Budget cuts partially suspend excavations at Burnt City

November 25, 2007 - 0:0

TEHRAN -- Excavations have been suspended in some areas of the 5200-year-old Burnt City due to a cutback in funding.

The current operations, which commenced on November 10 and which are being undertaken by a team of Iranian and foreign archaeologists, constitute the 11th season of studies and excavations at the Burnt City, in southeastern Iran.
“The funds allocated for this season are less than one-fourth of the budget paid annually for excavations at the site,” the Burnt City Cultural Heritage Center director Alireza Khosravi told the Persian service of CHN on Saturday.
“Rescue excavations currently underway at other archaeological sites in Iran which are being threatened by the construction of dams, roads, etc. prevent officials from allocating the necessary finance for operations at the Burnt City,” he added.
“According to officials at the Archaeology Research Center of Iran these budget cuts are temporary,” Khosravi noted.
Every excavation season at the Burnt City, which is considered Iran’s most important archaeological site, has resulted in the discovery of an amazing artifact.
In the last season, the team of archaeologists unearthed a 4800-year-old skull of a woman complete with an artificial eyeball.
They had previously discovered an earthenware bowl bearing the world’s oldest example of animation.
All seasons of excavation at the Burnt City have been led by Iranian archaeologist Seyyed Mansur Seyyed-Sajjadi.
Covering an area of 150 hectares, it is located 57 kilometers from the city of Zabol in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchestan Province.
It was one of the world’s largest conurbations at the dawn of the urban era and was well developed during the third millennium BC. It thus constitutes one of the country’s most important prehistoric sites.
The city, which was burnt down three times, shows evidence of four stages of civilization. Since it was not rebuilt after the last conflagration, it has been named the Burnt City.
Caption: An archaeologist displays an earthenware bowl bearing the world’s oldest example of animation, which was discovered at the Burnt City