Excavation still incomplete, Ecbatana ancient site paved for tourists

March 15, 2011 - 0:0

TEHRAN -- A part of the Ecbatana mound in Hamedan has been covered with stones to provide a passageway for tourists while the archaeological excavations are still underway at the ancient site.

The route has been built by the Hamedan Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department (HCHTHD) beside one of the trenches at the central part of the mound, cultural heritage activist Babak Maghazeii told the Persian service of the Mehr News Agency on Monday.
Traces of heavy vehicles used in construction of the pathway are clearly visible on the site, which has not been completely excavated yet, he added.
A number of columns have also been erected around the trench to support plates on the area. Due to building these structures, any archaeological excavation is no longer possible.
Ruins of ancient columns, which have been left at the site, may be damaged by tourists during the Noruz high season.
Covering an area of 35 hectares, the site of Ecbatana is located in the northern section of the western Iranian city of Hamedan. Ruins from various historical periods have been unearthed during several seasons of excavations at the site which indicate that the ancient inhabitants practiced progressive urban planning.
Ecbatana was the capital of ancient Media and later the summer residence of Achaemenid and Parthian dynasty kings. It is beautifully situated at the foot of Mount Alvand, northeast of Bisotun. In 549 BC, it was captured by Cyrus the Great. It had a royal treasury which was plundered in turn by Alexander, Seleucus, and Antiochus III.
Also called Hegmatana, the site has never been thoroughly excavated since it is mostly covered by the modern city of Hamedan.
Photo: This photo shows a part of the Ecbatana ancient site covered with stone for a tourist walkway. (Photo by Mehr