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Alleged Qom' Restoration Project Turns into a Devastating One


27 November 2006




LONDON, (CAIS - edited by Shapour Suren-Pahlav) -- The project to renovate historic texture of Qom, Tehran’s neighbouring province, has now become a devastating one, destroying large areas of the 6000-year-old site of Shad Qoli (šādgolī) and other old sites of this province as well as the areas which had remained intact for long.


The Yaser Project was initiated last year to restore Qom’s historic texture. However, lack of expertise in implementation of the project has led into destruction of the area’s historic sites.


“Many years ago, the Yaser Project, backed by the provincial municipality and governor office, could win the approval of members of the Parliamentary Commission for Article 5 to the renovation of the historic texture of Qom. Following the issuance of this approval, which is not completely unambiguous, the project was initiated. Implementation of this project destroyed the historical and intact texture of Qom,” said Mohammad Kavousi, an archaeologist and expert of Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department of Qom province.


Widening of the historical sites of Qom by project executors led into accidental discovery of Shad Qoli ancient site which is dated to the prehistoric era. However, despite the fact that archaeologists repeatedly stressed the historic importance of this ancient site, continuation of activities in the area led into destruction of this 6000-year-old site.


“As soon as we were informed of the destruction of the prehistoric site of Shad Qoli, we reported the case to Iran’s Archaeology Research Centre for further follow-ups,” said Jalil Golshan, director of Office of Historic Sites of Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO).


Before and right after the discovery of the ancient site of Shad Qoli, archaeologists went to the area and emphasized the necessity for excavating the entire area for an additional term. According to these archaeologists, the recent changes in the management of the Archaeology Research Centre brought a two month delay to excavations in this site. In the meantime, the Yaser project was resumed and almost completely destroyed the ancient site of Shad Qoli before archaeologists got a chance to study the area.  


From the very few discoveries made by archaeologists in the historic site of Shad Qoli before it was further destroyed by the Yaser project, archaeologists concluded that the area holds invaluable traces of the 4th millennium BCE. More important information could be extracted from this ancient site if archaeologists were given enough time to study the area.


In recent decades the pre-Islamic Qom has suffered immensely, and many of its' ancient heritage were destroyed. Ma’mourin Tappeh which once was the civilization hub of Iron Age in 3200 years ago, today finds itself surrounded by the newly built International Airport called Khomeini in Southern Tehran. Also during the building of the extravagant tomb of Khomeini that cost Iranian nation US $2.5 billion (cost one hundred times greater than 2500 years of imperial celebrations in 1970s), near the airport, construction workers have found large number of artefacts dated back to the same period, which later were destroyed in order to erase all traces of pre-Islamic past in the area.






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