Chogha Zanbil

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For the nearby modern village with this name, see Chogha Zanbil (village).
Chogha Zanbil
چغازنبيل (Persian)
Dur Untash (Elamite)
Choghazanbil2.jpg
Ziggurat at Chogha Zanbil
Location in Iran
Location in Iran
Magnify-clip.png
Shown within Iran
Location Khuzestan Province, Iran
Coordinates 32°0′30″N 48°31′15″E / 32.00833°N 48.52083°E / 32.00833; 48.52083Coordinates: 32°0′30″N 48°31′15″E / 32.00833°N 48.52083°E / 32.00833; 48.52083
Type Settlement
History
Builder Untash-Napirisha
Founded 1250 BC
Abandoned 640 BC
Cultures Elamite
Site notes
Excavation dates 1951-1961
Archaeologists Roman Ghirshman
Condition In ruins
Official name: Tchogha Zanbil
Type Cultural
Criteria iii, iv
Designated 1979 (3rd session)
Reference No. 113
State Party Iran
Region Asia-Pacific

Chogha Zanbil (Persian: چغازنبيل‎); Elamite: Dur Untash) is an ancient Elamite complex in the Khuzestan province of Iran. Chogha in Bakhtiari means hill. It is one of the few existent ziggurats outside of Mesopotamia. It lies approximately 42 km (26 mi) south-southwest of Dezfoul, 30 km (19 mi) west of Susa and 80 km (50 mi) north of Ahvaz.

History[edit]

Choga Zanbil means 'basket mound.'[1] It was built about 1250 BC by the king Untash-Napirisha, mainly to honor the great god Inshushinak. Its original name was Dur Untash, which means 'town of Untash', but it is unlikely that many people, besides priests and servants, ever lived there. The complex is protected by three concentric walls which define the main areas of the 'town'. The inner area is wholly taken up with a great ziggurat dedicated to the main god, which was built over an earlier square temple with storage rooms also built by Untash-Napirisha. [2] The middle area holds eleven temples for lesser gods. It is believed that twenty-two temples were originally planned, but the king died before they could be finished, and his successors discontinued the building work. In the outer area are royal palaces, a funerary palace containing five subterranean royal tombs.

Although construction in the city abruptly ended after Untash-Napirisha's death, the site was not abandoned, but continued to be occupied until it was destroyed by the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal in 640 BC. Some scholars speculate, based on the large number of temples and sanctuaries at Chogha Zanbil, that Untash-Napirisha attempted to create a new religious center (possibly intended to replace Susa) which would unite the gods of both highland and lowland Elam at one site.

The main building materials in Chogha Zanbil were mud bricks and occasionally baked bricks. The monuments were decorated with glazed baked bricks, gypsum and ornaments of faïence and glass. Ornamenting the most important buildings were thousands of baked bricks bearing inscriptions with Elamite cuneiform characters were all inscribed by hand. 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 were probably used for the production of baked bricks and decorative materials. It is believed that the ziggurat was built in two stages. It took its multi-layered form in the second phase.

The ziggurat is considered to be the best preserved example in the world. In 1979, Chogha Zanbil became the first Iranian site to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Archaeology[edit]

Axe bearing the name of the king Untash-Napirisha

Choga Zanbil was excavated in six seasons between 1951 and 1961 by Roman Ghirshman. [3] [4] [5] [6][7]

Threats[edit]

Petroleum exploration due to increased global demand threatens the foundations of the site, as various seismic tests have been undertaken to explore for reserves of petroleum. Digging for oil has been undertaken as close as 300 metres (984 ft) away from the ziggurat.[8]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Rohl, D: Legend: The Genesis of Civilisation, page 82. Century, 1998.
  2. ^ R. Ghirshman, The Ziggurat of Tchoga-Zanbil, Scientific American, vol. 204, pp. 69-76, 1961
  3. ^ Roman Ghirshman, Travaux de la mission archéologique en Susiane en hiver 1952-1953, Syria, T. 30, Fasc. 3/4, pp. 222-233, 1953
  4. ^ Roman Ghirshman, Tchoga Zanbil (Dur-Untash). Vol. I: La Ziggurat, Mémoires de la Délégation Archéologique en Iran, vol. 39, Geuthner, 1966
  5. ^ R. Ghirshman, Tchoga Zanbil (Dur-Untash) Volume II: Temenos, Temples, Palais, Tombes, Memoires de la Delegation Archeologique en Iran, vol. 40 Geuthner, 1968
  6. ^ M.J. Steve, Tchoga Zanbil (Dur-Untash) 3: Textes Élamites et Accadiens, Mémoires de la Délégation Archéologique en Iran, vol. 41, Geuthner, 1967
  7. ^ Edith Porada, Tchoga Zanbil (Dur-Untash). Vol. IV (only): La Glyptique, Memoires de la Delegation Archeologique en Iran, vol. 42, Geuthner, 1970
  8. ^ Soudabeh Sadigh (November 29, 2006). "Seismographic Tests to be performed on Tchogha Zanbil". Cultural Heritage News Agency. 

References[edit]

  • D. T. Potts, The Archaeology of Elam: Formation and Transformation of an Ancient Iranian State, Cambridge University Press, 1999, ISBN 0-521-56496-4
  • Roman Ghirshman, La ziggourat de Tchoga-Zanbil (Susiane), Comptes-rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, vol. 98 lien Issue 2, pp. 233–238, 1954
  • Roman Ghirshman, Campagne de fouilles à Tchoga-Zanbil, près de Suse, Comptes-rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, vol. 99, iss. 1, pp. 112–113, 1955
  • Roman Ghirshman, Cinquième campagne de fouilles à Tchoga-Zanbil, près Suse, rapport préliminaire (1955-1956), Comptes-rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, vol. 100, iss. 3, pp. 335–345, 1956
  • Roman Ghirshman, Les fouilles de Tchoga-Zanbil, près de Suse (1956), Comptes-rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, vol. 100, iss. 2, pp. 137–138, 1956
  • Roman Ghirshman, VIe campagne de fouilles à Tchoga-Zanbil près de Suse (1956-1957), rapport préliminaire, Comptes-rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, vol. 101, iss. 3, pp. 231–241, 1957
  • Roman Ghirshman, FouiIles de Tchoga-Zanbil près de Suse, complexe de quatre temples, Comptes-rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, vol. 103, iss. 1, pp. 74–76, 1959
  • Roman Ghirshman, VIIe campagne de fouilles à Tchoga-Zanbil, près de Suse (1958-1959), rapport préliminaire, Comptes-rendus des séances de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, vol. 103, iss. 2, pp. 287–297, 1959
  • P. Amiet, Marlik et Tchoga Zanbil, Revue d'Assyriologie et d'Archéologie Orientale, vol. 84, no. 1, pp. 44–47, 1990

External links[edit]