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ICHTO Experts Rescue Izeh`s Stone Lions


Wednesday, 16 February 2005

TEHRAN –- Experts of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (CHTO) were able to save the stone lions and tombstones in a graveyard in Khuzestan which were in danger of being submerged by the rising waters of the reservoir of the Karun-3 Dam.

The stone lions and tombstones of the Zir Pass in the Izeh region of Khuzestan Province, symbols of the bravery of Bakhtiari heroes 200 years ago, were finally transferred to a safe place.

CHTO expert Jafar Mehrkian pointed to the problems they faced in transporting the monuments, saying, “Four 400-kilo stone lions have been saved so far, but some of the inhabitants of the region claimed that the stone lions belonged to their ancestors, and opposed the transfer.

“It was very important for us that they be rescued and kept in a safe place. We did not want them to be scattered, so they were all gathered in one place to be later transferred to a museum,” he said.

He stated that the materials used in the monuments support the theory that they were made some 200 kilometers away from where they were set up, probably somewhere in Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari Province.

“The monuments provide valuable information about the people interred in the graveyard, the military equipment they used, as well as the (cultural) anthropology of the Bakhtiari nation. Their shapes are also unique,” he said in conclusion.

The tradition of installing stone lions on graves dates back to the Elamite era, thousands of years ago.

The Karun-3 Dam was launched on November 8, submerging many historical sites, monuments, and artifacts.

Iranian and foreign archaeologists have rushed to the site to save what they can and have so far been able to rescue several stone lions and many historical earthenware items.

The region is home to an ancient site from the Elamite era which includes graves as well as ancient caves, artifacts, and remains dating back to the Stone Age.



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