Document Type : Research Paper


Assistant Professor, Department of Archaeology, University of Neyshabur, Neyshabur, Iran.


Archaeological data and textual sources provide information on Zoroastrian burial customs in Iran that could read and investigate in their context. One of these burial customs is burying the body into the towers of silence. This ritual practice canonized in Zoroastrian religious texts such as Vidēvdāt and documented in historical sources and archaeological findings. Beside Central Asia one what comparable to the first generation of towers of silence this funeral practice reported from Sasanid to the Late Islamic period. Although all of these burial structures mentioned as the towers of silence (Dakhma), there are plenty of architectural structures, from the beginning to the Late Islamic period; from the platforms of xwaršēd nigerišn to roofed towers of silence; from rooms of ossuary to central well (sarādaof towers of silence. This paper has tried to thanks to archaeological findings and historical sources recommend some relative dating on towers of silence. Besides, the formal evolution of these burial structures has investigated from the Sasanid to the Late Islamic period. Hence, there are some questions to answer. 1) How are the continuation and evolution of the architectural structure of towers of silence from the Sasanid to the Late Islamic period? 2) Which elements caused the evolution of the architectural structure of towers of silence? 3) Is it possible to find a relative dating about the date of construction of these burial structures based on the evolution of the architecture of towers of silence? For the answer to these questions, a descriptive-analytical method has used. Field and library studies and comparative studies are the most important methods of this illustration. This study will show towers of silence follow four different architecture methods. The quality of roof covering, the way of exposure, the divide of burial spaces, location of a central well, how to enter to xwaršēd nigerišn places, details of architectural structure and creation of some buildings related to burial are the most important towers of silence diversities factors. There is some reason for these diversities: 1) emigration of Zoroastrian communities to Yazd 2) cultural relation between Iran and India Zoroastrian communities, 3) Maneckji Limji Hataria activities in Iran


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