Monday, March 2, 2009

Ancient Cemetery Turned Into Iranian Garbage Dump

Report from CAIS: Partho-Sasanian Dynastic Cemetery Turned Into Garbage Dump in Susa March 2, 2009 LONDON, (CAIS) -- A Partho-Sasanian (248 BCE – 651 CE) dynastic cemetery, located on the perimeter of the ancient city of Susa in Khuzestan Province, has recently been turned into a garbage dump. Since May 2007, some locals and the Shush Municipality dump their rubbish and the building wastes into a 100x100 meter excavation six meters deep intended for a hotel construction project at the site reported the Persian service of CHN on Monday. The hotel construction project, named Laleh, was cancelled following objections raised by the Iranian and international communities, cultural heritage enthusiasts and a number of world renowned archaeologists, including French archaeologist Rémy Boucharlat. The excavation was to be filled in after an expert study. However so far, no report has been published about the study or when the dig will be filled. In October 2008, another hotel construction project, named Amir Zargar, also infringed upon the Susa perimeter with the digging of some holes near the ancient city. The Amir Zargar project was also halted after the Shush Cultural Heritage Centre filled a lawsuit against the project’s owner. This is not first time Susa has been damaged by the Islamic republic’s organizations. The Sasanian dynastic era palace site of Eyvan-e Karkheh located near Susa had at one point in 2005 been used as a garbage dump. Eyvan-e Karkheh is currently being threatened by agricultural activities of the Islamic Azad University. Susa has also sustained damage from vandals. The column bases of Susa’s Apadana Palace were destroyed by vandals in January 2008. The palace perimeter was also demolished by construction of a preparatory school. The building, which is to be four stories tall, will spoil the view of the profile of the palace ruins. In addition, the historical metropolis of Susa is being obliterated by construction of a passenger bus terminal in the city’s southern section, and three football fields that host many young teams and fans every day. As well as being an archaeological site, Susa is also mentioned in the Old Testament as one of the places where the Daniel lived. His tomb is located in the heart of the city.Susa is one of the oldest known settlements in the region, probably founded around 4000 BCE, though the first traces of an inhabited village date back to 7000 BCE. Susa was destroyed at least four times in its’ long history. The first was in 647 BCE, by the Assyrian king Assurbanipal; the second destruction took place in 331 BCE by Alexander of Macedon; the third destruction was done by the Moslem’s invading armies when they sacked it in 638 CE, and finally the city was completely destroyed by Mongols in 1218.

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