(CAIS) -- Mike Corfield, a heritage science and
conservation consultant from Britain, who was previously
the Chief Scientist for English Heritage, came to Iran by
the invitation of UNESCO office in Tehran to reconsider
the situation of Bam Citadel and the reconstruction
process after the earthquake.
It was his second visit to Bam Citadel after the
earthquake of January 2003. In an interview with CHN,
Corfield expressed his satisfaction about the restoration
process in Bam Citadel; meanwhile he strongly insisted
that such a mega project needs a lot of time to be
The 2000-yeasr-old Bam Citadel was one of the largest
adobe structures in the world and one of the most
beautiful historical sites in Iran, belonging to the
Arsacid dynastic era.
more than 80 percent of this magnificent citadel collapsed
when a massive earthquake hit the city of Bam more than
two years ago which brought the city to ruins, leaving
tens of thousands dead and homeless.
The inscription of the Bam Citadel on the World Heritage
list at the 28th session of the UNESCO’s World Heritage
Committee in China was a giant step towards renovating
this historical site.
The cooperation of several countries in the reconstruction
of Bam Citadel has changed this project into an
international one. Japan, Italy, and France are among
countries which started their cooperation with this
project from the very beginning. Japan has granted some
500,000 US dollars to Iran for the reconstruction of Bam
Citadel, besides it has supported Iranian government in
this project with sending some equipments and creating the
3D plan of Bam Citadel to increase the accuracy of the
renovation and salvation activities of the citadel. Italy
has funded 300,000 US dollars in the Salvation Project of
Bam. It has also dispatched a team of Italian experts to
restore the main tower of Bam. France has also helped the
government of Iran by providing the map of Bam Citadel.
World Bank has also granted a large sum of money to this
According to Corfield, a number of good steps have been
taken so far for the reconstruction of Bam Citadel, and a
large amount of debris has been removed. “Altogether, it
seems to me that Bam is rapidly coming back to life,”
He also mentioned that a lot have been done to prevent the
danger of collapse of the citadel, and there is less risk
of the building’s collapse compared to last year when he
had visited the citadel for the first time. “My feeling
is that it is a project that is progressing and developing
successfully,” said Corfield to CHN correspondent.
Corfield also explained that during the archeological
excavation for Bam Salvation Project they have found out
how the history developed in the region over the course of
history. “I think as well the tremendous impetuous of
the work led to exploration of the countryside. This plus
the discovery of archeological remains from 5000 years ago
helped us to understand how Bam was supported by different
towns and villages around from ancient times to today. All
of these indicate the good management in reconstruction of
Bam Citadel,” added Corfield.
According to Corfield, there are many historical sites
around the city of Bam, such as the magnificent fortress
of Darestan is eastern Bam. He also explained that much
historical evidence from different periods of time
including the Achaemenid, Parthian, Sassanid, and Islamic
periods have been discovered in the vicinity of Bam which
indicated the flourishing of this city during the ancient
“The most important is the system of quanat (aqueduct)
and how they were useful in maximizing the water supply.
Discovery of some very ancient aqueducts show that it is
even possible that this rich technique spread to other
places from Bam,” said Corfield.
Corfield strongly believed that determining a definite
time by which the reconstruction of Bam Citadel is
completed is just impossible and that is due to the large
amount of work which should be done in this respect.
According to Corfield, the accuracy in reconstruction of
Bam is more important than speed. “It is much depending
on how much evidence we can find by looking through
photographs and maps. It is also important to try to
maintain its original structure to represent its past,”
Corfield believed that Bam Citadel will regain its
original splendor again; however, it will take a long
time. “The people and the government of Iran should be
patient in this respect. It may seem easy to try to be
quick and to implement rapid ways in the reconstruction of
Bam Citadel, but it is really dangerous to act this way.
There has to be a compatibility of material use in the
restoration to use appropriate and strong materials in an
appropriate way.” added Corfield.
All regional and international teams active in
reconstruction of Bam Citadel are trying to understand the
method and technology which was used during the past to
reuse them in the reconstruction of Bam Citadel and the
Considering the importance of being accurate in the
reconstruction of Bam Citadel, Corfield explained that the
salvation team is trying to do research to identify the
correct form of Bam Citadel and to make sure to undertake
an accurate archeological study on this historical site.
They are also trying to get the position of Bam
regularized to save it from being placed in the endangered
heritage list of UNESCO.
According to Corfield, it is normal when dealing with a
mega projects such as that of Bam for such a project to be
done in a long term management to consider all aspects and
discover all sites and to study the accurate architectural
style before restoring them. “Sometimes it is necessary
to foresee the situation of the project for the 30 years
ahead,” said Corfield.
Mike Corfield and Ms. Junko Taniguchi, programmer
specialist for culture in UNESCO cluster office in Tehran
were both satisfied with the cooperation of Iran’s
government, NGOs and the people of Iran in the Bam
Salvation Project. They also appreciated the efforts of
some Iranian experts such as Eskandar Mokhtari, head of
Bam Salvation Project who has made great contributions in
reconstruction of the ancient citadel of Bam as well as
rebuilding the city.
Corfield also talked about how the local people of Bam
show enthusiasm toward the Bam Salvation Project and
follow the case despite the tremendous human disaster
which resulted in the death of thousands of their friends
and family members in Bam, “To see so much enthusiasm
from the people who had suffered a lot during the
earthquake is really very encouraging for us to follow the
project as best as possible,” said Corfield.
At the end, he explained that Bam’s Salvation Project is
a humanitarian issue and it is absolutely independent from
political quarrels and the foreign teams that are
currently working on this project are trying to do their
best to bring back the glory of the past to this city with
the help of Iranian government and experts.