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Bolaghi Valley Summit Ended without Achieving Anything


21 January 2007




LONDON, (CAIS) -- The story of Bolaghi Valley and inundation of Sivand Dam is still far from over due to refusal of Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) to make a formal announcement on the date of Sivand Dam inauguration. This issue evoked strong opposition from cultural heritage enthusiasts and NGOs who are concerned with the fate of the historic site of Bolaghi Valley, demanding Iranian authorities prevent flooding of the Dam.


The one-day seminar on latest archeological achievements in Bolaghi Valley was held on January 20, in Tarbiat Modares University in Tehran with the attendance of cultural heritage experts, archaeologists, and more than 40 cultural heritage NGOs.


In this seminar, ICHTO was expected to present a comprehensive report on archaeological excavations in Bolaghi Valley and make clear whether the time has arrived for inundation of Sivand Dam or not. However, due to unanimous objections raised by those who took part in the seminar regarding inundation of Sivand Dam, representatives of ICHTO preferred not to make any announcement on the issue and wrapped up the session without any result.


During this summit, some prominent archaeologists who were involved in the Bolaghi Valley archaeological salvation project talked about the importance of this project, its major achievements and the national and international feedbacks it received.


According to Dr Masoud Azarnoush, archaeologist and former director of ICHTO’s Archaeology Research Centre who was in charge of the first excavations in Bolaghi Valley, the amount of work which has been done in the past three years in Bolaghi Valley and the huge achievements in this historic site make this case unique in the history of Iran’s archaeology.


Sadegh Malek Shahmirzadi, another archaeologist at the seminar said: “Until some 40 years ago, people did not show much interest toward archaeological sites and the issue of cultural heritage was somehow unknown but today we are witnessing such a large gathering with the presence of a large number of experts and NGOs who show great concern for preserving cultural heritage of Iran.”


Professor Abbas Alizadeh, archaeologist and former research associate in the Oriental Institute and the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations of University of Chicago, said: “I follow the news about Bolaghi Valley both here in Iran and in the States. The Iranian opposition groups in America are trying to use the issue of Bolaghi Valley to attain their political objectives. Therefore, this makes it absolutely important for the Iranian mass media to present the reality through pictures, films and reports.”


The majority of those who attended at the seminar categorically protested against flooding of Sivand Dam, accompanied by placards to show their objections to inundation of the Dam. This is probably why the Iranian cultural heritage officials hesitated to make any announcements regarding date of Sivand Dam inauguration and left the session unfinished.


In an interview with Persian service of CHN, Hassan Fazeli Nashli, director of Archaeology Research Centre of ICHTO announced that archaeological excavations at Bolaghi Valley have come to an end and the Research Centre is not planning to allocate further budget to this project. “Inundation of Sivand Dam has nothing to do with the Research Centre and the authorities of ICHTO are in charge of following the case,” added Fazeli Nashli.


Based on previous agreements between ICHTO and Islamic Republic’ Ministry of Energy, inundation of Sivand Dam starts once archaeological excavations in Bolaghi Valley are announced to have ended. However, the exact date of Dam inauguration has kept secret.


It was anticipated that the date would be announced during the summit, but Fazeli Nashli told CHN that the aim of holding such a seminar was just to announce latest archaeological achievements in Bolaghi Valley and nothing else.


According to Fazeli Nashli, archaeologists have also confirmed that no further excavation is needed at Bolaghi Valley. “Currently archaeologists at Bolaghi Valley are continuing their excavations in a palace denoted to Darius the Great, though this area will not be submerged by the inundation of the Dam. However, archaeological excavations in other historical sites of Bolaghi Valley such as the unearthed Achaemenid village, the wine production workshop, and other historical sites belonging to the fourth millennium BCE have been completed,” he added.


Bolaghi Valley, located 4 kilometres from the World Heritage Site of Pasargadae in Fars province, is one of the most important archaeological sites in Iran where a large number of historical evidence including the remains of a village belonging to the Achaemenid dynastic era (550-330 BCE), 6000 year-old clay kilns, one of the palaces of Achaemenid emperor Darius the Great, and numerous other archaeological relics and architectural structures have been unearthed during emergency archaeological excavations undertaken by Iranian and international archaeologists in the past three years. With the flooding of Sivand Dam which was recently built in Bolaghi Valley, hundreds of historical relics unearthed so far will be submerged




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Extracted From/Source: Cultural Heritage News Agency (CHN)

Please note the above-news is NOT a "copy & paste" version from the mentioned-source. The news/article above has been modified with the following interventions by CAIS: Spelling corrections; -Rectification and correction of the historical facts and data; - Providing additional historical information within the text; -Removing any unnecessary, irrelevant & repetitive information.

     All these measures have been taken in order to ensure that the published news provided by CAIS is coherent, transparent, accurate and suitable for academics and cultural enthusiasts who visit the CAIS website.



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