cais1.gif (153930 bytes)

CAIS Persian Text.gif (34162 bytes)

CAIS

The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies


 Persian Section.PNG (9914 bytes)


Home


About CAIS


Articles


Daily News


News Archive


Announcements


CAIS Seminars


Image Library


Copyright


Disclaimer


Submission


Search


Contact Us


Links


Facebook-Button.jpg (107165 bytes)



.

CAIS ARCHAEOLOGICAL & CULTURAL NEWS©

 

A Rush to Excavate Ancient Iranian Sites

 

News Category: Cultural

 28 November 2005

 

 

By: Nazila Fathi

Archaeologists from around the world have been rushing to excavate scores of newly identified ancient sites in southern Iran before the area is flooded by a new dam.

Iran has been planning for a decade to build the Sivand Dam in Fars Province, between the ruins of the ancient Persian cities of Persepolis and Pasargadae. But the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization knew little about the broader region until three years ago, when archaeologists identified 129 potentially important sites in the region that will be flooded by the new dam.

Last year, the United Nations issued an international appeal for archaeologists to unearth and record what they could before the flooding.

Teams from the United States, Poland, Germany, France, Italy and Japan are working together in the Tang-e Bolaghi Valley, looking for the ruins of Persepolis and Pasargadae, cities that at different times were capitals of ancient Persia, northeast of modern Shiraz.

Construction on the dam, planned to allow irrigation in the arid region, has been postponed until early 2006, and the Ministry of Energy has agreed to halt the project if a major site is discovered.

"The dam is a pity but it has provided us with a rare opportunity to do extensive work alongside other teams over a short period of time," said Rémy Boucharlat, the leader of the French archaeological team in Iran.

Pasargadae, founded by Cyrus the Great as the first dynastic capital of the Achaemenids and the Persian Empire, was known for its architecture as well as its liberality and respect for cultural diversity before it fell to Alexander the Great.

Persepolis was founded by Darius the Great, Cyrus's eventual successor, as the empire's ceremonial capital in 518 B.C.

The archaeologists have uncovered a narrow nine-mile dirt road, believed to be the Royal Passage of the Achaemenids, connecting the two cities, that was in use until the 18th century.

The scientists dismiss rumors that the dam will destroy the tomb of Cyrus in Pasargadae, which is on a much higher level. However, it is unknown how the dampness caused by the dam will affect the ruins.

"We are not in a position to say building the dam is good or bad," said Muhammad Hassan Talebian, the Iranian director in charge of the excavations in the region. "But we want the flooding to be postponed until we finish our excavation."

The oldest sites the international teams have found are caves inhabited some 4,000 years ago.

Civilizations have nearly always developed around areas with water. For example, in southern Iran, Khuzestan Province, which is known for oil wells, is home to some of the oldest archaeological sites. But dams and constructions connected to the oil fields have left them unexplored and shrouded in mystery.

The most important find is a unusual water channel that the archaeologists hope will reveal new information about the irrigation system of the Persian Empire.

More than six miles of the channel is cut horizontally into the rock. Other parts of the channel, about 10 miles long, are built on a solid stone foundation. Some parts were unfinished, suggesting that they were never used.

"It is a huge system and we think they wanted to build it to provide water for the population in Pasargadae," Mr. Boucharlat said. "They probably wanted to build a dam, too, and flood the same region that the dam will flood today."

 

 

Top of Page


Source: New York Times

 

 

 

my_Iran.jpg (13682 bytes)

"History is the Light on the Path to Future"

 

Persian_NOT_Farsi_by_Shapour_Suren-Pahlav_3D2.gif (177309 bytes)


 

Encyclopaedia Iranica


BIPS.jpg (15695 bytes)

The British Institute of Persian Studies


"Persepolis Reconstructed"

Persepolis_reconstructed2.jpg (36944 bytes)

Persepolis3D


The British Museum


The Royal

Asiatic Society


Persian_Gulf_Facebook.jpg (1935028 bytes)

The Persian Gulf

Facebook Page




Please use your "Back" button (top left) to return to the previous page

Copyright © 1998-2015 The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies (CAIS)