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Latest Archaeological and Cultural News of Iran and the Iranian World


International Archaeologists: Persian Gulf is an Undisputable Historical Name


19 July 2008



LONDON, (CAIS) -- The Persian Gulf is a geographical name rooted from ancient history, confirmed by leading archaeologists from around the world.

This issue was raised at a recent two-day international workshop on 'The Persian Gulf in Prehistory and History' held at Durham University, in northern England earlier this month.

"From my perspective, the geographical term for that body of water is the Persian Gulf," head of the Department of Archaeology at Durham University, Professor Robin Coningham, said.

"Sadly sometimes politicians do not pay as much attention to details as they should do and make clumsy mistakes," Coningham said in reference to recent attempts to change the attribution of the Persian Gulf.

Most attempts have been to misrepresent the waterway, even Prime Minister Gordon Brown recently referred to it as "the Gulf of Arabia" in a speech the UK Low Carbon Economy Summit in London just before the Durham conference.

Asked by IRNA, Professor Maurizio Tosi of Italy, who has more than 40 years experience in the study of archaeology in the Persian Gulf, also had no doubts about the legitimate name.

"There is no question about the name; the name is Khalij-e Fars (Persian Gulf). It was translated by the Romans from the Latin word "Sinus Persicus" which means the Persian Gulf," Tosi said.

"Nobody disputes that it's Khalij-e Fars and the name belongs to Fars and hence to Iran," he said.

He also suggested that Iran should open a court case at the international court and take legal action against those whom fabricating the name of the Persian Gulf.

The international workshop organised in collaboration with the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicraft and Tourism Organisation (ICHTO) and the British Institute of Persian Studies (BIPS) was one of the first in its kind to involve archaeologists and academics from all over the world.

Barbara Cerasetti from the Italian Bologna University distanced herself from attempts to alter the name, saying that the study of archaeology is a "science, not politics."

"Once a geographical name such as Persian Gulf is firmly rooted in culture and history, this should not be changed artificially," said one of her university colleagues, Pierfrancesco Callieri.

"Archaeologists as people of humanities must fight against war," Callieri, who is an expert of Iranian archaeology, said.

"Cultural links are the best weapon against conflicts," he also added in reference to another military conflict in the region.

Professor Holly Pittman from University of Pennsylvania underlined the importance of not changing historical names for geographical terms.

"The name Persian Gulf is the historical and internationally accepted (name), United Nations, New York Times, etc, and should be used in all references to this important body of water," Pittman said.

Asked what to give a response in one sentence to those trying to change the historic name of Persian Gulf, another renowned American scholar, Professor Carl Lamberg-Karlovsky of Harvard University replied: "Don't do it; it is the Persian Gulf".





Extracted From/Source: IRNA [*]




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