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Darius’s plan was to unite the three highest mounds and incorporate with a thick adobe embankment measuring 15 to 18 metres high and faced with mud bricks. This delimitation was adapted to the contour of the old slopes, which were restructured to produce a more regular and vertical appearance. The contour of the tells also results from the work that has been carried out since the first excavations in 1885–86. The embankment segments, shown in black on the plan, were controlled during J. Perrot’s excavations in 1973–77. Only one gate was identified to the east. Inside, to the west, the citadel overlooking the rest of the site and the palace stood on the Acropole tell, which was almost 20 metres above the rest at the time. To the north was the Royal Palace, which mainly occupied the Apadana tell, including the Hypostyle Hall (6) and the Residence (5), with The Darius Gate (4) in the distance to the east. Further east on the Ville Royale tell, beyond the valley crossed by a bridge (3), a monumental passage named the Propylaeum by excavators (2) gave access to the Palace. The rest of this tell has not revealed any other constructions from the Achaemenid era, except for a city gate (1), but scattered stone architectural elements have been excavated, especially at the southern tip, called the Donjon.
Plan of the buildings at Susa in Achaemenid times
Archives de la Maison Archéologie & Ethnologie, René-Ginouvès, JP_V03_37
© Mission de Suse. Délégation archéologique française en Iran / Daniel Ladiray