmzãdeh and the columns. The area in front of the columns (east of the pavilion/temple), in which fragments of construction materials are scattered, was flat and shallow as today. Therefore, no considerable construction must have existed below the surface of this area and one may conclude that it consisted solely of an open space or courtyard. The elevated surface on the left-hand side of the columns (on the northwest) is not visible here, but does appear in the next photograph. The excavators, who are farmers, are in a shaded depression and do not appear clearly, except for the one standing next to the column, but the fairly considerable amount of earth they have removed from beside the column is clearly visible. The heavily eroded lower part of the column’s cylindrical shaft is more visible in the next photograph. In order to better understand the area, particularly the important changes brought about in later years, it is advisable for the viewer to compare this picture with pl. 5 (photograph 19 in album 113/7134 of 1892).
Pl. 3- Photograph 7 of the album: “Image of the stopover at Khorreh. These columns are said to date back to the
time of Dãrã [Darius]. 4”. Albumen print, yellow-brown coloured, w. 234 x h. 171mm. Here the photographer has set his camera a little further away, slightly to the east of the previous location, and turned its lens northward and slightly to the west to take his picture. The area covered by the vestiges at the time, as compared with photographs taken 33 years later in 1892 (pls. 5 to 10), is distinctly less eroded.
In particular, the flat surface situated some 2 meters above the columns’ site, on their left hand (west) side and parallel with them, is no longer visible in the photographs of 1892. This area can be seen on pl. 5, below the feet of the excavators posing immobile for the photographer. The destruction of the eastern part of the 2 meters-high elevation, where there stood a pavilion/temple the site of which was excavated in past years by the late Hãkemi and then Mr. Rahbar, caused irreparable damages between 1859 and 1892. Had this not happened, the walls of that building could have been retrieved up to the ceiling (see illustration 98 of Mr. Rahbar’s text) or even higher up on the south and west of the area. The destruction of this area must not have occurred on purpose and can be attributed to the removal by farmers of untouched rich soil to their cultivated fields. The flat area in front of the camera and on the right hand (east) side of the columns, visible here and in the previous photograph, has been replaced by a wheat or barley field in photograph no. 19 of album 113/7134 (pl. 5 here). Eleven farmers are visible moving about; their clothing, which looks quite presentable in these pictures, became even better in 1892. It shows that the economic situation at Khorheh was flourishing in those times. Note that the 2 photographs displayed here are the first pictures of excavators busy working on an archaeological site in Iran.
Pl. 4- Folio 97, photograph 106 of the album: Pencil drawing of the two columns at Khorreh,
bearing no caption. The number “84” appears at the bottom left corner of the picture. h. 357 x l. 221 mm. Unsigned and undated.
As the drawing bears no inscription, both the name of the artist and the date at which it was drawn are unknown; but as the person who did it was relatively unskilled and not quite familiar with the rules of Italian perspective, and, on the other hand, as this pencil drawing has been included in a royal album, it might be that it was made by Nãsser-od-Din Shãh himself, but this is not certain. It might be presumed that the drawing was made from a photograph, but the lack of accuracy also invalidates this assumption. The inaccuracy of the drawing precludes its utilization for scientific purposes, but its very existence again shows Nãsser-od-Din Shãh’s interest in archaeological remains and graphic arts.
B. Photographs of excavations carried out during the reign of Nãsser-od-Din Shãh in 1892, preserved in Album 113/7134. Second album of a set of six on Nãsser-od-Din Shãh’s travel to Persian Irãk. Photographer: Ãqã Yusef, H. M.’s Photographer.
All the photographs were made on glass plates cut in Iran and a number of them were identified during the latest reorganization of the Golestãn Palace’s Phothothèque in autumn 1998 and winter 1999. The clue to the fact that these plates were cut in Iran appears in their non-uniform dimensions and that they are not absolutely rectangular. On the average, they measure 179 by 129 millimetres, equivalent to the current 13 by 18 centimetres format. The measurement of the plates in the Phothothèque always has to show the dimensions on the left and lower side of a glass, when it is correctly viewed, that is, with its sensitive face on the other side of the glass and its bare side facing the viewer.
