The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
LONDON, (CAIS) -- Officials of the Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organisation (CHTHO) closed their eyes to the thousands years of Iranian history at Susa as they nodded their agreement to the construction of the multipurpose hotel complex on the perimeter of the ancient city in Southwestern Iran.
A CHTHO deputy director has recently visited the site, saying that there are no obstacles to the construction of the complex, the director of a team tasked to give a new demarcation of Susa told the Persian service of CHN on Tuesday.
The CHTHO deputy director visited the site without being accompanied by an archaeologist said Mohammad-Taqi Ataii. However, he declined to name the CHTHO official involved.
The construction of hotel began in May 2007 with the excavation of a 100x100 meter area to a depth of 6 meters following authorisation of the project by the director of Khuzestan Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department and the backing of Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei director of ICHTHO and the Islamic Republic’s deputy president.
However in August 2008, Shush Cultural Heritage Centre (SCHC) director Mohammadreza Chitsaz said that the project had been banned following a series of investigations by CHTHO’s experts.
Back then Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei announced the construction as illegal and promised the wrongdoers will brought to justice, despite the fact that it was Rahim-Mashaei himself who attended the commencing-ceremony along with the director of KCHHTO, and ordered the destruction of the site and construction of the new hotel to begin.
Attaii’s team recently made 61 excavations at Susa and determined a 1200-hectare perimeter for the city as 32 of the digs have been resulted in identification of ancient strata.
According to Attaii, the team discovered artefacts from the Achaemenid dynasty (550-330 BCE) and post-Achaemenid period during their excavations in southern Susa and also found strata north and west of the city dating back to the post-Sasanian era (637-851 CE).
“The excavation was stopped when we reached the post-Sasanian era strata, because our team had not been allowed to unearth any artefacts. However, if the excavation had been allowed to continue, it might be led to discovery of prehistoric pottery as well as artefacts from the Sasanian, Parthian and Achaemenid dynastic eras in the area,” Attaii said.
“At a distance of 200 meters north, south, and west of the 100x100 meter area for construction of the hotel, the team made some excavations all which exposed the strata from the Sasanian and Parthian dynastic eras,” he added.
All the strata have been discovered at a depth of 20 centimetres to 1 meter, Attaii noted.
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.
Details about the new demarcation and all the information gathered during the archaeological excavations have been sent to Tehran for CHTHO’s approval, making it quite bizarre to hear the abovementioned remark from a CHTHO official.
Susa was an ancient city located about 150 miles east of the Tigris River in Khuzestan Province of Iran.
Susa is one of the oldest known settlements in the region, probably founded around 4000 BCE, though the first traces of an inhabited settlement date back to 7000 BCE.
Archaeologists had determined a 400-hectare perimeter for Susa in the previous demarcation.
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