ERBIL — Archeologist discovered an ancient wall, which extends for about 71 miles (115 kilometers), in the Iranian Kurdish town of Sar Pol-e Zahab, west of Iran.
The structure runs north-south from the Bamu Mountains in the north to an area near Zhaw Marg village in the south.
"With an estimated volume of approximately one million cubic meters [35,314,667 cubic feet] of stone, it would have required significant resources in terms of workforce, materials and time," wrote Sajjad Alibaigi, a doctoral student in the department of archaeology at the University of Tehran, in an article published online in the journal Antiquity.
According to Alihaigi, the pottery found along the wall suggests that it was built sometime between the fourth century B.C. and sixth century A.D.
"Remnants of structures, now destroyed, are visible in places along the wall. These may have been associated turrets [small towers] or buildings," wrote Alibaigi, noting that the wall itself is made from "natural local materials, such as cobbles and boulders, with gypsum mortar surviving in places”, as reported by Live Science.
The researcher said that the wall was known by the locals before archeologists started their excavations. The wall is called “Gawri Wall” by locals.
Archaeologists are not certain who built the structure, and for what purpose. Because of the poor preservation of the barrier, the scientists aren't even sure of its exact width and height. Their best estimates put it at 13 feet (4 meters) wide and about 10 feet (3 m) high, he said.
"It is unclear whether it was defensive or symbolic," wrote Alibaigi, noting that it might mark the border for an ancient empire, perhaps the Parthians (who flourished between 247 B.C. and A.D. 224) or the Sassanians (A.D. 224-651). Both empires in western Iran built large castles, cities and irrigation systems, so it's likely that both had the resources to build the Gawri Wall, wrote Alibaigi.