Pl. 5- Photograph 19 of the album: “Panorama of the village of Khorheh and the two columns mentioned.
4th of Zi-qa‘deh in the year 1309, Luy-yil” / 31 May 1892. Glass plate no. 5094, w. 179 x h. 128mm. Both the photograph and the glass plate are well preserved. Photograph: light yellow-brown, w. 167 x h. 122mm. Trimmed contact print.
The picture looks towards the Emãmzãdeh (north- eastward) and shows the columns in profile (see pl. 2). A wheat or barley field (courtyard) is visible on the right hand (southeast) side of the columns and the two areas are separated by a brook. The tall flat area that existed on the left hand (northwest) side of the columns (see pl. 3) is visible here but has lost its height due to excavations made between the two photographic sessions. The excavators are seen here and there standing on top of it. Some of the space between the columns and the photographer standing to the southwest of them consists of ploughed soil, and the remainder is not cultivated. Around the columns and to the west, thirteen labourers have interrupted their work and are posing for the photographer.
Pl. 6- Photograph 21 of the album:
“The two columns mentioned, photographed at close range to show their diameter. The personalities standing there are gathered upon His Majesty’s command to investigate the state of the two stone columns assumed to date from the reign of Seljuk kings. 4th of Zi-qa‘deh in the year 1309, Luy-yil” / May 31th 1892. Glass plate no 3058, w. 179 x h.129mm. Both the glass plate and the photograph are well preserved. Photograph: light yellow brown with a faint violet hue, w. 178 x h. 122mm. Contact print.
Four men are standing between the two columns of Khorheh and the photograph was taken from a point between the threshold of the pavilion/temple and the columns, looking towards the southeast, that is the courtyard transformed into a field. The names of the personalities present are given below the photograph, from right to left, as: “‘Ali Rezã Khãn Mahallãti, a relative of Hossein Khãn; Hossein Khãn, the Officer of the Royal Household; Ãqã Yusef, H. M.’s Photographer; ‘Ãref Khãn Eslãmboli, the Translator”. Yusef, the photographer, is staring at the camera, waiting for the photograph to be taken. ‘Ãref Khãn, wearing a white beard, is holding a paper on which to write the report of the survey operations. He appears to play the main role in the team dispatched on site, but on the whole, the opinions of such advisors as E‘temãdos-Saltaneh and Dr. Feuvrier bore greater weight with the Shah.‘Ali Rezã Khãn and Hossein Khãn, who are from Mahallãt, are certainly present as guides and to help the party. The photographer’s assertion that the two columns belong to the Seljuk period is probably based on an interpretation of Dr. Feuvrier’s conclusions, who attributed Turkish origins to the skull discovered at Khorheh (see also pl. 7). All around the right hand (south) side column has been excavated to a depth of 30 centimetres, without reaching its parallelepipedal base. The extent of the erosion of the columns’ stones is clearly visible. The photographer is familiar with the issue of scale in architecture and archaeology, and writes that he has taken the photograph at close range so as to show the columns’ diameter [in comparison with the personages] (also see pl. 9).
Pl. 7- Photograph 22 of the album:
“A villager of Khorheh who has excavated around the base of the stone columns. After an extensive search, nothing but bones came to light. 4th Zi-qa‘deh in the year 1309, Luy-yil” / May 31st1892. Glass plate no. 3797, w. 180 x h.130mm. Both the plate and the photograph are well preserved. Photograph: light yellow brown with a faint violet hue, w. 164 x h. 124mm Contact print.
A mature man is sitting behind bones he has gathered into a pile. The need to examine a skeleton in its original state of discovery and at the exact point where it was excavated had not yet been understood. Around him brick fragments are scattered on the ground. All the bones, including a complete skull and a pair of thighbones and shinbones, are entirely intact and at least one full leg, with its thighbone and shinbone still joined, is visible. The fact that these bones are well preserved recalls Dr. Feuvrier’s description mentioned above, that they do not appear to be very ancient. The Islamic origins of the bones is confirmed by Mr. Rahbar’s excavations. He attributes the skeletons dug up in the Parthian pavilion/temple,to which these belong, to the 15th century.
