比哈德良长’的墙和Antonine墙合在一起。它比我们今天所知道的中国长城要早一千多年。它的结构比其古代中国同行更为坚固。它是中欧与中国之间同类中最伟大的古迹,可能是古代世界上最长的砖石墙–但很少有人听说过。这堵墙被称为‘戈根长城’ or ‘the 红蛇’。一个国际考古学家团队一直在研究蛇形纪念碑,并在这里报告他们的发现。

的‘Red Snake’伊朗北部因砖红色而得名,其长度至少为195公里。一条深达5m或更深的运河沿隔离墙的大部分引导水。其连续的梯度旨在确保水的正常流动,见证了负责划定隔离墙的土地测量师的技能’的路线。沿着这个庞大的结构排列着30多个堡垒。它们的总尺寸是哈德良的三倍’s Wall. Yet these forts are small in comparison with contemporary fortifications in the hinterland, some of which are around ten times larger than the largest Wall forts. 的‘Red Snake’在很多方面都是无与伦比的,而在更多方面则是一个谜。


An 伊朗ian team, under the direction of Jebrael Nokandeh, has been exploring this Great Wall since 1999. In 2005 it became a joint 伊朗ian and British project. Our aim: to answer the fundamental questions of 什么时候, who, and why.



那么,隔离墙是何时建造的?有人认为它是在马其顿国王亚历山大(Alexander)的领导下建立的,亚历山大国王于公元前330年到达该地区,但在七年后去世–确实,隔离墙也被称为‘Alexander’s Barrier’。其他人则建议它建于公元6世纪,当时是波斯国王赫鲁绍(Khusrau)一世(公元531-579年)所为。由于他的1970年代实地考察,穆罕默德·优素福·基亚尼(Muhammad Yusof Kiani)和此后的许多学者都偏爱公元前2世纪或1世纪的建筑。谁是对的?

幸运的是墙’s engineers had used construction techniques eminently suitable to modern dating techniques. Running mostly through a landscape of windblown loess and, in sections, treeless steppe, there was no sufficient supply of stone or timber for construction purposes. 的loess, however, was an ideal material to produce tens, if not hundreds, of millions of fired bricks. Each of them was square and of standardised size: 37cm diameter in the west of the Wall, 40cm in the east and some 8cm to 11cm thick. These huge bricks were produced on an industrial scale. Our surveys indicate that brick kilns line most of the Wall. In some areas we found kilns under 40m apart, in others almost 100m. Overall there were probably several thousand brick kilns built for the sole purpose of creating the ancient Near East’最大的线性障碍。



在陡峭的斜坡上冲走的沉积物对我们的窑炉保存得非常好。它的十一个拱门在山坡上幸存下来,达到了两米的高度,还没有算上另外一米的上层建筑。两个倒塌的拱门提供了一个在不破坏任何保存完好的建筑的情况下在内部挖掘回音的机会。最终,我们到达了一个深色的木炭层,并在窑炉的正下方’s fire-reddened bottom. We had achieved our goal. Dr Jean-Luc Schwenninger and Dr Morteza Fattahi, of the Universities of Oxford and Tehran, flew in to take OSL samples in October 2005. They also sampled various sections of the Wall itself and of a second shorter wall further west (the Wall of Tammishe) as well as a kiln next to it that we had also excavated. We impatiently awaited the results. 的OSL and radiocarbon samples demonstrated conclusively that both walls had been built in the 5th or, possibly, 6th century AD.

的White Huns

With the benefit of hindsight it is easy to see why the walls would have been constructed at this later date. It was near the northern boundary of one of the most powerful empires in the ancient world, that of the Sasanian Persians. Centred in modern 伊朗, it also encompassed the territory of modern 伊拉克, stretched into the Caucasus Mountains in the north-west and into central 亚洲 and the Indian Subcontinent in the east. 的Persian kings repeatedly invaded the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire. Yet, they also faced fierce enemies at their northern frontier. Mountain passes in the Caucasus and the coastal route along the Caspian Sea were closed off by walls, probably to prevent the Huns from penetrating south. Those further east may have been directed against the Hephthalites or White Huns. Ancient writers, notably Procopius, provide graphic descriptions of the wars Persia fought in the 5th and 6th century against its northern opponents. We know that the Persian king Peroz (AD 459-484), 什么时候 campaigning against the White Huns, spent time repeatedly at ancient Gorgan (next to modern Gonbad-e Kavus, the site of our base camp just south of the Wall). Eventually he had to pay with his life for venturing into the lands of the White Huns. It would have made perfect sense for Peroz, or perhaps another Persian king shortly before or after, to protect the fertile and rich Gorgan Plain from this northerly threat through a defensive barrier.


