French archaeologist asks Iranian officials to respect Susa

October 29, 2008

TEHRAN -- French archaeologist Rémy Boucharlat has called for Iranian cultural officials to respect the perimeter of the ancient city of Susa.

Iran’s decision for construction of two hotels at the perimeter of the city was described as bizarre and unbelievable by Boucharlat, who is the director of the French Institute of Iranian Studies, the Persian service of CHN reported on Tuesday.
The construction of Laleh and Amir Zargar hotels began following authorization of the project by the Khuzestan Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department (KCHTHD) in 2007.
However, the projects were halted after cultural heritage enthusiasts caused a media frenzy and in early September 2008, Shush Cultural Heritage Center (SCHC) director Mohammadreza Chitsaz said that the project had been banned following a series of expert investigations.
Meanwhile, a deputy director of the Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) said in mid October that there are no obstacles to the construction of the hotels.
A team led by Mohammad-Taqi Ataii made 61 excavations at Susa and determined a 1200-hectare perimeter for the city as 32 of the digs have resulted in identification of ancient strata.
The previous demarcation, which had been carried out decades before, determined a 400-hectare perimeter for Susa.
Susa consists of many satellite suburbs, villages, and workshops said Boucharlat, adding that the city is not limited to the 400-hectare perimeter.
It most likely that there are many ancient sites and artifacts in the area, which should be safeguarded by Iranian cultural officials, Boucharlat said.
Susa was an ancient city in the Elamite, Persian, and Parthian empires of Iran, located about 150 miles east of the Tigris River in Khuzestan Province of Iran.
Susa is one of the oldest known settlements in the region, probably founded around 4000 BC, although the first traces of an inhabited settlement date back to 7000 BC.