Pl. 8- Photograph 17 of the album:
“Villagers of Khorheh gathered to excavate around the two stone columns. Made of several drums, these columns are located at the village of Khorheh, three parasangs away from Mahallãt. They are said to be remains of the Seljuk kingdom. They have been photographed by delegation from Hossein Khãn, Officer of the Royal Household. 4th Zi-qa‘deh in the year 1309, Luyyil”/ May 31st 1892. The glass plate does not exist or has not been found yet. Photograph: light yellow-brown, w. 172 x h. 120mm.Trimmed contact print.
The picture was taken from atop the excavated hill (pavilion/temple) towards the east (the courtyard which has been transformed into a field).
The photograph was made at the bidding of Hossein Khãn, at the end of the excavation, because on the northwest of the columns (in front of the camera) the earth had been removed in their alignment, whereas in Photograph 6 (Photograph 21 of the album) no such removal is visible, which shows that the excavation had not begun. The mass of earth removed is visible in front of the feet of the labourers. Fifteen labourers, all farmers from the village of Khorheh, are standing in a row in front of the columns, with two of them holding shovels and another sitting near thirteen young boys. In comparison with photograph 3, here the diminished height of the pavilion/temple hill on its southern and south-eastern sides is visible, perhaps reaching two meters. Behind the columns (on the east), wheat or barley fields occupy a flat area (courtyard) which existed southeast of the building and is visible in photograph 3. The farmers appear well-dressed (see also pl. 3).
Pl. 9- Photograph 18 of the album:
“Two columns in stone made of several drums in the village of Khorheh, 3 parasangs away from Mahallãt, which are remains of the Seljuk period. 4th Zi-qa‘deh in the year 1309, Luy-yil”/ May 31st 1892. Plate no. 3870, w. 180 x h. 129mm. Both the plate and the photograph are well preserved. Photograph: light yellow-brown, w. 165 x h. 120mm. Trimmed contact print.
The picture shows almost the same scene as the preceding one (pl. 8, photograph 17 in the album), but the columns are more visible and the camera looks more towards the northeast. An old man with a white beard has been included to provide the scale of the columns’ height (also see pl. 6).
Pl.10. Photograph 20 of the album:
The same two stone columns and gardens and mountains of the village of Khorheh. 4th zigq’adeh in the year 1309, Luy-yil/May 31st 1892. The plae has not been found. Photograph light yellow brown w. 169*h.125cm. Contact print.
Close-range photography of the columns, taken looking East-East-South in the direction of the wheat or barley field. This picture of Khorheh’s lush orchards and fields which are noteworthy wa taken on Nasseraldin Shah’s strict order (see the text). 1/3rd of the lower drum of the column clearly appears eroded. Documents related to its restoration in 1955 are reproduced in Mr. Rahbar’s text. Andre Godard briefly notes that these columns were long believed to belong to a Seleucid temple, but that this assumption was not confirmed in the investigations undertaken by the Iranian Archaeological Department at Khorheh in 1956. No conins or inscriptions proving the existence of an important installation at the site were found.41
1. I hereby apologize for the deficiencies appearing in the footnotes, but since this text was prepared under different conditions of time and place, such shortcomings were unavoidable.
2. Concerning this item and its place in the evolution of the understanding of the past, see the English translation of A. Schnapp, The Discovery of the Past, London, 1996, pp. 13-18 (translated from the French text printed in Paris in 1993). This book contains a good — albeit unconsciously Western-oriented — description of the ways of retracing the past, and their evolution, which brought about the creation of museums and modern archaeology.
3. Concerning these excavations from the viewpoint of the British, see J. E. Curtis, “William Kenneth Loftus and his Excavations at Susa”, Iranica Antica, vol. XXVIII, 1993, pp. 1-55.
4. Unless I am mistaken, Jefferson’s text was first published in France, but it can nevertheless be found in T. Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, New York and London, 1964. Alan Schnapp (see footnote 2) has published Jefferson’s text together with an illustration which evokes his works (pp. 276, 368-370).
