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Persepolis: Unfinished Tomb


The Unfinished tomb at Persepolis.
(Chicago Oriental Institute,
©!!!)
Persepolis (Old Persian Pārsa, modern Takht-e Jamshid): Greek name of one of the capitals of the ancient Achaemenid empire, founded by the great king Darius (522-486 BCE). There were several satellite sites, like Naqš-i Rustam and Takht-e Rostam.
  
History Photos

The relief of the "Unfinished tomb" at Persepolis was meant to be identical to all other Achaemenid royal tombs (like those at Naqš-i Rustam and the Tomb of Artaxerxes II and the Tomb of Artaxerxes III in Persepolis), but was never completed.

Ancient-Warfare.com, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine

When we visited the site (in 2005), we found it in scaffolds, as if people had decided to finally finish the tomb. This enabled us to make a close-up of the relief of the king. Today (mid-2010), it is still in scaffolds, as if not only the tomb, but also the restoration has been abandoned.

It is not known who was meant to be buried here, although it is of course tempting to think of Artaxerxes IV Arses (338-336) or Darius III Codomannus (336-330). Both projects might indeed have remained unfinished because of Alexander the Great's invasion of Iran and the consequent unrest. However, the tomb is much lower than the two other funeral monuments in Persepolis, and the rock has strange layers that appear to be difficult to work upon. It is perhaps more likely that the tomb was left unfinished because the rock was not suited.

A satellite photo can be seen here.


History Photos
© Jona Lendering for
Livius.Org, 2005
Revision: 24 May 2010
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