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Hercules’ Head Awaits Planned Museum


18 September 2004




Perching for ages on a wind-swept mountain top in Behistun near the bas-relief of Dariush I, a stone statue named Hercules’s Head is restored and would be kept in warehouses until a planned museum is built in Kermanshah, west of Iran.

The sculpture had been chiseled out of the Behistun mountain face during the reign of the Seleucids and was discovered in 1958 by British workers who had been constructing a road between Hamadan and Kermanshah, but their machineries inadvertently decapitated the statue, making it the most flamboyant part of the work.

“Right now its restoration project has finished and it has been stacked in the warehouses of the Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (CHTO),” said Fathollah Biniaz, an expert with the project.

A replica of the sculpture has also been made and would likely be attached to the bust in near future, he added. Its color is rather darker to indicate the head is not as old as the bust.

In 1958 after some initial restoration the Hercules’ Head was fixed in its original place and was soon robbed, but the smugglers were nabbed before escaping the country. It returned home in 1991, though artifact hunters stole it yet again. This time it was, unfortunately, split into two halves.



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