5. J. Boucher de Parthes, Antiquités Celtiques et Antédiluviennes, Paris, 1847; see also the illustrations published by Schnapp, pp. 312-13, 372 and the text pp. 271-72.
6. Apart from Alan Schnapp’s studies mentioned in footnote 2, and particularly as concerns the issues raised in these few lines, see C. Renfrew and P. Bahn, Archaeology, Theories, Methods and Practice, 2nd ed., London, 1996. The topics discussed here are given in the form of tables at the beginning of this book, which are most useful for a better understanding of the issues mentioned.
7. Apart from John Curtis’ article about Loftus, mentioned above (footnote 3 ; the assessment on Loftus appears on page 15 of his article), see also its translation into French which thanks to other accompanying articles places Loftus as an individual who began working in Susa before the French, particularly Jacques de Morgan : J. E. Curtis, “Les fouilles de W. K. Loftus à Suse”, Une Mission en Perse, 1897-1912 [Jacques de Morgan], ed. N. Chevalier, Paris, 1997, pp. 36-46.
8. A biography of Moshir-od-Dowleh is provided by Mehdi Bãmdãd, Tãrikh-e rejãle Irãn-e qorun-e 12, 13, 14, 6 vols., vol. 1, pp. 241-4.
9. Mirzã Mohammad-Taqi Lessãn-ol-Molk Sepehr, Nãssekh-ot-Tavãrikh, ed. J. Qã’em- Maqãmi, 3 vols. under a single cover, Tehran, 1958, vol. 3, p. 183.
10. James Morier, A Second Journey through Persia, Armenia and Asia Minor to Constantinople between the Years 1810-1816, London, 1818, pp. 68-69, 75, 114. See also on these adventures a short but important article written by J. Curtis, “A Chariot Scene from Persepolis”, Iran, vol. XXXVI, 1998, pp. 45-51.
11. Dr. Khalil Saqafi (A‘lam-od-Dowleh), Maqãlãt-e Gunãgun, Tehran, 1949, pp. 92-3. For a biography of Richard, see C. Adle and Y. Zoka, “Notes et Documents sur la photographie Iranienne et son histoire, I. Les premiers daguerréotypistes, 1844-1854/1260-1270”, Studia Iranica, vol. 12/2, pp. 249-280, in particular pp. 252-262. In a book recently published by the Sackler Museum (Freer/Smithsonian, Washington) about Antoine Sevruguin, I was quoted from my article in French as stating that since Richard did not consider daguerreotypes appropriate for photographing Persepolis he desisted from the task, whereas the problem was purely a financial one, as I have explained in that paper. For the book see F. N. Bohrer (ed.), Sevruguin and the Persian Image, Photographs of Iran, 1870-1930, p. 20. There are other inaccuracies in this book as well, such as the attribution of Ahmad Shah’s portrait to Malijak (fig. 12), but their analysis is beyond the scope of this paper.
12. Album no. 335/7356 of the Photothèque of the Golestan Palace, which I am endeavouring to publish within the framework of the history of the origins of photography in Iran, Publications of the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization, Golestan Palace.
13. Mohammad-Hassan Khãn Sani‘-od-Dowleh (E‘temãd-os-Saltaneh), Mer’ãt-olboldãn,vol. 3, p. 20, apud., Yahyã Zokã’. Repeatedly, and for the last time in p. 210 of the above-mentioned book on Sevruguin (see footnote 11), the name of Carlhian is erroneously given as Carlhiée. The inaccuracy has its origin in the text of the late Colonel Qã’em-Maqãmi in whose defence it must be said that the French Colonel Brogniart, who wrote on Carlhian, had an awful handwriting. This fact can truly justify the misreading in Qã’em-Maqãmi’s days when Carlhian was a completely unknown figure. In the same book about Sevruguin it is noted that “Carlhiée” and Blocqueville were the photographers of the French military mission who came to Iran in 1857. Carlhian and Blocqueville did not come to Iran together and did not even belong to that French military mission, but Carlhian travelled in the company of the French military mission which came to Iran in 1858, and not 1857.
