Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
& CULTURAL NEWS OF IRANIAN WORLD©
Dam Begins Devouring 7000-Years of Iranian Heritage
03 July 2006
(CAIS - edited by Shapour Suren-Pahlav) -- The never-ending story of a pre-Islamic
historical sites being destroyed in the name of development projects and dam
constructions by the Islamic regime in Iran, seems to never let the minds of the
people of Iran at rest. This time, the same story is repeated for the 7000-year-old
ancient site of Mehr Ali Farsi in Fars province which was partly submerged as a
result of inundation of Mullah-Sadra Dam.
Although Iran’s Archeology Research Center has issued a certificate for
carrying out excavations in this historical site, the Islamic regime's Ministry
of Energy has refused to fulfill its commitments, seeking to immediately
inaugurate the dam after its construction was completed. This is while based on
a memorandum of understanding signed a few months ago between Iran’s Cultural
Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) and the authority, it was expected to
coordinate the projects with ICHTO and is in charge of providing the budget for
carrying out excavations in the vicinity of their development projects.
“Mehr Ali Farsi is one of the most important archeological sites of Fars
province and archeological excavations in this historical site could lead into
revealing many unknown facts about the pre-historic period of Fars province.
Despite the fact that this historical site had been identified before the
inundation of Mullah-Sadra Dam, the authorities of the dam have neglected the
necessity for carrying out excavations in this area and started the flooding of
the dam in a very short time,” said Azizollah Rezayi, head of archeology team
in Mehr Ali Farsi historical site.
According to Rezayi, some parts of the region have already been submerged and by
the start of seasonal rains in less than three months, this historical site will
be drowned up to 15 meters.
“We are determined to carry out our excavations in this historical site in the
remaining three months to unearth and save as much as we can the historical
relics which exist in this area. We have demanded a US$100,000 budget for
undertaking the excavations. However, the authority which is formally in charge
of paying for the excavations has failed to give a penny although it has
admitted that if the Archeology Research Center does not start excavations in
the area, the historical site of Mehr Ali Farsi will soon be submerged due to
inundation of Mullah-Sadra Dam and starting of seasonal rains,” added Rezayi.
Rezayi also explained that the Ministry of Energy has asked the Archeology
Research Center to pay for the excavation expenses and it will reimburse for it
later. “However, previous experiences the Center has had with the Ministry
such as the Sivand Dam show that this ministry does not keep its promises and is
less likely to fulfill its financial commitments,” said Rezayi.
Despite all the efforts made by the authorities of ICHTO to postpone the
inundation of Mullah-Sadra Dam, the opening ceremony by the regime for flooding
of this dam, which has been constructed for irrigation of agricultural lands,
was held two months ago with the presence of the authorities, destroying part of
the Mehr Ali Farsi historical site by its first phase.
Enjoying an old civilization with numerous historical sites, Iran had already
encountered bitter experiences due to construction of dams in different parts of
the country where hundreds of invaluable artifacts were lying. These included
Sahand Dam in East Azarbaijan which will submerge the 6000-year-old Kul Tepe
site, Alborz Dam in Mazandaran province, which caused irreversible damage to
cultural heritage of the eastern part of Mazandaran province, the Karun Dam in
Khuzestan province, Salman-e Farsi, Mullah-Sadra, Marvasht in Fars province and
the most sensational one: the construction of Sivand Dam in Fars province which
will drown Bolaghi Valley and all its historical sites in a near future. Even
after all these disasters, it seems that it is not the end of the story and the
trend of destruction of pre-Islamic Iranian sites due to construction of dams
It is estimated that some 42 ancient and historical sites belonging to the
Elamite (2700 BC-539 BCE), Achaemenid (550–330 BCE), Parthian (248 BCE–224
CE), Sasanain (224–651 CE), and minor post-Islamic (650-850 CE) eras will be
submerged by the Salman-e Farsi, Mullah-Sadra, and Marvasht dams in Fars
is the Light on the Path to Future"
British Institute of Persian Studies