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Countdown Begins for Flooding of 6000-Year-Old site in Northwestern Iran


13 May 2006




LONDON, (CAIS - Shapour Suren-Pahlav) -- The countdown has begun for the flooding of the 6000-year-old Kul-Tappeh site in East Azarbaijan province, as the Islamic Regime' operators of the Sahand Dam started filling the reservoir.


An archaeological team tasked with carrying out rescue excavations at the site has found remnants from the Chalcolithic Era (copper-stone age, 4500-3300 BCE) to the Bronze Age.


“The discovery of some pottery works bearing geometrical engravings and a number of stone blades prove that the site was used by people living in the Chalcolithic period,” team director Mohammad Feizkhah said.


“But most of the residences date back to the Bronze Age. The construction of buildings with mud-brick walls and stone foundations is the main architectural characteristic in this era,” he added.


According to Feizkhah, the team has also found some other relics, such as pottery works and architectural structures believed to belong to the Iron Age, but due to the time constrictions which prevented further excavations and study, they could not conclusively determine that the discoveries were from the Iron Age.


The rescue excavations for the site began 40 days ago and the team was only able to dig a 2x3-meter trench for study. In addition, a team of anthropologists has been tasked with gathering information from the surrounding villages, which will also be flooded by the dam.


“We found artifacts from the third Iranian dynasty, the Parthians (248 BCE -224 CE) as well as from the Ilkhanid period (1256-1349 CE),” Feizkhah said, adding that the excavations were perhaps equivalent to about one percent of the studies currently being carried out behind the Sivand Dam.


Teams of Italian, Polish, Japanese, German, and Australian archaeologists along with Iranian experts are working in the Bolaghi Valley, where the Islamic Regime's Sivand Dam will devour 147 archaeological sites. The process of filling the reservoir is scheduled to begin in late spring.


The construction of dams by Islamic Regime has caused serious damage to several of Iran’s ancient sites. The Karun 3 Dam in Khuzestan Province, which came on stream in November 2004, inundated many ancient sites from the Elamite era and other historical periods of Iran.


This is not the end of the story. The Gilan Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department has announced that 16 historic sites will be submerged by a dam that is under construction on the Pol-Rud River near the city of Rudsar in the northern province of Gilan.


The construction of the Gilan-e Gharb Dam, which is threatening a number of ancient sites dating back to the first millennium BCE in Iran’s western province of Kermanshah, has become another clash between so-called Islamic Regime's devolpement programme and Iranian cultural heritage.



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