14. For a biography of Ãqã Rezã, see Zokã’, Tãrikh-e ‘akkãssi, pp. 47-57.
15. Hassan B. Qomi, Tãrikh-e Qom, tr. Hassan B. Hassan ‘Abd-ol-Malek Qomi, ed. Sayyed Jalãl-ed-Din Tehrãni, Tehran, 1982, p. 68.
16. Probably, one of the four pavilions is none other than the present pavilion or temple with its two standing columns, and if the elevations surrounding that building, particularly the one located approximately 25 meters south of its columns, are excavated perhaps the key to this enigma will be found.
17. Nãsser-od-Din Shãh, Safar-nãme-ye ‘Atabãt, ed. I. Afshãr, Tehran, 1984, p. 45. The Shah’s manuscript is less literary than the printed text which was originally published under his reign. The manuscript also bears allusions to private matters which have been omitted in the printed texts. Concerning the present quotation, the differences are not important except that the “wings” are omitted. The Shah writes: “ ... a thick gold ring was found on the top of which there was a horned bull with two holes on its back like perfume containers” (Nãsser-od-Din Shãh, Shahryãr-e Jãddeh-hã, Safar-nãmeh-ye Nãsserod- Din Shãh be ‘Atabãt, ed. M.R. ‘Abbãssi and P. Badi‘i, Tehran, 1983, p. 31.
18. From the documents of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs published by Khãn-Bãbã Bayãni, Panjãh Sãl Tãrikh-e Irãn dar Dowreh-ye Nãsseri , 6 vols., Tehran, 1996, vol. 4, p. 214; also see here the caption of pl. 8.
19. This is a long story. Just as they suddenly came to light in Paris, these letters once again disappeared without anyone knowing what they were all about and what happened to them. But as I had photocopied them and later showed these copies to Mr Nader Nasiri-Moghaddam, he was able to study them carefully. These letters will be published in the future by the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization, as per the orders of its director, Mr. Beheshti.
20. Arman Stepanian, “Barressi-ye zibã’i-shenãkhti-e ãsãr-e ‘akkãssãn-e Qãjãr”, in ‘Aks Monthly, no 140, 12th year, November 1998, pp. 21-39. Antoine Sevruguin’s biography was written by Y. Zokã’ in Tãrikh-e ‘ãkkãssi, pp. 136-141, and a book has been published about him to which reference was made in footnote 11.
21. The de Morgan question caused a scandal in France, particularly for financial reasons, and the matter was even raised in parliament and eventually led to his retirement. Much has been written about de Morgan, but here we only refer to Pierre Amiet’s text in a book published about de Morgan three years ago by the Louvre: P. Amiet, “Bilan Archéologique de la Délégation en Perse”, Une Mission en Perse, 1897-1912, ed. N. Chevalier, Paris, 1997, pp. 94-125. Also, thanks to the efforts of Davood Karimlou, the reports of Haydar Mirzã, Mostafã Manshur-os-Saltaneh and Hossein have been published in Tehran in 1999 by The Institute for Political and International Studies of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, under the title of Tãrãj-e mirãs-e melli, jeld 1, Hei’at-e Farãnsavi, 1329-1315Q / 1897-1911M / Plundering of National Heritage, vol. 1, French Mission, 1897-1911 A. D. / 1315-1329 H. G. It is worth noticing that photographs were made at Susa by Mozaffar-od-Din Shãh’s order to Haydar Mirzã (document 22, pp. 52, 53 & 63 of the book). A selection of these pictures to which Haydar Mirzã refers was offered by him to the king in 1899. This album is now preserved in the Photothèque of the Golestãn Palace under the number 117/2512. Contrary to the author’s impression in the past and Zokã’s assertion in Tãrikh-e ‘akkãssi (p. 144), the report by Haydar Mirzã proves that he did not take the photographs himself, but rather used the services of an unnamed photographer from Esfahan. In the caption of the photograph on fol. 8r of the album, Haydar Mirzã again vituperates against de Morgan, writing: “Monsieur de Morgan refrains from handing over photographs of anything that bears cuneiform inscriptions and this photograph has accidentally occurred amid this servant’s photographs”. The French archaeological operations in Iran constitute the subject of Mr. Nãder Nasiri- Moghaddam’s very interesting PhD thesis in the University of Paris, to be completed and published in the near future.
