Threat from Shiraz-Isfahan railway shifts to Rahmatabad Tepe

January 21, 2009

TEHRAN -- The construction of the Shiraz-Isfahan railway line, which was previously threatening the ancient Naqsh-e Rustam site in Fars Province, now imperils the ancient strata of the Rahmatabad Tepe.

The railway line is to pass at a distance of 10 meters from the Rahmatabad Tepe and archaeologists believe that the constant vibration from passing trains would eventually damage the ancient strata and artifacts buried in the mound.
“The latest excavations on the Rahmatabad Tepe in 2006 led to the discovery of a large number of ancient shards and kilns, and an important industrial site dating back to the 5th millennium BC,” Iranian Center for Archaeological Research Director Mohammad-Hassan Fazeli Nashli told the Persian service of CHN on Tuesday.
“Although the kilns are buried under earth, they will be destroyed due to the weakness of their mud-brick construction if the railway line is allowed to pass near the site,” he added.
Discovery of three kinds of kilns, one of which is two-story, shows that the region was an important center for mass-producing pottery works to be used in other regions in the vicinity, Fazeli Nashli noted.
In 2006, the railway line threatened the Achaemenid sites of Naqsh-e Rustam, home to the tombs of the Achaemenid kings Darius I, Xerxes I, Artaxerxes I, and Darius II, and several other sites dating back to the Elamite and Sassanid eras.
The railway right-of-way was to pass at a distance of about 350 meters from Naqsh-e Rustam. The distance was increased to over one kilometer following the objections raised by the Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Oragnization and the Parsa and Pasargadae Research Foundation.