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Historic city of Toon, ancient center of industrial products

Tehran, The discovery of pieces of glass and stone containers, industrial slags and pottery kilns on the margin of the historic city of Toon indicates the centrality of the city in the industrial production of South Khorasan at the ancient times.

The Public Relations Office of the Research Institute of Cultural Heritage and Tourism (RICHT) quoted Mohammad Esmail Esmaili Jolodar, head of the archeology team, as saying on Saturday that the first season of stratigraphy explorations in the Toon Citadel in the city of Ferdows was completed with an aim of identifying its cultural sequence in the two 10-meter boreholes in the north and the south.

He referred to the discovery of the works belonging to the historic and early Islamic periods in the Toon Citadel as part of the results obtained in the joint research of archeological exploration of the Cultural Heritage Department of the South Khorasan Province and the Tehran University which was completed upon a permit received from the head of the Research Institute of Cultural Heritage and Tourism.

In the exploration operations which were conducted in collaboration with the Archeology Department of the University of Tehran, works were covered from the ancient Sassanid, probably the Salukis and the Islamic era, he added.

Ismaili further remarked that early studies carried out in this exploration led to the identification of the two cultural and historical and Islamic periods including architectural works (the settlement floor and possibly furnace or oven), along with valuable findings of different pottery of the early Islamic centuries and probably the Sassanid period.

He noted that the obtained Islamic pottery include single-color glazed pottery, Neyshabour-style pottery, especially its inscription type, purple glazed pottery which some archeologists have called the Bamiyan type - but its abundance in the culture of Khorasan region is as such that its centrality in Khorasan is greater than in Afghanistan - decorated pottery and pottery with framed decoration like the Seljuk type, and to a lesser degree the pottery belonging to the Ilkhan, Timurid, and the Safavid periods.

Esmaili Jolodar pointed out that the main surface of the citadel has been destroyed in the urban development plan, especially after the earthquake, adding that in the current exploration no work dating back to the middle centuries could be found but the result of the survey indicated that the citadel had been used up to the Safavid era and possibly at the time of the Qajar which has been referred to in the written texts.

He said the discovery of clay works dating back to the Sassanid era and the only finding of the Soluki time indicated presence of a settlement older than the Islamic period in Ferdows or Toon the complementary results of which will be put at the disposal of the researchers after the completion of the studies.

The head of the archeology team went on to say that the discovery of the glass and stone containers and industrial slags, especially the pottery kiln, on the margin of the historic city of Toon, is an indication of its centrality of the city in industrial products in South Khorasan, underlining the need for the completion of archeological studies there.

The archeologist described east of Iran, especially South Khorasan, as the less known but important cultural region in the country's archeology and underlines the necessity of continuation of studies by the groups of archeologists as an urgent measure in recognizing the native culture of the area which would prevent using of the fake vocabulary for its culture by foreign archeologists operating in the neighboring countries.

Referring to the tourism potential of the city with the archeology orientation he said the only advantage of the city of Ferdows or the Toon is their historical monuments which, if organized and research studies conducted, necessary grounds would be provided for turning the city into one of the greatest tourism poles of the country such as Bandar Siraf and the cities of Hamedan and Neyshabour.

He considered tourism as the early returning industries for the region and called for greater attention to it and referred to the destruction of the Toon older citadel and construction activities around it in the aftermath of the terrible earthquake in 1347 (1968) as the severest problem on the way of explorations.

The town of Toon, which was renamed to Ferdows during the time of Pahlavi I, is among the most important cities of the early Islam and possibly the historic era to which specific attention has been paid in the written texts and many of the scholars, including Nasser Khosrow, have visited the city.

Toon is the first city after passing from Kerman, Yazd and Isfahan to the South Khorasan and the highway known as the Silk Road and the Greater Khorasan Road, through which the southern and central plateau of Iran is attached to Sabzevar, Neyshabour, Gonabad, Mashhad and other cities of Mesopotamia and Afghanistan and in continuation to the Central Asia and China.

This area, which is a part of the Quhestan Province in the written texts, is in fact one of the three of the most important administrative areas in south of Khorasan in addition to Qayen and Tabas, therefore, many references have been made in the written texts in the early Islamic period.

The existence of Baladeh aqueduct as of the unparalleled masterpiece in terms of the water extraction technology and its transfer to Ferdows with a length of at least 35 km which has been recorded in the UNESCO World Heritage List, along with the monuments remaining from the early Islamic period such as the Kushk Mosque, Jame Ferdows (Toon) Mosque, Upper School, baths and water storages have turned the city as one of the best cities of Iran in terms of historical attractions and today pilgrims of Imam Reza (AS) shrine who pass the desert would visit the city and its works.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA

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