22. Vaqãye‘-e ettefãqiyeh, collection of reports of British secret agents in southern Iranian provinces from 1291 to 1322 AH, ed. Sa‘idi Sirjãni, Tehran, 1983, pp. 68, 70, 78 and 79. Contrary to ‘Ãref Khãn (see infra n. 28), Mirza Bãqer cannot be considered as a professional excavator.
23. For a biography of Malek-Qãssem Mirzã, see pp. 262-275 of my article in French mentioned in footnote 11. The drafting of the constitution is not mentioned therein and is a recent discovery of Mr Nãder Nassiri, mentioned above. Y. Zokã and K. Emãmi have extensively written about Malek-Qãssem Mirzã in Tãrikh-e ‘akkãssi, but he in fact never set foot in Europe and the photographs in the album he presented to Nãsser-od-Din Shãh were neither made by him nor taken at the time, but rather belonged to 1280/1863-84.
24. Rezã Arfa‘, Khãterãt-e Prince Arfa‘, ed. ‘Ali Dehbãshi, Tehran, 1999, pp. 75-77.
25. Ibid., pp. 79, 219, 395, 210 and 525. Arfa‘s mention of “a precious jewel discovered in Hamedãn” is interesting.
26. About the fate of this mansion, also see Parviz Adle, Man, Seyyed-e owlãd-e Peyghambar, Navãde-ye Vazir-e Jang-e Amrikã (I..., Descendant of the Prophet and the US War Secretary), pub. Ketab Book Store, Los Angeles 1999, pp. 25-26. As concerns the auction of the objects in the “Dãneshgãh”, or “Villa Esfahan”, see Sotheby Parke Bernet Monaco S. A., Collection de la Villa Esfahan, Monte Carlo, June 28th 1983. The threecoloured flags bearing the Lion and Sun emblem were then auctioned under no. 1734 and acquired by the Parisian antiquarian Jean Soustiel. After his death in the summer of 1999, the flags were again auctioned by his heirs and this time no one bought them, not even the Iranians who were present either in person or by telephone! After that shameful event, the author went after them and eventually bought all three flags, but that is another story (Colléction Jean Soustiel, December 6th 1999, Drouot-Richelieu, lot 456).
27. Nãsser-od-Din Shãh, Safar-e ‘Arãq, lithogrpahy, Tehran,1311/1893-94, p. 42.
28. Mohammad-Hassan-Khan E’temãd-os-Saltaneh, Ruznãmeh-ye khãterãt, ed. I. Afshãr, Tehran, 1966, p. 932. ‘Ãref Khãn Estãnboli, or ‘Ãref Khan Afandi, or “Afandi” in brief, died on February 10th 1893 (ibid., p. 975). As ‘Ãref Khãn served in the ministerial office of E‘temãd-os-Saltaneh (Ministry of the Press and Governmental Translation Office), he may be considered the country’s first governmental and professional excavator and, by including archaeology in the domain of that Ministry, that organization can be somehow equated with the Ministry of Arts and Culture of its period (the Ministry of Sciences of the time by controlling the Dãr-ol-Fonun (Tehran Polytechnic) also had a similar function). Not only in Khorheh, but two months later at Rudãvar, near Tuyserkãn, ‘Ãref Khãn was director of a mission, in present-day terms, i.e., a head excavator personally present on site carrying out the orders of the Shah or the minister (that is, the government). Unlike his task at Khorheh, his operations in Rudãvar do not appear quite scientific and governmental, and, in E‘temãd-os-Saltaneh’s view, who was most probably expecting coins and antiquities to be discovered, was not satisfactory (ibid., 23rd and 26th of July 1892, pp. 943-4). ‘Ãref-Khãn also wrote a geographical report describing the village of Amãmeh, northeast of Tehran, which is recorded in the manuscript Korrãse-ye Alma‘i, preserved in the Majles Library and reproduced by Hossein Karimãn in Qasrãn (Kuhsãrãn), Tehran, pp. 434-36. About ‘Ãref Khãn, see also Mohit Tabãtabã’i’s marginal notes in Sãdeq Malek Shahmirzadi’s article “Eshãre’i mokhtasar bar tahavvol-e bãstãnshenãsi-e Irãn”, Asar, no. 12-14, February 1986, p. 156.
