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Roads of Time Converge in Bolaghi Valley


10 September 2007




By Hamid Golpira


LONDON, (CAIS) -- Roads from many different eras converge in the Bolaghi Valley/Pasargadae area, showing the continuity of Iranian history, according to Parsa-Pasargadae Research Center Director Mohammad Hassan Talebian.


The Bolaghi Valley has over 130 important archaeological sites, but only 24 will be submerged by the reservoir of the Sivand Dam when it is filled, Dr. Talebian told the Tehran Times in an interview at the Persepolis Complex. 

The Bolaghi Valley is located in Fars Province and stretches for about 15 kilometers from the Bolaghi Pass (Tang-e Bolaghi) to the Sivand Dam and then for several more kilometers after the dam. The Bolaghi Pass is about four kilometers from the village of Pasargad, which is beside the ruins of the ancient Persian capital of Pasargadae.


The area was previously called Tang-e Bolaghi, but since most of the ancient sites are in the valley that opens up after the mountain pass, experts changed its appellation to the Bolaghi Valley or Tang-e Bolaghi in Persian.


A project called the Archaeological Rescue Excavations of the Bolaghi Valley was implemented from 2004 to 2007 to study the archaeological sites before the filling of the reservoir of the Sivand Dam flooded a large section of the valley, a process which is currently underway, unfortunately.


The cultural landscape of Pasargadae, the Bolaghi Valley, and the surrounding area covers about 400 square kilometers, Talebian explained.


The research in the area was conducted to discover information about the systems and the lifestyles of the various eras, he added.


He went on to say that UNESCO has agreed to help Iran with the cultural management plan for the area.


The Japanese-Iranian team that was working in the Bolaghi Valley discovered the ruins of an Achaemenid dynastic era (550-330 BCE) dam very near the location of the Sivand Dam which surprisingly used much of the same type of technology as the modern dam, Talebian said.


The ancient dam fed an irrigation system, he added.  


One of the sites that is being submerged by the reservoir of the Sivand Dam is a 6000-year-old Bakun period pottery workshop with several kilns that was discovered by the German-Iranian archaeological team, which was led by Barbara Helwing, the head of the Tehran branch of the German Archaeological Institute, and Mojgan Seyedin, who is a member of the Iranian Center for Archaeological Research.


The German-Iranian team also unearthed a number of skeletons and numerous shards from the Bakun period (late 5th to early 4th millennium BCE).


Several hundred meters from the pottery workshop, the team excavated a settlement where the prehistoric people who established the workshop lived. That site will also be submerged.


Talebian stated that two of the 6000-year-old clay kilns discovered in the Bolaghi Valley were moved to the nearby Pasargadae Research Center through the use of a special technique developed by the craftsmen of the Persepolis Complex. 


They are to be put on display in a new museum that is being built next to the Pasargadae Research Center.    


The director of the Parsa-Pasargadae Research Center noted that the University of Chicago has 30,000 ancient Iranian tablets or fragments of tablets bearing cuneiform inscriptions in its possession and has translated 3000 of them, but added that they are gradually being returned to Iran.


Talebian also described an Achaemenid era palace that the French-Iranian archaeological team discovered in the Bolaghi Valley.


It is believed that it was constructed for Darius the Great because some of the columns bear craftsmen’s marks similar to the craftsmen’s marks discovered in the palace of Darius I in Persepolis, he said.


Four wooden beams were discovered at the palace along with some pottery and earthenware canteens from the Achaemenid era, he stated. 


On the controversy surrounding the Bolaghi Valley and the Sivand Dam project, Talebian said, “Cultural matters shouldn’t be politicized.”


The Tehran Times also spoke to Pasargadae Research Center archaeologist Farhad Zarei.


Zarei discovered the Pars Wall in the Bolaghi Valley.


The wall stretches for at least 10 kilometers, but experts say more of the structure may be discovered in the future.


Zarei believes the Pars Wall was built during the Parthian dynasty (248 BCE - 224 CE), although many archaeologists have surmised that it is from the Achaemenid era.


Zarei also showed me one of the passageways cut into the mountainsides above the Bolaghi Valley during the Achaemenid era. He explained that there are nine passageways on one side of the valley and sixteen on the other side. 


Some experts say these passageways were part of the Achaemenid Royal Road, but Zarei disagrees.


He said he believes the passageways were actually water channels constructed in ancient times.


There are many rumors about the threat that the Sivand Dam poses to the ancient Persian capital of Pasargadae, but they are for the most part inaccurate.


Pasargadae will not be submerged by the reservoir of the Sivand Dam. However, some experts believe the increased humidity caused by the large lake that will eventually be only four or five kilometers away from the ancient site could cause some damage to Pasargadae, which is home to the tomb of Cyrus the Great, two of his palaces, and some other Achaemenid dynastic era structures. 





Extracted From/Source*: Mehr News


*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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