TEHRAN, Nov. 2 (Mehr News Agency) -- The Shush Cultural Heritage Center (SCHC) has filled a lawsuit against the owner of the Amir Zargar hotel construction project at the ancient city of Susa.
The owner of the Amir Zargar hotel construction project violated the perimeter of Susa by creating several excavations last week, the Persian service of CHN reported on Sunday.
"Sometime ago, the project owner had asked the Khuzestan Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department (KCHTHD) and SCHC permission to construct a hotel at the location, but we opposed him," SCHC director Mohammadreza Chitsaz.
"However, the owner began to dig some holes with loaders at the perimeter of the city of Susa a few days ago. We stopped them and the case is currently being pursued by judicial authorities," he added.
The excavations are of various sizes and no assessment has yet been carried out concerning the extent of the damage to the site.
Meanwhile, another hotel construction project, named Laleh, is in dispute at the site. The project began with an excavation of 100x100 meters in area and 6 meters in depth.
Construction of the hotels began in 2007 but both were halted shortly thereafter as a result of objections raised by media and cultural heritage enthusiasts. In early September 2008, Chitsaz said that the project had been banned following a series of expert investigations.
However, a deputy director of the Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) said in mid October that there were no obstacles to the construction of the hotels.
The hotel construction projects provoked a debate over the perimeter of Susa.
Consequently, a team led by archaeologist Mohammad-Taqi Ataii made 61 excavations at Susa and determined a 1200-hectare perimeter for the city as 32 of the digs have resulted in identification of ancient strata.
The previous demarcation, which had been carried out decades before, determined a 400-hectare perimeter for Susa.
According to Chitsaz the CHTHO has not approved the demarcation carried out by Ataii's team so far.
"Two weeks ago, during a session attended by deputy director of the CHTHO, a team comprising archaeologists Mir Abedin Kaboli and Mehdi Rahbar was assigned to investigate the case and determine the perimeter of Susa," Chitsaz said.
Last week, French archaeologist Rémy Boucharlat, who has previously conducted seasons of excavations at Susa, called for Iranian cultural officials to respect the perimeter of the ancient city.
He said that Susa consists of many satellite suburbs, villages, and workshops so that the city is not limited to the 400-hectare perimeter.
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