Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
Archaeological and Cultural News of Iran and the Iranian World
Shush Castle to Retain its Ancient Brick-Inscriptions, For the Time Being
(CAIS) -- A project to replace the Elamite brick inscriptions utilised in the construction of Shush Castle was halted due to objections raised by restoration experts of the Shush Cultural Heritage Centre (SCHC).
The decision to replace the artefacts with ordinary bricks was made by the Khuzestan Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department (KCHTHD) several months ago after a study was conducted that showed the artefacts were being threatened by erosion. Thus they began to detach the bricks to transfer them for safe keeping. However, experts did not agree with the plan for a number of reasons, including the fact that several of the castle’s storehouses have become completely dilapidated through neglect.
An informed source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Persian service of IRNA in December 2007 that about 90,000 archaeological artefacts are being stored in appalling conditions in the underground storerooms of the Shush Castle.
“The storerooms are not only humid but are inhabited by snakes, scorpions, and insects like termites,” the source added.
The experts believe that the replacement project would spoil the authenticity of the monument, which is located near the ancient sites of Susa in Khuzestan Province.
Meanwhile, the Shush Cultural Heritage Centre has begun a study to find an appropriate way to properly safeguard the bricks.
“The materials used in a monument validate its authenticity and thus any inept decision to protect the monument could spoil it,” SCHC official Sirus Barfi told the Persian service of CHN on Monday.
“Due to the vast developments in science and technology in the world, we see that many artefacts are being protected in situ. Fortunately, Iran has prominent experts in this field and we can protect the bricks attached to the castle,” he added.
The foundations of Shush Castle were laid in 1897 by French civil engineer, geologist, and
archaeologist Jacques Jean-Marie de Morgan (1857-1924), who carried out some excavations in the region.
Ancient bricks dating back to various historical eras, mainly from ancient sites of Haft-Tappeh and Chogha Zanbil, were catastrophically
reused in the construction of the monument. The amount of other ancient artefacts
reused for construction which are hidden away within the building is unknown.
De Morgan convinced the French government of the time of the necessity of sponsoring the construction of the stronghold for his team and as place to carry out their works.
The construction of the castle, in a style reminiscent of medieval architecture, was completed under the supervision of local architect Mostafa Dezfuli in 1912.
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British Institute of Persian Studies