29. Contrary to the usual assumption of whimsical Qajar behaviour, the writing of a report must not be considered a caprice, a masquerade of the kind depicted by some writers of contemporary Iranian history, including the tabloid kind ..., as well as some of today’s Iranian filmmakers (including, unfortunately, some of the best ones). As a matter of fact, on another occasion, during his pilgrimage to the Holy Cities of Irãk in 1870-71, Nãsser-od-Din Shãh ordered his French physician, Dr Tholozan, to write a chronicle of his voyage to Babylon to be included in the Shah’s narrative. This was done and Tholozan’s text was reproduced, together with an engraving of the map of Babylon, in the book in question (Nãsser-od-Din Shãh, Safar-nãme-ye ‘Atabãt, ed. Afshãr, op. cit., pp. 141, 207-16. Tholozan’s text is not included in ‘Abbãssi and Badi‘i’s edition). Nãsserod- Din Shãh possessed a perception and a critical sense of historical architectural environments; for example, describing the buildings on the hill of Qasr-e Shirin, he wrote that their “style (oslub)” could be identified (ibid., Afshãr, p. 165; the texts of ‘Abbãssi and Badi‘i do not include the word “style”, but the Shah writes: “I looked attentively”, p. 181); or, describing the Arch of Ctesiphon, which he ordered to be measured, he noted: “I assessed the characteristics of the building” (ibid., Afshãr, p. 144; the text of ‘Abbãssi and Badi‘i, pp. 152-3, is quite different owing to their inclusion of the incident
of Tholozan’s slapping the Shah’s photographer, which was dropped from the earlier print of the Shah’s narrative. Also see hereunder, footnote 36 and Prince Arfa‘, op. cit., p. 159 on land-measuring with a pair of compasses). While the overwhelming majority of Persian Iranologists do not even throw a glance upon the Iranian World outside Persia, Nãsser-od-Din Shãh’s orders concerning Babylon show that he possessed a worldwide outlook. His commands concerning Babylon did not constitute an isolated case, since on the same journey, he perused a large album of photographs which a European photographer had made in Alexandria, Suez and other parts of Egypt (ibid., Afshãr, pp. 146-7; in the texts of ‘Abbãssi and Badi‘i, p. 156, the name of Suez is incorrectly recorded as Swiss), and some seven years earlier the Comte de Gobineau, the French ambassador in Persia, had informed his government that Nãsser-od-Din Shãh wished to have a “Description d’Egypte with its illustrated folios” (Documents of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Iran, 1863). This either meant the book describing Egypt under Napoleon mentioned at the beginning of this article, or the famous book of Egyptian photographs made by Maxime du Camp. Also, contrary to the Western-oriented view prevailing in Iranian archaeology and history as mentioned earlier, Nãsser-od-Din Shãh’s horizon was not limited to Mesopotamia and beyond, but also included the East, and at least India, as well: Even while extremely angry, he did not forget to ask Hãjj Sayyãh to “make photographs of historic sites” in India (Manuscript notes of Hedãyatollãh Rashti, p. 96, apud., A. Rã’in, Farãmush-khãneh va Frãmãssoneri dar Irãn, vol. 1, Tehran, 1978, p. 625). By gathering documents concerning Nãsser-od-Din Shãh’s attitude towards the subjects mentioned in this brief article, one can undoubtedly compile an instructive book. Mozaffar-od-Din Shah, who tried to emulate his father, also had an open mind. Himself an amateur photographer, during whose reign the first automobile and the cinema were introduced in Persia (the 100th anniversary of the first Iranian film will be celebrated in summer 2000), showed interest in French art. Having expressed satisfaction, during a visit he paid to the Louvre in the company of the French Minister of Fine Arts, of the way in which Iranian antiquities were exhibited there, he told the minister: “When I establish my museum in Tehran, I shall dedicate one of its galleries to French works of art”. Of course, he meant a new museum, apart from the one Nãsser-od-Din Shãh had created in the Golestãn Palace. Mozaffar-ed-Din Shãh’s visit to the Louvre took place against the wish of the French minister, who had to entertain his guest long enough for its personnel to have the time to hide the most impressive Persian items on show. In this context, the memories of the man appointed by the French Interior Ministry to assure the Shah’s security are highly interesting (Xavier Paoli, Leurs Majestés, Paris, 1912, pp. 107-8).
