راحله الماس تاجیک سمرقند
i. History and Archeology
Since the publication of the entry AFRĀSIĀB (EIr. I, pp. 576-78), new information has been brought to light on this archeological site and, consequently, on the history of pre-Mongol Samarqand. This progress is mainly a result of the activities of the MAFOUZ (Mission Archéologique Franco-Ouzbèke), which commenced in 1989 and continues to date.
Concerning the foundation of the city, which resulted from the fortification of the plateau (already sporadically occupied in the Bronze and Early Iron Ages), a pre-Achaemenid date, between ca. 650 and ca. 550 B.C.E., seems now confirmed. The specific character of this first urban foundation stands out more clearly. A wall follows the whole circuit of the plateau (5.5 km), complemented by another one which separates the town from the acropolis, situated in the northern part and itself including a citadel raised on an artificial platform. These topographical-functional features were to last as long as the town was centered on this site. The existence inside Afrāsiāb of an artificial water supply through the Dargom channel (extending 40 km from the Zarafšān River), a branch of which entered through the southern gate, is archeologically confirmed for the Achaemenid period only; but it seems probable that it existed from the beginning. The wall, 7 m thick, is massive, in contrast to those which were built upon it in the city's Achaemenid and Greek periods. It is made of coarse mud bricks of plano-convex shape, all of which bear a mark, an indication that labor was strictly organized in groups of workers at the initiative of the local political power. Similar building techniques have been noticed at other Sogdian and pre-Sogdian sites during that pre-Achaemenid period: Kok Tepe (30 km north of Samarqand, with similar brick marks, a fact which suggests a contemporary foundation), Padaiatak Tepe and Sangyr Tepe near Šahr-e Sabz, Eilatan and Dal'verzin Tepe (q.v.) in Farḡana (q.v.).
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