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Jareh, the Most Intact Surviving Dam from the Sasanian Period is Being Destroyed


13 August 2006





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LONDON, (Shapour Suren-Pahlav - CAIS) -- As the result of the upcoming inundation of the area behind the newly built Kuh-Shur reservoir dam, all the inhabitants of the historical village of Jareh have been evacuated and relocated in nearby villages, and the ancient dam of Jareh will be submerged soon.


The new dam with 113 meter height (above lowest foundation), and 450 meters in length constructed by the Islamic regime' Ministry of Energy. The Jareh Dam was known as Hormoz, and it is situated northeast of Ramhormuz on the Zard (yellow) River, in the Khuzestan Province. 


“The construction of the new dam, will result in the submersion and total destruction of the Sasanian dam of Jareh and the historic village under the same name”, said Mansur Motamedi, deputy director of Ramhormoz’ “Friends of Cultural Heritage Society”, according to ISNA Persian Service.


“Since this construction is considered a state programme, we cannot oppose it; nevertheless, it should have consulted the Cultural Heritage authorities, prior to planning, to prevent the destruction of our cultural heritage and damaging our national identity”, said Motamedi.


The unique location of the ancient dam is one of its advantages. The climatic and geographic conditions has kept the dam operational despite its 1,600-year history. “The experts are still considering the Sasanian dam to be a feet of engineering and admired for its functionality. After sixteen centuries to this date no flood has ever managed to effect its structural integrity", according to Motamedi.


The dam was built during the Sassanian dynastic era (224-651 CE) when Iranian architects had advanced knowledge about constructing the infrastructure for supplying water for irrigation and drinking. The canals which led to the historical dam were used to provide water to farmlands in the area.


“In this area, we have three dams from the Sasanian period, which one of them is the Jareh Dam. The Jareh dam is the most intact of the two surviving, and other the two, Shāh Abolghāsem and the Dam of Māmātī village only 30% to 40% of their structures have survived”, told Motahamedi.


Appalled Motamedi also mentioned this tragic event as the result of no coordination between the authority and ICHTO (Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organisation).


He added: “we are in the midst of talk with the provincial as well as state authorities, to prevent this historical water-engineering structure to be destroyed. In a meeting scheduled with the Islamic Parliament’s MP for Rāmhormoz, we plan to discuss the relocation of the historic dam, in which we will insist upon.”


Relocation of the dam had previously been proposed during meetings between cultural heritage officials and the authorities of the new dam project, but the idea has been rejected by some experts, who argue that the dam might collapse or lose its original shape due to the materials used in its construction.

“As the result of having a 1600-years-old dam with a crown (crest) wide as 8.80 meter and the complex construction materials which cobbled dam together using the small stones obtained from the river and cemented together with Sāroj (a mixture of lime, egg-yoke and ashes), its' transfer could be impossible,” said Hamidreza Farrokh-Ahmadi, the director of Khuzestan’s Provincial Energy and Water Reservoir.


Motamedi also mentioned “the public are banned from visiting the historical dam, despite it being registered on the national heritage list, and therefore, it belongs to the nation; in the other words the Ministry of Energy is an usurper.”


Last year a team from the "Sound and Vision Organization" (the state run TV and Radio organization) were filming the historical monuments of Iran for a TV programme listed to be aired for Nowruz (Iranian New Year), including the Jareh dam, in which the authorities did not permit them to enter the site.


Motamedi concluded “also, recently a team of archaeologists from ICHTO with coordination with the governor office, attended the site of Jareh for an archaeological evaluation, but they did not succeed to gain access. As a result ICHTO is under scrutiny by the public as to why they are not permitted to visit their national heritage, which is part of their ancestral achievements.”


In recent years the Islamic regime has planned for construction of 80 dams, which ICHTO the main body that is responsible for safeguarding Iranian Cultural heritage, has never been consulted. It seems that the sites of the new dams, have deliberately been chosen to target and destroy pre-Islamic Iranian heritage, in which the most infamous of all is the Sivand dam, near Pasargadae.









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