In 1994, when the archaeological importance of Bandian was realized, the first excavations were carried out to reveal precious remains of art and architecture of the pre-Islamic Iran, dating from the Sasanian period (224-651 A.D.).
Found at the site, near the town of Daregaz, 1150 km northeast of Tehran near the Turkmenistan border, were a stucco-decorated hall with columns, Sasanian Pahlavi inscriptions, and at last the some remains of brick architecture, which are considered to be one of the most invaluable finds of that period.
Moreover, the excavations led by the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization's archaeologist, Mehdi Rahbar, yielded a Zoroastrian temple, with a substantial amount of its decoration and design features intact. Although the upper parts of the stucco reliefs were not preserved, nevertheless a good deal had remained in place (info from Bandian of Daregaz).
These photographs were taken by Soroor Ghanimati in 1998. Ghanimati is a Research Fellow at UC Berkeley's Department of Near Eastern Studies and a Deputy of UNESCO's World Heritage Organization.