The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
(CAIS) -- Experts of Ayapir (ayāpīr) Cultural Heritage Research Centre
have requested urgent budget support to finance restoration of bas-reliefs and
inscriptions of the historic sites of Eshkaft-e Salman and Kul-Farah, currently
in a critical condition.
two sites are located in the city of Izeh in the Iranian southwestern province
of Khuzestan and feature many historic evidence mostly belonging to the Elamite
civilization (3400-550 BCE).
Salman (eškāft-e salmān - Salman’s Cave), otherwise known as Tarisha (tarišā)
Temple, is home to the largest neo-Elamite inscription ever found in Iran. The
inscription was spoiled recently by unidentified persons who poured paint on its
this incident, the Association of Cultural Heritage Supporters of Izeh asked the
Iranian cultural heritage authorities to increase the number of their security
guards in the area. Moreover, experts of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism
Department of Izeh asked for budget to hire specialists to remove the paint from
this ancient inscription. However, the budget has not yet been provided despite
frequent warnings by cultural heritage experts.
is while according to Mehdi Faraji, director of the archaeology departments of
Ayapir Research Centre, the conditions of other bas-reliefs of Izeh’s historic
sites are no better than the inscription of Eshkaft-e Salman, although he admits
that the assault on the Elamite inscription is a disaster. He also said that
salvation of the region’s historic bas-reliefs requires a “firm national
equivalent of 53,000 Euro had previously been allocated to the research projects
of Ayapir Cultural Heritage Centre, but never released. Faraji emphasized that
as soon as the due payment is received, the Centre will take up the
responsibility of restoring Eshkaft-e Salman’s bas-reliefs.
to Faraji, Several official requests have so far been made through formal
correspondence to Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO)
and its provincial department in Khuzestan by Ja’far Mehrkian, director of
Ayapir Research Center, warning about the dire consequences of the ignorance
toward the region’s bas-reliefs.
the other hand, in a letter to director of Khuzestan’s Cultural Heritage and
Tourism Department, director of ICHTO’s Department of Conservation and
Renovation of Historic Sites, Jalil Golshan, has blamed lack of funding for
insecurity in the historic sites of Izeh and requested the Department to
immediately provide the necessary budget for restorations to begin.
all the correspondences made, no budget has yet been provided to protect and
restore Izeh’s ancient bas-reliefs,” added Faraji.
ancient sites of Izeh have the dubious distinction of suffering the most damage
and the most illegal excavations and smuggling of all Iran’s historical sites.
In addition, many construction projects, such as constructions of dams and a
hotel in the region, are also threatening Izeh’s ancient sites.
called Ayapir, Izeh is known for its large number of bas-reliefs as the Town of
Rocks. It is situated at the middle of the Zagros mountain ranges and has the
biggest collection of archaeological sites and monuments.
historic site of Eshkaft-e Salman contains four bas-reliefs carved on the
mountain, two of which are inside a nearby cave. One of the bas-reliefs depicts
a woman beside a man and a priest in a traditional ceremony.
has large bas-reliefs showing ensembles of vertical and horizontal harps which
are as large as Mesopotamian harps. The site also had several other bas-reliefs
which were removed in order to be stored in vacuum glass display units, but
cultural officials have not agreed with the idea.
Cultural Heritage Centre is determined to prepare the file of six Elamite
bas-reliefs and inscriptions in Kul-Farah, the biggest worship place of ancient
Iran during the Elamite period, in the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
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