Activities of the Archaeological Mission in the archeological site of Pāikūlī
The Pāikūlī tower was built by the Sasanian emperor Narseh (293-302 AD) in a narrow valley at the southernmost edge of the Qara Dāgh range in western Zagros, about 100 km. south of Sulaymānīyah. This commemorative monument marks the spot where, during a dynastic struggle begun after Wahrām II’s death, Narseh, marching from Armenia to Ctesiphon, met nobles and grandees who had gathered there to pay allegiance to the future king. Evidently conferring a high propagandistic and ideological meaning to the monument celebrating his victory over Wahrām III and his allies, Narseh built the tower in a very evocative place, so that travelers crossing the Pāikūlī pass from north saw it below them from a suggestive perspective and those coming from the plains found it on their way to the mountain path.
From 2006 onwards Italian teams from IsIAO and Sapienza have been investigating the monument of Paikuli, leading surveys in the valley and studying the materials now kept in the Sulaimaniya Museum. In 2012 MAIKI signed an agreement for a five years project, in cooperation with the Directorate of Antiquities of Sulaimaniyah and the Museum of Sulaimaniyah, for the study and enhancement of the archaeological site of Paikuli and related environs, the study of the Paikuli inscription and the creation of an Archaeological Map of the area between Chamchamal and Darbandikhan, with the aim of studying the historical and geographic context of the Sasanian monument. MAIKI researches include historical, archaeological, philological and epigraphic studies; archaeological, geological and topographical surveys; and enhancement and promotion of the site.