Chronology and Functional Analysis of the Site Known as Qale-e Sam in the Historical Province of Masbazan (Ilam Province)

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Ph .D. in Archeology, Lorestan University, Khorramabad, Iran.

2 Ph.D. Candidate in Archeology, University of Mazandaran, Mazandaran, Iran.


Qaleh Sam is located in Holeylan district in Sirvan/Shirvan County in the northeast of Ilam province. This monument is one of the worthy Iranian architecture in the central Zagros cultural zone. Despite its importance, this monument is unknown until now. Qaleh Sam is located in Si’pelah canyon on the border of Lorestan and Ilam provinces. In Si’pelah, in addition to Qaleh Sam, remains some of the other buildings such as: a bridge, some military installations, a Char Taq, a water mill, and two ruined sites. The distribution pattern of these monuments in Si’pelah Canyon shows that they are related to Qaleh Sam, and they could be interpreted together. As the focal point of formation for the architetural complex in Si’pelah canyon the Qale Sam has archaeological and architectural values. The main structure of this monument consists of a residential building with a focal char tag in down and a fortress on top. Nevertheless, it has been neglected by researchers and its historical and functional nature remains unclear. The purpose of this paper is the introduction the Qale Sam by relying on archaeological findings and existing architectural evidence and evaluating and analyzing functional identity and its chronology. The research approach is historical and findings have been collected through field methods and the study of library texts. The study of archaeological and architectural findings of Qale Sam along with the study of its geographic location and the analysis of the spatial organization of all works in Si’pelah canyon show that Qaleh Sam has been a security residency of a high-grade person. The analysis of these monument in the regional context indicated that it has been built based on political and security objectives in a mountainous situation, with the creation of several military structures around it. Architectural elements, scattered pottery on surface, and stucco decorations used in the building show that Qale Sam was constructed in the late Sassanid period and the early Islamic centuries.


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Volume 13, Issue 4 - Serial Number 28
September 2022
Pages 307-330
  • Receive Date: 03 September 2019
  • Revise Date: 17 August 2021
  • Accept Date: 30 October 2021
  • First Publish Date: 20 February 2022