Friday, August 13, 2004

Dungeons and Dragons in the Ancient World

It appears that ancient dungeon masters were better at designing adventures for their players than I am with mine. I have a hard enough time designing maps using the Dundjinni program, let alone building a 420 acre "adventure site". One has to wonder what the dragon miniatures looked like. =)

From Tehrantimes.com comes the following interesting information:

QUOTE
TEHRAN (CHN) -- Archaeologists believe that a three-story underground
city, recently unearthed in central Iran, used to function as a
collective shelter for its residents in wake of relentless invasions.

The city, lying beneath the small town of Nushabad near Kashan,
features labyrinth-like architectural structures, starting 2.5 meters
under the surface and running 18 meters deep. Nushabad residents had
been reporting about underground corridors and chambers when they
were digging wells in their yards for sewage, since most Iranian
cities lack a sewage network.

Working on the tip-off, archaeologists started digging the area, but
to their chagrin, they failed to find any clue, until during the
second week of excavation, an 18-year-old digger by the name of Ali
Reza Khabbazi did finally discovered something that turned out to be
an underground city, whose three stories are interconnected by
several flights of stairs.

"Over one month, we succeeded in finding the city which has about 43
steps between each of its stories," said Zahra Sarokhani, head of the
research team, made up of archaeologists, architects and history and
geography experts.

The team is now working on two workshops on both ends of the 170-
hectare town of Nushabad. They have already concluded the corridors
are interconnected through the maze-like city, but they still wonder
if the whole complex has three stories.

Referring to historical textbooks and documents, Sarokhani proposed
the theory that the newly-unearthed city served as a collective
shelter since Kashan, in Isfahan Province, has been at a major trade
crossroads, thus very appealing to bandits and other invaders
including Seljuks and Mongols. She added archeologists have also
discovered some mill stones, indicating the inhabitants used to live
in the sanctuary for several days or possibly weeks.

"The city is built according to a systematically laid-out plan and it
is likely all the residents had a hand in building it, since it seems
a gargantuan task to me," said Ehsan Zera'at, architecture scholar.
Archaeologists have so far dug out several earthenware vessels and
two fat-burning lanterns. The potteries date from the Sassanid
dynasty (226-651) to Safavid era (1501-1722), said Sadat, a graduate
archaeology student, adding, "The city has been built during the
Sassanid era and has been dwelled and used till the Safavid period,
at most."

Next year the research team intends to ask sociologists and
anthropologists for help to determine the lifestyle of the
inhabitants. Kashan is an oasis city lying in a desert at the eastern
foot of the Central Iranian Range. Kashan was earlier an important
station on an important caravan route between Kerman and Isfahan.
Kashan has several ancient monuments. Most famous are the mausoleum
of Shah Abbas 1, the 12th century Friday Mosque and the Safavid royal
buildings southwest of the city center.
END QUOTE

Imagine..an entire CITY built underground, with "levels", passages,
rooms, stairs and ramps, the whole nine yards. From my perspective
the size of this find is amazing, based just upon the 170 hectare
measurement.

An hectare is the customary metric unit of land area, equal to 100
ares.

An Are (pronounced "air")is a unit of area equal to 100 square
meters. The word is pronounced the same as "air." Being the area of a
square 10 meters on each side, the are is a little large for
measuring areas indoors and a little small for measuring areas
outdoors. As a result, the are is not used as often as its multiple,
the hectare (ha)

One hectare is a square hectometer, that is, the area of a square 100
meters on each side: approximately 107 639.1 square feet, 11 959.9
square yards, or 2.471 054 acres.
(Source = http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/units/index.html )

That works out to 420.07018 acres of space, all underground. Those
people must have been out of their heads. I mean come ON...As
Mavmaramis (Simon)so succinctly stated not too long ago:

Quote: Who in their right minds would attempt to construct such an
underground complex on this or any other fantasy world. It's complete
lunacy. End Quote
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