Part of Chogha Zanbil Ziggurat complex needs urgent repair

November 21, 2011 - 15:36
TEHRAN -- A structure, which is part of the Elamite ziggurat of Chogha Zanbil in Khuzestan Province, has become seriously dilapidated by neglect.

The structure is believed to have been a water purification system.

The brick monument, which is located at a distance of 700 meters to the northwest of the ziggurat, has been neglected since 2000 after it underwent a slight restoration, a source requesting anonymity told the Persian service of CHN on Sunday.

Archaeologists do not know yet exactly what the structure was used for during the ancient times.

The Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization has called it a channel for surface waters in a tablet installed at the site.

However, the Ministry of Power deems it a structure for water purification, which is “the most ancient and important water system in Iran and the world.”

Tar, gypsum and bricks have been used to construct the structure. In addition, the structure includes a tank and a pool. 

Water was transferred by a channel from the Karkheh River into the tank and then flowed through nine small steep channels into the pool.

Due to these facts, experts surmise that the structure was a water purification system.

They said that Pascal’s law, which is a consideration in the construction of a modern water purification system, was regarded in the construction of the structure in Chogha Zanbil. Pascal’s law states that an increase in pressure at any point in a confined liquid results in an equal increase at every other point.

A major remnant of the Elamite civilization, Chogha Zanbil was long considered the only surviving ziggurat in Iran, but excavations of Konar Sandal at the Jiroft ancient site in the southern Iranian province of Kerman have revealed that it is another ziggurat.

Located near Susa, the ancient capital of Elam, Chogha Zanbil was constructed in the Elamite city of Dur Untash.

Built about 1250 BC under the direction of the Elamite ruler Untash-Gal during the Middle Elamite period (c. 1500–c. 1000 BC), the complex was dedicated to Inshushinak (Insusinak), the bull-god of Susa. 

The square base of the ziggurat, 344 feet (105 meters) on each side, was built principally of brick and cement. It now stands 80 feet (24 meters) high, less than half its estimated original height.

Chogha Zanbil was registered on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1978.