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Italians Join Iranians to Save Bolaghi Ancient Sites


21 February 2005



A joint team of Italian and Iranian experts will start next week to explore the ancient cemeteries and settlements of Bolaghi gorge, behind the Sivand Dam, as part of the project to save the archeological site.

Bolaghi little valley, located 84 kilometers from the world heritage site of Pasargadae, in Fars province, has once been, according to some experts, home to the King Road. The Road is considered the major ancient road of Iran which connected Pasargadae to Persepolis and Susa, and includes some remains as old as the time that human beings were cave dwellers, to the prehistoric era, up to the Islamic times.

The Bolaghi archeological site enjoys having cemeteries and settlements dating to the time span between the Achaemenid to the Sassanid era, and the joint team of Italians and Iranians is the first to attempt to save it before the dam of Sivand is flooded in one year time. The 14-strong team is made up of experts specializing in archaeology, anthropology, mapping, and designing.

Due to the significance of saving the ancient sites for studies, discussions have been held between the Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) and international experts from Italy, France, Australia, Germany, Poland, Japan, and England, and the work will start there next week with help of Italian experts, explained the Iranian head of the team, Alireza Asgari.

The team will primarily undertake some explorations in the area dating to the time span between the Achaemenid kingdom and that of the Sassanids, because as Asgari told CHN, not many remains and artefacts of that period have so far been found in Fars province. The period is thus called by experts “Fars dark era” and excavations there may help solve some of its secrets.

Sivand Dam, the construction of which has been started in 1992 without permission of the ICHTO, is planned to be flooded by next year, and that would lead to some 8 kilometers of the Bolaghi gorge to be drowned and lost forever. Therefore experts of ICHCTO and the Pars-e Pasargadae Research Foundation undertook a project to study the area, so far identifying more than 100 archeological sites there.

According to Head of the Pasargadae site, Babak Kial, the indentified areas include prehistoric hills, metal kilns, prehistoric caves and dwellings, stone graves, two collective graves from the Parthian era, ... all of which would go under water in a year’s time.

Pasargadae is the fifth Iranian site that was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2004, and based on the Natural and Historical Heritage Convention, should receive specific attention and care, forbidding any attempt that may endanger it.



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