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Destruction of the Achaemenid Dam of Didehgan


24 February 2007




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The Remains of Achaemenid Didegan Dam  (Click to enlarge)

Edited by Shapour Suren-Pahlav


LONDON, (CAIS) -- Didehgan Dam which was constructed some 2500 years ago during the Achaemenid dynastic era (550-330 BCE) to the north of the world heritage site of Pasargadae in Iran’s Fars province in order to prevent seasonal flooding in the region has been demolished as a result of removing soil in the region by bulldozers.


Announcing this news, Mohammad Jafar Malekzadeh, secretary of the high commission for dam construction of Fars Regional Water Organization, told Persian service of CHN: “A very high technique was implemented in construction of Didehgān Dam which has made it unique in the world. The core of this Achaemenid dam was constructed by soil and it was covered with stone - something which has not been seen elsewhere. However, the activities of bulldozers of a private company in the vicinity of this historic dam have caused some serious damages to parts of Didehgan.”


Didehgan was recently discovered during archaeological excavations in the region. Although the existence of a historic dam belonging to the Achaemenid dynastic era in Didehgan area had previously been mentioned in some archaeological documents including the researches conducted by an American archaeologist in the northern parts of Pasargadae world heritage site, since it was not introduced properly, the search for such a dam was not taken seriously.


Regarding the usage of this dyke-like Dam, Malekzadeh explained: “Considering that there are not much agricultural lands in the region, it seems that most possibly the main aim behind construction of this dam was to bring the flooding in the region under control and to have a water reservoir.”


By destruction of this dam, some valuable archaeological evidence giving clues to the technique practiced for dam construction during the ancient times have been demolished; however, Malekzadeh still believes that even the remaining parts would put some important information in the hands of archaeologists in this regard.


Some massive stones, 1x1 meters in size, were used for construction of the Dam. However, archaeologists are still uncertain about the origin of these stones,” added Malekzadeh.


According to Malekzadeh, some holes can be seen on parts of the stones which most probably were used for coiling up the logs to prevent penetration of water. Due to recent activities of bulldozers, some parts of the dam have been completely demolished and the stones used in its construction have been broken down into pieces. This is while experts believe such activities in this area were absolutely unnecessary.


In an attempt to prevent flooding in the region, a number of dams were constructed in Fars province, capital of Achaemenid dynastic era (550-330 BCE), during the reign of Achaemenid emperors. Examples of such dams can be seen in Marvdasht where the Great Dam of Darius was constructed.



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