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Latest Archaeological and Cultural News of Iran and the Iranian World


10,000 sq.m. of Partho-Sasanian Site in Susa Destroyed to Build a Hotel


11 August 2008



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  Remains of large Sasanian terracotta vessels

(Click to enlarge)


By Shapour Suren-Pahlav


LONDON, (CAIS) -- The ancient city of Susa is renowned for its thousands of years of history and its resident-archaeologists are angry and tearful as the Islamic republic has rubbed them out of their heritage.


Last week a hotel construction company belonging to the prominent members of the Islamic Republic bulldozed out 10,000 sq.m. of the pre-Islamic ancient Iranian site of Susa in order to prepare a foundation for construction of a hotel.


Experts have dated the destroyed strata to the late Parthian (248BCE -224 CE) and Sasanian (224-651 CE) dynasties.


The dug out area is 100x100 metres wide and 6 meters deep. During the excavation a human skeleton most probably being either Parthian or Sasanian, large Partho-Sasanian earthenware vessels, a large number of Partho-Sasanian potsherds and other relics were taken away and destroyed.


The illegal permit for construction of Laleh Hotel was issued by Khuzestan’s Province Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organisation (KCHHTO).


Speaking with journalists in Tehran, Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei the head of Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organisation (ICHHTO) on Sunday, asserted the wrongdoers will be prosecuted. Although it was Rahim-Mashaei himself who attended the commencing-ceremony along with the director of KCHHTO, and ordered the construction to begin.


To add insult to injury, when Rahim-Mashaei was questioned by journalists about his participant in the destruction of the site, the director of ICHHTO, claimed that he was not aware of the historical importance of the site.


Susa was registered on Iran’s national heritage site in 1930s and every elementary school child in Iran knows the historical importance of Susa and its special place in Iranian history and civilisation.


According to the archaeologists with the Susa Research Centre, the dug out earth from the site was taken away to a secret location unknown to them, perhaps to destroy any traces of pre-Islamic Iranian heritage.



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