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Rescue Archaeology in Bolaqi Gorge Caves


20 July 2005



The emergency rescue operation in the ancient caves of Bolaqi Gorge that will be drowned in 6 months kicked off with the aid of a team of Iranian and Japanese archeologists.



A team of Iranian and Japanese archeologists have begun an emergency rescue operation in the ancient caves of Bolaqi Gorge which will be drowned in six months following Sivand dam watering.

Bolaqi Gorge is located in the southern province of Fars in a distance of 4 km from Pasargadae ancient site, and includes over 120 ancient sites. Many archeologists also believe that a part of the ancient King's Road, the oldest Iranian empire road, crossed this site.

“In this excavation season, a team of Iranian and Japanese archeologists have begun their studies on the caves in which several Paleolithic artifacts have been found. They are trying to rescue as many artifacts as they can before the dam is watered and the caves are drowned,” asserted Karim Alizadeh, head of international affairs in the Archeology Center of the Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO).

“We want to extract as much information as we can,” added Alizadeh, “and regarding the insufficiency of information in the field of the Paleolithic Age, this rescue operation can be considered critical.”

The joint team of Iranian and Japanese archeologists including 8 Japanese experts and 6 Iranian researchers will work on the caves for a month. Iranian ministry of energy has announced that the dam will be watered in six months and more than 120 ancient sites will be drowned.

Previously, 4 joint teams of Iranian-German, Iranian-Polish, Iranian-Italian, and Iranian-French archeologists had worked in this site that led to the discovery of a series of ancient sites from the 4th millennium B.C to the Islamic era, an Achaemenid village, and several artifacts dating back to Sassanid era.

In recent years, the construction of many dams in several countries including Assvan Dam in Egypt, with the aim of economic development, has inflicted serious damages to these countries' cultural heritage and in some cases led to the complete destruction of ancient sites. Egypt formed an international team under the supervision of UNESCO for rescuing some ancient temples.

Pasargadae is the 5th Iranian ancient site registered as a world heritage site in the UNESCO world heritage committee conference in June, 2004.

The construction of Sivand dam in Fars province started in 1992, regardless of the existence of several historical sites in the region.




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