the second phase of research project in Chogha Zanbil ziggurat,
southwest of Iran, comes to an end, archaeologists have already
recognized that the Elamite era featured the richest collection
of plant and animal species in the historical site.
A group of environmentalists began the first phase 3 years ago
to collect general data on the mud-brick ziggurat and they then
began the second stage last year to recognize the botanical and
zoological species that used to live in the area.
“We learned 300 species of animals and 20 species of plants
had lived in the area,” said Hamid Fadaei, head of the
research team, indicating the date would help to produce an
inclusive map of the creatures and to facilitate to preservation
Chogha Zanbil is situated in southwest Iran about 40 km
southeast of the ancient city of Susa. It was built on a plateau
above the banks of the Dez River. The complex consists of a
magnificent ziggurat (the largest structure of its kind in
Iran), temples, and three palaces. The site was added to
UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1979.
Its ancient name is Dur-Untash, which means the castle or the
city of Untash. In the 13th century B.C., King Untash Napirisha
founded an entirely new city. Its size and splendor was intended
to honor the gods and to manifest the power of the monarch.
At the center of the city, a ziggurat was built of which two
floors still exist. It was surrounded by a wall, which is the
inner wall of three concentric walls in Dur Untash. Between the
inner wall and the middle wall several temples belonging to
different Elamite divinities were built. The outer city wall was
about 4 km long enclosing an area of approximately 100 hectares.
The royal quarter was situated adjacent to a major city gate
some 450 meters east of the ziggurat. In this area, a group of
three major buildings with large courts surrounded by lengthy
halls and rooms were excavated. Beneath one of theses buildings
(Palace I), five underground tombs were found similar to those
of Haft Tappeh (Kabnak). The tombs in Chogha Zanbil however were
of a much more monumental dimension.