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Iran: Unidentified Underground Channels Exist in Sassanid Fortress

By Ladan M. Sadeghioon

Based on claims by the locals as well as the exterior look of Da va Dokhtar Fortress, archeologists believe there must be some underground channels underneath the Fortress which need to be studied.

Tehran, 26 September 2006 (CHN) -- Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department of the city of Ramhormoz in Khuzestan province has asked for archeological studies and excavations in the Sassanid fortress of Da va Dokhtar (literary meaning 'Mother and Daughter') to obtain more information about its historic background prior to the start of restoration works, anticipated to take place in a near future. Experts believe that there still exist some unidentified underground passageways and unknown architectural styles in the deeper layers of the Fortress which need to be studied.

Fardin Bigdeli, director of Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department of Ramhormoz considered the excavations in this historical site essential and said: "We proposed to the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization to consider archeological studies on this fortress before the start of renovation. The existing information about this fortress is insufficient and based on its exterior architecture and stories by the locals, the fortress must have some unknown underground passages and different architectural styles which must be discovered."

Bigdeli also said that the assumption is based on information provided mostly by the people who have seen parts of the underground channels of this fortress. However, due to the largely extended area of the fortress and the dangers of exploration, no one has ever been able to explore all the underground passageways.

Existing evidence shows that there used to be several rooms in the surrounding area of this fortress which were covered with soil over time. These rooms were later discovered by illegal diggers who plundered what was left inside by digging some pits.

According to Bigdeli, once archeologists finish their studies on the lower levels of the fortress, the Sassanid fortress will go under renovation and the sections destroyed by the explosions caused by a nearby plaster company, or by natural forces and humans will be restored.

Located 5 kilometers north of the city of Ramhormoz in the southwestern province of Khuzestan, the ancient fortress of Da va Dokhtar was constructed during the Sassanid dynastic era (224-651 AD) and is modeled after Roman-style castles along the Mediterranean coast.

For over thirty years, the Da va Dokhtar Fortress, built on the mountain-skirts of a gypsum mountain, was rocked by a series of explosions set off by a company producing plaster. The activities of the plaster company were detrimental to the fortress and destroyed some of its major parts to a great extent.

Six years ago, this fortress was registered as a national cultural heritage site and thus it was the responsibility of Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) to preserve this unique Sassanid heritage.

Therefore, a lawsuit was filed by ICHTO against the company to stop its activities in the vicinity of the Da va Dokhtar Fortress which put an end to more than 30 years of explosive activities near this Sassanid monument. An equivalent of 35,000 USD has already been allocated to renovating the fortress from the province's share of oil revenue. However, ICHTO is trying to convince the court to ask the owners of the company for compensations for the damages caused to be used for the renovation of the fortress.

... Payvand News - 9/26/06 ... --

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