重要的问题仍未解决:隔离墙是几个世纪以来防御严密的边界吗?–还是一个雄心勃勃的工程项目,也许只是短暂使用而被放弃了? 4号堡约14英亩(5.5公顷)大,于2006年被选作磁力计测量。令我们惊讶的是,罗杰·安斯利(Roger Ainslie)’s highly sensitive equipment revealed three buildings of c.228m length. So much detail was visible on the plots that that we could see individual rooms. 的regular layout suggests that they served as barrack blocks. We started to excavate.

Where the magnetometer survey had pinpointed a room division, we found a massive mud brick wall, 1.20m wide and surviving to a height of c.3.30m. Originally, the buildings must have been much higher, as their collapsed remains still form distinctive mounds today. Satellite images show that fort 4 was not a oneoff, but that numerous other forts on the Wall (and originally probably all) contain collapsed barrack blocks as well. 的quantity of pottery and animal bones from our two trenches in fort 4 excavated in 2006 and 2007, which also yielded some glass and metal, demonstrates powerfully that the fort’s interior bustled with life. Radiocarbon dates indicate that the fort remained occupied until at least the first half of the 7th century. It is too early to tell whether or not the Wall was abandoned then, perhaps because troops were needed for a major assault against the Byzantine Empire, fighting off the Byzantine counter-offensive or against the Arab invasion from AD 636 onwards. 的evidence is mounting, however, that the Wall functioned as a military barrier for at least a century and probably closer to two.


有多少士兵守护着波斯帝国’最详尽的军事壁垒?如果我们假设要塞的堡垒和哈德良一样密集’墙,那么在Gorgan墙上的驻军大约是30,000人。考虑到戈根墙要塞中营房的大小和房间数量以及可能的占领密度,模型产生的士兵人数为15,000至36,000。即使是最低的估计值也表明一支强大的军队,因为我们的调查仅集中于200公里的脆弱边界,这在古代世界之一的数千公里边界中仅占很小的比例,这一点尤为突出’最大的帝国。内地可能驻有多少士兵? 2007年,我们启动了一项主要的地球物理勘测,随后在Qaleh Kharabeh(占地墙以南1英里多一点)的一个方形设防场(Qaleh Kharabeh)上开了3条试验沟。塞思·普里斯特曼(Seth Priestman)对加勒·哈拉贝(Qaleh Kharabeh)陶器的分析表明,防御工事占据了很短的时间,也许是在隔离墙的最早阶段’s history. Small mud brick houses seem to line its central roads. We excavated one; analysis of material therein indicates that its occupants consumed a rich diet, including fish, presumably from the Caspian Sea, some 45km further west. Yet, we do not even know whether these erstwhile gourmands were soldiers or civilians. 的regular square layout of the defences and the neat rows of rectangular enclosures inside suggests in any case that the Wall-builders had created it. Was it a failed urban foundation? Was it a temporary camp for the Persian field army, reinforcing the Wall’战争中的驻军?还是它的突然遗弃与军队从腹地转移到沃尔斯堡要塞有关?

16号堡垒的地球物理勘测表明,下面有砖窑,而且该堡垒不是原始设计的一部分。是否有可能在以后的某个阶段才将部分或全部堡垒添加到隔离墙中–那部队最初是住在Qaleh Kharabeh这样的地方吗?

