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Sasanian Irrigation Network in Bistun Plain to be Revived


26 September 2006




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LONDON, (CAIS) -- The discovery of an irrigation network belonging to the Sasanian dynastic era in Bistun Plain will be catalogued, in order to enable the experts with their future restoration projects, according to a recent report by the Persian service of ISNA.


“In Bistun plain we have an irrigation network from the Sasanian dynasty and although a large portion of the network is missing, there are some sections which have remained intact, such as 22km long stone-canals of Bezan Ābād village”, said Maliheh Mehdi-Abadi, the director of Bistun Plain’ Cultural Heritage Centre.


“In accordance with the identification and providing of a model for the Bistun Plain, we are currently in the stage of cataloguing, topography and surveying of the site. The topographic results will assist us to ascertain the gradient and the direction of the water distributions in the ancient times”, said Mehdi-Abadi.


She stated, “until now we have identified three dykes, which indicate that the area was an agricultural hub during the Sasanian dynastic era.”


With regard to the number of brides as part of the water network in this area Mahdavi further inserted, “Khosrow Bridge due to its’ hyrdotechnical and geotechnical sophistications is considered to be unique compared to the rest of the bridges constructed by Sasanian engineers. Evidently the bridge was also constructed to divert the water to the lowlands since along the flanks of the bridge there are irrigation canals, that points out to its’ dual functionality as a bridge as well as a dam.”


Mehdi-Abadi concluded “we also need to carry out an anthropological research in the area, in order to establish the whereabouts of the original path and locations of the network. The elder generation of locals call these irrigation systems, Khosrawi (denoted to Khosrow), and they are to some certain extend aware of the ancient irrigation system.”


Iran is one of the few countries in the world with a long and extensive background on establishing ancient civilisation, which the water scarcity and precipitation have never caused to freeze the civilisation and humanisation formation. This is due to the fact that ancients have realised the importance of an organisation to supervise the irrigation and water conveyance affairs. As the result, they have always exploited technology and precise engineering to control water, and utilise it in the best way to flourish the economical, cultural and social statuses of the country.


An important factor in water harvesting, maintaining, conveying and distributing is water resources management, especially in the arid and semiarid countries like Iran, which is necessary to have an independent organization. This type of organization became sophisticated from the early days of Achaemenid dynastic eras, and reached its technological zenith during the Sasanian dynasty (224-651 CE). This organization under Sasanians was called “Divān-i Kāšt" as well as "Fozūn”.


Although there are records of the water-establishments in some of the historical documents, rarely did it mention to the supervision organizations of those establishments. The most important establishments and water conveyance networks were located in Fars and Khuzestan provinces, which have mostly been remained so far.



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