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Latest Archaeological and Cultural News of Iran and the Iranian World


Total destruction looming over the remains of the Sasanian Tappeh Asiyab-Abad in Ahvaz


10 August 2010



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Tappeh Asiyab-Abad. Top image was taken in 2007.

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The discovered and  later vanished Sasanian column-bases, 'not bigger than a biro' during the metro construction. Images courtesy of Taryana (Click to enlarge)





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Tappeh Asiyab-Abad

Courtesy of Mehr News

LONDON, (CAIS) -- The Sasanian site known as the Tappeh Asiyab-Abad (āsiyāb-ābād, the Flourishing Mill), located in the centre of the city of Ahvaz in Iran’s southwestern province of Khuzestan, is on the verge of total destruction and no action has yet been taken to protect it.


The archaeological mound (tappeh in Persian) is neither registered on the national heritage site list, nor is demarcated to establish its’ historical boundaries.


The historical mound of Asiyab-Abad, along with the a rock-burial in Hasir-Abad District, the foundation of Pol-e Siyah (Black Bridge), and Khorramkushk are within the historical limitations of  the Sasanian city of Hormoz Ardashir (modern Ahvaz).


The site is only 2000 meters away from the Darvazeh metro station in the Persian Gulf Square. The telecommunication and high voltage electricity pylons have been erected over the site with no respect for it historical importance. The mound is also is being used as a shortcut by pedestrians and motorcyclists.


In addition, after any rainfall more of the ancient layers wash away and the artefacts including potshards are being exposed, and some are even being taken away by the public.


While some sections of the mound have already been destroyed as the result of constructions of roads, mini-markets, residential houses and governmental offices – a new permit for housing construction was issued last year to the local-government ran Housing Consortium to flatten the 1800-year-old mound. The construction-permit apparently was challenged by Khuzestan Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicraft Department (KCHTHD).


A veteran Iranian archaeologist with KCHTHD who wished to remain anonymous for his safety in an email to CAIS said: “the permit being issued for building construction to the Housing Consortium, and the KCHTHD gallantly going to rescue, challenging the permit was more like a puppet-show. The story was propagated to give some sort of credibility to the incompetent KCHTHD, which supposedly is responsible for the protection of Iranian heritage in the province.”


He continues: “Iran Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicraft Organisation (ICHTHO) has the job of protecting Iranian heritage sites; - the organisation and its’ provincial departments including KCHTHD are controlled and run by the regime’s trusted people, with neither educational nor any affiliation or knowledge to ‘culture’ or ‘heritage’ fields or backgrounds. The sole purpose of taking control of ICHTHO by the regime is to erase the entire pre-Islamic Iranian heritage without resistance.”


He concluded: “regrettably, the people that run our country today are divided into two groups – ‘thieves’ and ‘superstitious-graveworshippers’. The first, are Superstitious-graveworshippers like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad whose education is limited to stating ‘Britain is a country in West-Africa’. These are a bunch of reactionary-illiterates who want to create an illusive-puritan-Islamic society on earth by any means, including destruction, rape, torture and mass-murder. These people strongly believe the pre-Islamic Iranian heritage, the Persian language and the West are the main obstacles to their cause – therefore they must be neutralised; – The second group are the ‘thieves’, who mainly are the clerics and their families in power, busy flattering their foreign bank-accounts at the expense of the Iranian nation. However, both groups have few things in common: both hate Iran, the Iranians, the Iranian-culture and heritage.”


Recently during the construction of a new metro station in Ahvaz, the workers discovered a number of foundation-columns made of stone and other artefacts, which all were transferred to KCHTHD for safe keeping. The following day KCHTHD denied their existence and the department’s director, Parviz Pur-Farrokhi claimed the stones were building wastes and the alleged pillars were not bigger than a biro.


To date, the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared artefacts remain unknown.



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