30. Dr. Feuvrier, Seh Sãl dar darbãr-e Iran, az 1306 tã 1309, tr. ‘A. Eqbãl, Tehran, 1947, pp. 262-4. For example, the day in question during the excavation is the 29th of Shavvãl and not the 30th, the edge of the pool is lined with bricks and not bare, instead of several arrows exactly 8 were found, the skull found had appeared Turkish rather than Arabic, etc.
31. Docteur Jean Baptiste Feuvrier, Trois ans à la Cour de Perse , pub. Imprimerie Nationale, Paris, 1896, pp. 325-7.
32. Zokã’, Tãrikh-e ‘Akkãssi , pp. 193-96.
33. Mohammad-Hassan-Khãn E‘temãd-os-Saltaneh, Ruznãmeh-ye Khãterãt, p. 496, and also p. 1192 regarding the acquisition of photographic material (light-weight camera) for the voyage.
34. Nãsser-od-Din Shãh, Safar-e ‘Arãq, p. 38.
35. Mohammad-Hassan Khãn E‘temãd-os-Saltaneh (Sani‘-od-Dowleh), Dorar-ottijãn fi-t-tãrikh-e Bani-l-Ashkãn, litho., Tehran, I unfortunately have no more access to my note abut E‘temãd-os-Saltaneh’s expression of remorse, but I think that it was included in one of Iraj Afshãr’s books, articles or publications.
36. Nãsser-od-Din Shãh, Safar-e ‘Arãq , p. 37. A few days later E’temãd-os-Saltaneh also mentions (Ruznãmeh-ye Khãterãt, p. 934) the study of this coin, noting that it belongs to Khosrow-Parviz. Nãsser-od-Din Shãh’s interest in Sassanian coins was not a caprice either, because in the years 1875 to 1880 he ordered Mirzã Rezã Khãn Richard to translate General Bartholomew’s Collection de monnaies Sassanides, published in St. Petersburg. This book is extant in the Photothèque of the Golestãn Palace (No. 896/2367). On E’temãd-os-Saltaneh collecting coins see ibid., pp. 461 and 467 and deciphering the inscriptions on the coins together with ‘Ãref Khãn, p. 467. 37. Nãsser-od-Din Shãh, Safar-nãme-ye ‘Atabãt, p. 44. This visit of the valley of ‘Abbãssãbãd, near Hamedãn, took place on Wednesday October 12th 1870.
38. Hassan B. Qomi, Tãrikh-e Qom, p. 68. “Khorr” as a name is mentioned in connection with the Parthians from their beginnings, see F. Justi, Iranisches Namenbuch, Hildesheim, 1895, p. 178 under “Xurra”.
39. Had a report been prepared and had the photographs been sent to the Dãr-ol-Fonun, I would have used the title “First Iranian Scientific Excavation” for this article instead of using the term “Dawn”.
40. Those directly involved in the team included ‘Ãref Khãn, in the role of archaeologist, and the photographer Yusef ; while Dr Feuvrier, E‘temãd-os-Saltaneh, Manuchehr Mirzã and Mirzã Forughi took part in the investigations indirectly.
41. A. Godard, L’Art de l’Iran, Paris, 1962, pl. 88, p. 169. Apparently these sentences are Godard’s final conclusions, because, in the text of his book, he tended to believe that the building was a Seleucid temple. After the operations of the Iranian Archaeological Department, the extent of which is not reflected in his book, he was neither convinced of its function as a temple nor of its Seleucid origins.