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Latest Archaeological and Cultural News of Iran and the Iranian World


Are Ancient Susa’s Problems ever Going to be Solved?


05 November 2008



LONDON, (CAIS) -- The Shush Cultural Heritage Centre (SCHC) has announced that a five-hour session will be held on November 9 to seek solutions to the numerous problems now plaguing the ancient city of Susa.


“All experts on Susa have been invited to the session, during which the plans prepared for the (Iranian calendar) year will be permitted [by the regime’s authorities],” SCHC director Mohammadreza Chitsaz told the Persian service of CHN on Monday. The current Iranian calendar year ends on March 20, 2009.


During the session, a plan for the restoration of the Shush Castle will be discussed, he said.


The replacement of the brick inscriptions used in the construction of the Shush Castle was a part of the restoration plan, which was halted due to objections raised by a number of restoration experts from the SCHC.


The decision to replace the ancient artefacts with ordinary bricks was made by the Khuzestan Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department (KCHTHD) several months ago after a study showed the artefacts were being threatened by erosion.


So, KCHTHD experts began to detach the bricks to transfer them to the castle’s storehouses as a so-called safe haven. The other experts did not agree with the plan for a number of reasons, including the fact that several of the storehouses have become completely dilapidated due to neglect.


The experts also plan to make a decision about the artefacts now being kept at the storehouses during the November 9 session.


They will also discuss a partially constructed passenger bus terminal that has been illegally constructed by the Islamic Republic’s Shush Municipality on the perimeter of Susa.


The KCHTHD plans to buy the terminal and convert it into a guest house for archaeologists and other experts, Chitsaz said.


The restoration of the Shaur Palace, built during the reign of the Achaemenid King Artaxerxes II (circa 404–359 BCE), is another issue that will be discussed during the session.


“The restoration of the Shaur Palace’s columns, the removal of the garbage and weeds from the palace, and the establishment of a guardhouse at the site are other issues that will be studied during the meeting,” Chitsaz noted.


In addition, the experts will examine the decision by an archaeological team to set a 1200-hectare perimeter for the historical metropolis of Susa.


A restoration plan prepared for Susa’s Apadana Palace is to be reviewed by the experts, he added.


“Fragments of the stones used in the construction of the palace will be relocated to their original places and some columns will be restored, so we will be able to see the Achaemenid palace’s splendid appearance again,” he stated.


In early January, vandals have also smashed remaining column bases at Apadana, and the Old-Persian cuneiform inscriptions on the bases were obliterated.


The Apadana Palace is also being threatened by the construction of a preparatory school on its perimeter.


So far, Iranian archaeologists and cultural figures have not been able to find any solutions for the on-again, off-again hotel construction projects on the perimeter of the ancient city of Susa by the rulers of the Islamic regime’s friends and relatives.


Last week, the owner of the Amir Zargar hotel construction project violated the perimeter of Susa by digging several excavations at the perimeter. The destructive permit for constructing 'Amirzargar' hotel was issued to by 'Sadeq Mohammadi' the director of KCHTHD.


Meanwhile, an excavation of 100x100 meters had been dug for another hotel construction project, named Laleh, in May 2007. 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. Experts have dated the destroyed strata to the late Parthian (248BCE-224 CE) and Sasanian (224-651 CE) dynasties.


The owners claimed the projects only commenced after Iranian cultural heritage organisations authorised them.


In early December 2007, Tariana sent a letter to the Islamic regime’s president Mahmud Ahmadinejad, requeted to put a stop to the project – but the not only the letter was ignored, but also he sent his vice Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei to attend the construction ceremony.


In August 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 Susa.





Extracted From/Source: Mehr News  [*]




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