The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
(CAIS) -- The
new director of the Iranian Centre for Archaeological Research (ICAR)
claimed the body of Cyrus the Great was mummified and is possibly buried beneath
his mausoleum in Pasargadae, reports CAIS correspondent from Tehran.
with journalists, Ahmadmirza Koochak Khoshnevis claimed Cyrus the Great was
killed by ‘Huns’ and then mummified and buried in an underground burial
chamber beneath his current mausoleum.
the Great was killed by ‘Huns’ and according to his written will he wanted
his body to be buried in Iranian-soil, therefore the body had to be mummified to
prevent decomposition during the transfer”, stated Khoshnevis.
statement came as a shock, when all historical accounts and research confirms
Cyrus the Great was killed during a battle with Massagetae, who were an Iranian
nomadic confederation occupying an area in the north-east of Aral Sea
in modern Kazakhstan – and not Huns.
whose speciality is Saudi’s Shia architecture continued: “I believe, his
mausoleum is in an Egyptian-funerary stepped architecture and seeing as he
wanted his body to be buried in ‘Iranian soil’, placing him in a chamber
made of stone seemed unacceptable – therefore there must be a burial-chamber
beneath the current mausoleum. In fact, it must be a mirror-image of the current
mausoleum beneath the current structure.”
even revealed the location and the depth of the underground burial chamber.
“Based on these ‘evidences’, I believe his body is likely to be buried in
an underground chamber at the depth of 35 meters, which will have to be
confirmed with technical and sound tools.”
mausoleum of the Cyrus the Great is the first and oldest free-standing funerary
structure, known as the ‘gabled-tomb’ in the world. The structure though is
an Iranian design, resembles and perhaps was influenced by the Elamite and
Mesopotamian Ziggurats. The mausoleum had become the direct influence on the
future free-standing mausoleums throughout the civilised world of that time. It
is also the world’s first base-isolated method that Iranian engineers invented
for its foundation to safeguard it from an earthquake.
only reference however to Cyrus the Great having wished to be buried in the
‘ground’ comes from Xenophon’s Cyropaedia (8.7.25),
which some historians have challenged and believe it to be a fiction.
claims despite being utterly-amusing and sounding like a prank, it is a warning
and should be taken very seriously. The claim of the existence of a chamber
beneath the mausoleum could be a prelude to a plot to dismantle and destroy the
mausoleum of Cyrus the Great under the guise of ‘research’ – a plot that
the Sivand dam failed to accomplish.
as the result of high-humidity generated by the artificial lake formed behind
the Sivand Dam, the edifices at Pasargadae including the Mausoleum of Cyrus the
Great have been affected. This is while the government and the
government-controlled ICHTO, including Khoshnevis reject the claim.
years ago the mausoleum went
under crude and unprofessional restoration work that has caused damages to
its structure. It is believed an extensive restoration programme is needed to
rectify the damages that were caused by that ‘restoration’.
that ‘restoration’, a number of bones were recovered in the ancient-cavity
of the structure, which some claim might have been the remains of Cyrus the
Great. The bones later disappeared and the Islamic Republic’s authorities
claimed “they were bones of a dog.”
obtained his Ph.D in Shia Architecture of Saudi-Arabia from the University of
Fine Arts in Tehran in 1989. His thesis was on the historical references about
the design of an Islamic Shia’ Shrine in Medina (Saudi Arabia) known as the
Ahl-bayt in al-Baqi’ cemetery.
neither an archaeologist nor has any expertise in Iranian art, archaeology and
history, particularly pre-Islamic Iran.
is however a trusted figure by the hardliner government of Mahmood Ahmandinejad
and is a close friend of Esfandiar Rahim-Masahei, the former-director of
Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organisation (ICHTO) – who was known
for his notorious approach to pre-Islamic Iran. Khoshnevis was brought to ICAR
by the former cleric director of the Centre, Taha Hashemi
during the take over of key position jobs in Iran by Mahmood Ahmadinejd and his
as the result of pressure from the cultural community lost his position to
Archaeologist Dr Mehdi Kuhpar who stayed in the job until two months ago.
Khoshnvis as the head of ICAR created unease and raised concerns among the
Iranian cultural and heritage figures.
 The entry reads: "Now as to my body,
when I am dead, my sons, lay it away neither in gold nor in silver nor in
anything else, but commit it to the earth as soon as may be. For what is
more blessed than to be united with the earth, which brings forth and
nourishes all things beautiful and all things good? I have always been a
friend to man, and I think I should gladly now become a part of that which
does him so much good.”
 The shrine was the burial place of 2nd,
4th, 5th & 6th Shia imams as well Abbas
and Fatima, the uncle and daughter of Islam’s prophet Muhammad. The graves
were enclosed by a domed-shrine built in 11th century and was
removed in 1925 due to the Saudi’s iconoclastic policy.
 Taha Hashemi
Toghroljerdi, was the deputy president of ICHTO and the director of ICHTO
Research Centre is a politician and former editor of the conservative
Persian daily "Entekhab". He is an influential cleric, protégé
and close aid to Ayatollah Ali Khameneh’i, the supreme leader of the
Islamic Republic. Hashemi, who is cleric with no knowledge or expertise
in the fields of history and archaeology, ironically was appointed as the
director of Iran's archaeological research centre, an organisation that is
responsible for protection of Iranian heritage - and according to
not so surprisingly he was one of the strong supporters of inundation of
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