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Remains of Ancient Qanats Discovered Near Bam


01 May 2004



Landslides occurring after the recent earthquake in Bam have unveiled remains of an elaborate network of ancient villages and qanats around the city. They were discovered one km east of Bam, having escaped the watchful eyes of archeologists so far.

Shahryar adl, an expert and member of the Bam citadel recovery committee who came across the evidence said aerial photography and archeological explorations led to the discovery of a highly organized system of qanat irrigation and ancient villages near Bam. Describing the discovery as significant, Adl remarked his findings suggest a population concentration east of what is now bam.

“They had to leave the villages and move inside the citadel in the face of attacks by the Ezz tribe and then the Mongols,” he explained.

Adl pointed out the qanat network was unique in that they drew on a difference in ground level. Bam residents dug pools near faults that water would gather in, creating aqueducts to lead water to farms.

The system was destroyed as sediments piled up and no dredging was carried out. The historical Bam town is among the old cities in the country, which according to archeologists was founded in the Sasanid era or even earlier in the Achaemenid era.

In addition to the citadel, the city used to be surrounded by numerous villages, where a major part of agricultural, manufacturing and economic activities were concentrated. As the qanats dried up and villages were abandoned, the residents had to move to near the 2,000 year old citadel, triggering a rise in construction in the citadel since some 800 years ago, which reached its height in the Qajar era.

The Bam citadel was leveled to the ground in an earthquake, which shook the area last December.



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