Persepolis bas-reliefs damaged by film crew member

December 23, 2006
TEHRAN -- A member of a film crew recently damaged two bas-reliefs depicting Achaemenid soldiers on the wall of the Artaxerxes Palace in Persepolis, the Persian service of CHN reported on Thursday.

The unidentified person, who was a crew member of Hassan Fat’hi’s latest film, removed the heads of two Achaemenid soldiers with metal tools, most likely in order to steal the artifacts, said Persepolis Guard Department director Noruzi (no first name given).

“We had suspicions about several individuals in the group of cameramen from the beginning, so two guards were assigned to keep an eye on them, but one of them furtively damaged two bas-reliefs of Persepolis,” he added.

The prime suspect has been arrested, and a team of experts is investigating the level of damage.

Several months ago a part of the Xerxes Palace in Persepolis was damaged by a fire set by another film crew.

“The officials who issue permits for feature-length films with large crews are responsible for such events. We have asked the officials not to authorize groups that have applied to make feature-length films at Persepolis, but there has so far been no response to the requests,” Persepolis Ancient Complex director Maziar Kazemi said.

Following the latest catastrophe, the Cultural Heritage Guards Department has asked the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization to stop issuing permits for filming at Persepolis.