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CAIS ARCHAEOLOGICAL & CULTURAL NEWS©

 

Over 300 Species of Plants, Animals Recognized in Chogha Zanbil Ziggurat

 

07 August 2004

 

 

As 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 operation.


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.


 

 

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