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6,000-Year-Old Ziggurat Found Near Chogha Zanbil In Iran


Following some geophysical studies, Iranian archeologists have managed to discover the remains of an age-old ziggurat, possibly dating back to 6,00 years, near the 3,000-year-old famed Chogha Zanbil Ziggurat, Iranian Cultural Heritage News Agency reported.

Chogha Zanbil is situated in southwest Iran about 40 km southeast of the ancient city of Susa. It was built on a plateau above the banks of the Dez River. The complex consists of a magnificent ziggurat (the largest structure of its kind in Iran), temples, and three palaces. The site was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1979. The geophysical surveys have started since last year and its second season would resume in October, southwest of Iran.

"Theoretically, since late 1970's, we believed there must be another ziggurat in the area and our recent surveys proved the speculation to be right," said Hamid Fadaei, head of the research center in Chogha Zanbil.

It is assumed the newly discovered area, named New Village, used to house the forefathers of King Untash Napirisha, who founded Dur-Untash, which means the castle or the city of Untash. Its size and splendor was intended to honor the gods and to manifest the power of the monarch. At the center of the city, a ziggurat was built of which two floors still exist. A wall surrounded it, which is the inner wall of three concentric walls in Dur Untash. Between the inner wall and the middle wall several temples belonging to different Elamite divinities were built. The outer city wall was about 4 km long enclosing an area of approximately 100 hectares. The royal quarter was situated adjacent to a major city gate some 450 meters east of the ziggurat. In this area, a group of three major buildings with large courts surrounded by lengthy halls and rooms were excavated. Beneath one of theses buildings (Palace I), five underground tombs were found similar to those of Haft Tappeh (Kabnak). The tombs in Chogha Zanbil however were of a much more monumental dimension.

The building materials in Chogha Zanbil are mainly mud bricks and occasionally baked bricks. The monuments were well built and beautifully decorated with glazed baked bricks, gypsum, ornaments of faience and glass. Thousands of baked bricks bearing inscriptions with Elamite cuneiform characters were all inscribed by hand, ornamenting the most important buildings. Glazed terracotta statues such as bulls and winged griffins guarded the entrances to the ziggurat. Near the temples of Kiririsha and Hishmitik-Ruhuratir, kilns were found that probably were used for the production of baked bricks and decoration materials. The ziggurat, it is believed, was built in two stages and in the second phase took its multi-layered form.

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