The Helmand Sistan Project
Key Sites

Lat Qala

Gazetteer ID: 687
Latitude: 30.1710431   Longitude: 62.68818771
Enlarged satellite view

Map Number: 13  Go to the MAP

This is a prominent mound 14 m high and 75 m in diameter at the southern edge of the Helmand River Valley in the Rudbar area. It contains the clearest stratigraphic sequence we were able to establish during our project based on extensive excavations there in 1975. A recent mudbrick fort sits on the crest of the mound. We sank a vertical trench into the south side of this mound that showed an occupational sequence from the Achaemenid to the Sasanian periods, over 1000 years, including successive defensive walls around the site. Digging below the modern ground surface at the base of the mound, we found that human-fashioned objects could still be found 4 m below the surface, evidence of alluviation in the river valley. Ceramics evidence suggests that the oldest defensive walls date to the Bronze and Early Iron ages, though we could not excavate deeply enough to reach those occupation levels. A second excavation trench was badly compromised by a deep erosion channel and produced little usable information, though it demonstrated that the massive defensive walls surround the entire mound.


Trench B at Lat Qala produced occupation levels from the Achaemenid to Sasanian periods and a series of successive walls defending the site. The original walls probably date to the Bronze Age.
Lat Qala, a 14 m high mound on the southern plain of the Helmand River near Rudbar. A trench we excavated through the site is visible at upper right. There is a recent fortress on top, and our camp was situated nearby. The Helmand River is in the distance.


The upper levels of Trench B show that the last stratigraphic levels are from the Sasanian period and the earliest stratigraphic levels are from the Achaemenid period. A complete Sasanian storage jar is embedded in the side wall of the trench (center).