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Elamite Tarisha Temple is Being Vandalised


18 September 2006




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LONDON, (CAIS) -- Unidentified men have poured paint on the bas-reliefs of the Elamite Tarisha Temple in the Izeh region of Khuzestan Province, the Persian service of CHN reported on Sunday.


In response, the Izeh' Friends pf Cultural Heritage Society has asked Iranian cultural officials to mobilize security guard teams for the Tarisha Temple, which is also known as Eshkaft-e Salman, and for the nearby Kul-Farah site.


The security detail for Izeh’s ancient sites has no means to defend themselves or the ancient sites, society chairman Faramarz Khoshab told the Persian service of CHN on Sunday.


“Some time ago, smugglers beat the guard of Kul-Farah and now several unidentified men have poured paint on the Eshkaft-e Salman bas-reliefs. If the guards had a wireless set, they could have been able to prevent such an incident,” he added.


The Tarisha Temple is home to the largest neo-Elamite inscription ever found in Iran. The site also has four bas-reliefs, two of which are inside a nearby cave. One of the bas-reliefs depicts a woman beside a man and a priest in a traditional ceremony.


Kul-Farah has large bas-reliefs showing ensembles of vertical and horizontal harps which are as large as Mesopotamian harps. The site also had several other bas-reliefs which were removed in order to be stored in vacuum glass display units, but cultural officials have not agreed with the idea.


“The Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization refuses to provide lighting apparatuses. Seventy yeas ago, a section of one of the Kul-Farah bas-reliefs was stolen. If security is not provided for the bas-reliefs, smugglers with modern tools will loot and destroy the artifacts in the darkness,” Khoshab warned.


The ancient sites of Izeh have the dubious distinction of suffering the most damage and the most illegal excavations and smuggling of all Iran’s historical sites.


In addition, many construction projects are also threatening ancient sites in the region.


At present, construction of a hotel and amphitheater is underway inside the perimeter of the Tarisha Temple grounds. The project resumed in May after a two-year hiatus caused by a lawsuit filed against the developers.


The Karun-3 Dam came on stream last November and many ancient sites and artifacts dating back to the Elamite era, the Stone Age, and the Epipaleolithic period (20,000-10,000 BCE) were submerged under mud and water.


"Today is paint, what's going to happen tomorrow - will be vandalised with a sledgehammer? When we witness a private constructor build anything that his heart desires near such a magnificent and protected site, just because he is the cousin of so and so Mullah, what else can we expect?" said a group of Iranian archaeologists who wished to remain anonymous.


The group added "today Iran is a land of lawlessness - it is ruled by despotism, corruption and bribery, which has left our motherland with her 7000-years of heritage at the mercy of anti-Iranians. The only thing that they care about are Arabs and their fat bank accounts in Western countries. They say that there is no budget to allocate for protecting our national heritage, but there is enough money to build ten hospitals in Lebanon and spending our dollars for reconstruction of their cities - It seems that history is repeating itself once again - first savage Macedonians and then their doubles, Arabs and Mongols - and now this regime - When Macedonians got hold of Susa and Persepolis, and 1000-years later their disciples, the Arabs conquered Ctesiphon and Gondi-Shapur, they took whatever that they could carry with themselves, and whatever that they couldn't, either burnt or smashed into pieces."



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