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Latest Archeological and Cultural News of Iran and the Iranian World


As the Result of Negligence the Newly Discovered Khark Achaemenid Inscription Almost Destroyed


02 June 2008



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  Kharg's Old-Persian inscrption before and after - Picture courtesy of Dr Reza Moradi-Ghias-Abadi (Click to enlarge)



LONDON, (CAIS) -- The Achaemenid stone inscription of Khark Island was seriously damaged by vandals on Thursday night.

“Unknown people climbed the fence surrounding the cuneiform inscription and destroyed it with a chisel, such that about 70 percent of the inscription has been destroyed,” Khark Deputy Governor Ali Jazebi told the Persian service of CHN on Saturday. 

“The nature of the damage indicates that it has been done deliberately,” he added.

In late February, Iranian experts warned the Islamic Republic's officials of the Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization about the threats posed by the forces of nature and vandals.

Unfortunately, no appropriate security system was established to safeguard the cuneiform inscription, which has been incised on a piece of uneven rock encrusted with coral.

The irreplaceable relic was discovered during a road construction project on the island in the Persian Gulf in mid-November 2007. The rock, measuring 85x116cm, has become detached from its original terrain.

The project was halted for a time because the rock prevented the project managers from continuing their work and finally they were forced to change the route.

Shortly after its discovery, the inscription was deciphered by Rasul Bashshash, an expert at the Archaeological Research Center of Iran (ARCI). He made the following translation: “[This] land was a dry area with no water; [I] brought happiness and welfare, Bahana… water wells.”

Experts had previously said that the inscription was important since it was another piece of evidence that confirms the word Persian for the Persian Gulf.

The discovery of the inscription sparked a media frenzy in the Arab mini-states of the Persian Gulf, where efforts were made to cast doubt on its authenticity.

The Bushehr Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department (BCHTHD) announced on Saturday that they have filed a lawsuit against the suspected vandals.

“There are several people (of Arab origin) suspected of (being responsible for) the damage to the inscription. We have sued them so the judicial investigation will begin as soon as possible,” BCHTHD Director Ahmad Dashti told CHN. He refused to name the suspects.

Dashti said that 10 to 15 percent of the Old-Persian inscription has been damaged, which is considerably different than the Khark deputy governor’s assessment. 

He rejected rumors that there was a connection between the vandalism and the disputes over the name of the Persian Gulf.

Some people believe that the BCHTHD is responsible for the problem" Dashti rejected by, saying, “The police are responsible for safeguarding the site, and they did their best”; -Obviously their best was not good enough.

“However, lack of an appropriate area to establish a guardhouse is one of our main problems here. The island is owned by the Is,mic regime controlled Iran's Oil industries and they don’t provide even a span of earth to us to set up the base,” he explained.


An Iranian archaeologist with ICHTO who wishes to remain anonymous for his safety told CAIS correspondent: "another crime has been committed against our nation and the [Islamic] regime is to blame for failing to protect our heritage". 


He continued, "if the incised Old Persian script on the rock was instead Arabic and there were rumors that one of the toes of such and such [Shiat] Imam touched the rock while he was passing through centuries ago, the regime would have invested billions of rials to erect a shrine over it with a golden dome on top." 


The destruction of yet another relic in Iran has prompted an outcry by Iranians and the cultural enthusiasts around the world, who see that the Islamic Republic is persisting in a campaign of destruction of invaluable assets of the country's cultural heritage.


The destruction of the Achaemenid inscription in Kharg represents the latest in a series of destructions that appears to be aimed at systematically destroying pre-Islamic Iranian heritage sites either by Arab settlers or the Islamic regime in power.





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A large portion of this news was extracted from:  Mehr News [*] and edited by Shapour Suren-Pahlav




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