The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
(CAIS) -- A railway bridge construction project,
which was threatening the Achaemenid dynastic site of Naqsh-e Rostam in Iran’s
southern province of Fars, has finally been cancelled, the Persian service of
CHN reported on Saturday
A series of efforts were made by public,
international media, cultural organisations forced the officials responsible for
the ancient site including the Parsa and Pasargadae Research Foundation (PPRF)
and the Fars Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Department (FCHHT) to
pressurise the officials of the Shiraz-Esfahan railway line to cancel the
If the bridge, which was to cross a road
at a distance of one kilometre from Naqsh-e Rostam, were to become operational,
the construction would spoil the historical landscape of the site.
The PPRF proposed construction of a tunnel
or installation of crossing gates, if the highway and railway line cross at
track level, PPRF director Mohammad-Hassan Talebian told CHN.
“Construction of the tunnel will be
supervised by a team of archaeologists after a comprehensive geophysical study,
if the option is chosen,” he said.
In 2006, the railway line threatened Naqsh-e
Rostam, home to the tombs of the Achaemenid dynasty emperors, including Darius
the Great, his son Xerxes I, Artaxerxes I, and Darius II, and several other
sites dating back to the Elamite, Parthian and Sasanian dynastic eras.
The railway right-of-way was to pass at a
distance of about 350 meters from Naqsh-e Rostam. The distance was increased to
over one kilometre following the objections raised by public and the cultural
However, the threat still remains to
another ancient site nearby.
The construction of the Shiraz-Esfahan
railway line now imperils the ancient strata of the Rahmatabad Tappeh.
The railway line is to pass at a distance
of 10 meters from the Rahmatabad Tappeh and archaeologists believe that the
constant vibration from passing trains would eventually damage the ancient
strata and artefacts buried in the mound.
Excavations on the Rahmatabad Tappeh in
2006 led to the discovery of a large number of ancient shards and kilns, and an
important industrial site dating back to the 5th millennium BCE.
Experts believe that the ancient strata and the kilns buried under earth at the mound will be destroyed if the railway line is allowed to pass close to the site.
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