的Wall and its Landscape

的Wall did not exist in a vacuum. 的dense occupation of its fertile hinterland explains why it was built and how its garrison was fed. 的project was thus not confined to the Wall itself, but included a wider landscape survey. 的scale of such a survey is ideal for understanding the works of ancient empires, because both the landscape itself and the public works of empires cover vast areas. Because of the large areas that needed to be covered, fieldwork of the Gorgan project proceeded at three different scales. At the regional level we used satellite images to map the entire area of Wall and ancillary structures; individual structures (forts, sites and kilns) were then mapped using geophysical survey to recognize hidden and underground structures; finally details were carefully targeted for excavation. Within this programme the landscape itself was studied using the capability of satellite images to map the entire region of the Wall and beyond. Clearly the c.195km long ‘Red Snake’施工需要大量的劳动力。

But what was not generally known until Nokandeh, Omrani and colleagues discovered a large 坝 and associated canals –是墙的建造过程更加费力。这是因为在修建隔离墙时启动了一个巨大的园林工程项目,目的是将水收集并转移到沿隔离墙北侧的沟渠中。

This exercise in water management appears to have been part of an integrated approach to wall construction. In such a semi-arid area, the water required for manufacturing bricks (as well as for use by the inhabitants of the forts) was not readily available. Water was therefore brought to the building site via a series of at least five canals that then directed the water into the ditch on the north side of the Wall. Although this ditch was evidently a defensive feature, it must also have been used as the source of the soil for the bricks used in the Wall. Initially field evidence had implied that the water was impounded behind massive earthen 坝s like the so-called Sadd-i Garkaz.


Not only did the Sasanian kings create a new landscape by the construction of water supply canals, they also cut through the pre-existing Parthian and earlier Sasanian landscape like a knife. This resulted in the Wall severing preexisting landscape features such as a canal that had probably provided the essential supply of irrigation water to the massive site of Tokhmaq a few generations earlier. 的Gorgan Wall appears to have cut through at least one other major earlier canal system again cutting off its recipient settlements. There is, however, nothing to say that a massive and wholesale abandonment of land took place at the time of wall construction. Rather, our site surveys as well as studies of the associated pottery by Seth Priestman, suggest that a considerable area of arid steppe to the north of the Wall, which had been occupied intensively several centuries earlier, was abandoned long before the Wall’的构造,结果是一个多余的景观,被‘Red Snake’。此模型需要通过将来的工作进行测试。


的‘Red Snake’ is by far the longest and most elaborate Persian defensive wall, but it has several smaller counterparts. 的land corridor between the Caucasus Mountains and the west coast of the Caspian Sea is closed off by a series of walls. 的most famous is the Wall of Derbent in modern Dagestan (Russia). Then, much closer to the ‘Red Snake’ is the contemporary Wall of Tammishe, which runs from the south-east corner of the Caspian Sea into the Elburz Mountains. 的Caspian Sea is the world’是最大的内陆海,其水依赖于流入的河流。因此,在过去的几个世纪中,它的水位波动比海洋的波动大得多。 2006年,我们在萨桑砖窑旁边的萨桑砖窑中开挖了一个试验坑。‘Red Snake’。尽管现在是内陆7公里,但上面覆盖着海洋贝壳。放射性碳测年表明,该窑实际上在14或15世纪被淹没在上升的里海的海水中。建造隔离墙的时间大约是一千年前的里海’的水位比今天低了几米。如今,Derbent墙撞入了目前被里海淹没的领土,根据19世纪英国旅行者Charles Edward Yate的一份报告,‘Red Snake’. 的only wall, however, so far explored by underwater archaeologists is the Tammishe Wall. Discovered by an 伊朗ian team, involving the underwater archaeologist Hossein Tofighian, a joint 伊朗ian and British team followed in their footsteps and dived into the murky water of the Gulf of Gorgan in 2007. Despite the shallow depth of around two metres, visibility in the uniformly greenish to yellowish cloudy water does not reach as far as one foot. 的divers, notably Julian Jansen Van Rensburg, relied solely on their sense of touch.



Our project is seriously challenging our traditional Euro-centric world view. At the time 什么时候 the Western Roman Empire is collapsing and even the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire under great external pressure, the Sasanian Persian Empire musters the manpower to build and garrison a monument of greater scale than anything comparable in the west. 的Persians seem to match, or more than match, their Late Roman rivals in army strength, organisational skills, engineering and water management. Archaeology is beginning to paint a clearer picture of an ancient super power at its apogee.

This 文章 is an extract from the full 文章 published in 世界时间史学Issue 27. 点击这里订阅