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At the beginning (Figure 4), a brick formwork (Heinrich, p.

The first phase of ziggurat-like structures und platforms dates to the Early and Middle Bronze Age (between the end of the 4th millennium and the 3rd millennium BCE ).

Slightly smaller monumental platforms which possibly served as substructures for high temples were erected in the Iron Age (between the end of the 2nd and the first half of the 1st millennium BCE), and constitute their second phase.

External flights of steps are always missing from monumental buildings in Iran, yet they are at all times present in Mesopotamia (for Babylonia, see Ur, Babylon, and Dur Kurigalzu; for Assyria, see Assur, Nimrud, Tall ar-Rimah and Khorsabad). 23-25), the first archeologist to excavate the southern mound, dated the site to the Early Iron Age, and considered the monument a “grande construction.” Based on new excavations in the early 2000s, S. Shahmirzadi (2004, 2005) has proposed to consider this site (Figure 1) a ziggurat dating to the Proto-Elamite Layer IV. Neither the reconstruction of this monument as a ziggurat nor its dating to the beginning of the 3rd millennium BCE is accepted in the archeological literature.

In Iran, monumental buildings, with the exception of Choga Zanbil whose construction sets it apart, were accessible by ramps. But his date is based on pottery uncovered exclusively in the debris surrounding the monument (Pfälzner, p. 75), and his interpretation has been widely rejected as pure speculation (Azarnoush and Helwing, p. (Čoḡā Zanbil, Tchogha Zanbil) is nowadays the most famous ziggurat in Iran, and in 1979 it was added to the UNESCO's World Heritage List.

The town (lat 32°00′30.4″ N, long 48°31′19.0″ E) lies on the river Dez in the Khuzestan region, and was discovered in 1936.

In the 1950s Ghirshman oversaw a French team excavating the site, and since 1997 the German team of Behzad Mofidi Nasrabadi has conducted further investigations of Choga Zanbil. 1275-40 BCE), and the ziggurat was dedicated to Inšušinak and Napiriša, the principal deities of the town and the Elamites, respectively.

The urban settlement was founded by the Elamite ruler Untaš-Napiriša (r. The ziggurat is separated from the town by a temenos wall, and with a lateral length of 105.20 m it is the largest known ziggurat (Figure 2).

The structure is unique, since the chronological sequences of the building phases, that have been recognised, differ fundamentally from that of other known ziggurats in Mesopotamia (Figure 3).

In Iran, buildings considered ziggurats or high temples can be distinguished from Mesopotamian ziggurats by their means of access.


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