Tchogha Zanbil or Oil?

10/27/2005 3:09:23 AM
The historical site of Tchogha Zanbil

Tehran, 26 October 2005 (CHN) -- Ministry of Petroleum of Iran is carrying out a project on digging oil wells to determine the underground oil resources in the vicinity of Tchogha Zanbil. The oil wells are just 500 meters far from the historical site of Tchogha Zanbil.

The historical site of Tchogha Zanbil, is located south-west of Iran in Khouzestan province, 30 km south-west of Susa, the famous capital of Elam at a close distance from Dez River which is one of the branches of the larger Karun River.

The large Tchogha Zanbil temple is one of the ancient monuments of Iran which has been registered on UNESCO World Heritage List. The architecture employed in the ziggurat resembles those of Egyptian pyramids and Mayan temples. Founded c. 1250 B.C., the city remained unfinished after it was invaded by Ashurbanipal, as shown by the thousands of unused bricks left at the site.

The town and its ziggurat which were built by order of Untash-Gal, the Elamite king (1275-1240B.C.) were originally called Dur Untash. The name has been repeatedly mentioned in Elamite and Assyrian inscriptions. The world Dur in the Akkadian and Elamite languages means a town or an enclosed and distinct region.

The Tchogha Zanbil ziggurat is the only surviving ziggurat in Iran and is one of the most important remnants of the Elamite civilization.

Based on a contract signed between Nassereddin Shah, the Qajar king, and France, a French archaeology team was sent to Khouzestan in the year 1895. Based its headquarters in Susa, the main excavations were carried out by R. Ghrishman from 1951 to1962. Ghrishman succeeded to perform nine stages of consecutive excavations with 150 workers and in a period of 34 months.

The site is currently undergoing restoration and preservation attempts by cooperation of Japanese and UNESCO experts.

Now, the Ministry of Petroleum of Iran has started digging deep oil wells in the vicinity of Tchogha Zanbil. “The Ministry of Petroleum without coordination of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Iran (ICHTO) is carrying out projects of digging deep oil wells with the depth of 15 meters to identify the underground oil resources in the vicinity of this historical site. This historical heritage of Iran will suffer an irrecoverable harm by explosions for these wells,” says Mehdi Maddahi, director of the Research Center of Haft Tepe and Tchogha Zanbil.

According to Maddahi, the research center found out about the project by chance, and then demanded the authorities of the Ministry of Petroleum of Iran to halt the project for now to study the situation more carefully with cooperation of ICHTO experts.