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Footballers Trampling on Ancient Sites of Susa


11 July 2005



Natural disasters, the construction of dams, and smugglers were not enough of a threat to the ancient sites, so the three football fields were added to complete the mission.


Archaeologists are once again warning about the threat to the ancient city of Susa which is facing due to the daily football games at the sites.


Installing goal posts was not such a big threat compared to the catastrophe that occurred when some people pretending to be fans illegally excavated the area while teams were playing football.


Mohammadpur, a legal affairs official of the Khuzestan Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department, said on Monday that the installation of goal posts at the sites as well as the continuous traffic of fans will surely cause Susa to lose its chance to be registered on the World Heritage List.


To add insult to injury, over eighty percent of the historical sites of the Susa region, including pre-historical site of Haft-Teppe and Sasanian Ivan-e Karkheh are currently being used for agricultural purposes, and some parts of Ivan-e Karkheh have been turned into a garbage dump.


Susa is one of the oldest known settlements of the region, probably founded about 4000 BC, though the first traces of an inhabited village date back to 7000 BC and evidence of a painted pottery civilization dates back to 5000 BC.


Susa was an important and flourishing city in ancient times and was the capital of the Elamite Empire. The city was annexed Cyrus the Great' empire in the 6th century BC, and Darius I the Great (522 to 486 BC), made it the administrative capital of the Persian Empire and built a great palace there.


The ruins of the Shâvar palace of Darius the Great are impressive and a great number of inscriptions and friezes have been found at the site.


Susa is also mentioned in the Old Testament as one of the places where the Daniel lived. His tomb is located in the heart of the city.


A stele of the Code of Hammurabi was discovered in Achaemenid ruins of Susa in 1901 by Jean-Vincent Scheil and was taken to France which is now on display in the Louvre.  




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