Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
Archaeological and Cultural News of Iran and the Iranian World
Archaeologists Planning for Iran’s Largest Rescue Excavation at Seimareh Dam Reservoir
aerial photo of the Seimareh Dam region - Picture courtesy of Tehran Times
(CAIS) -- The Iranian Centre for Archaeological
Research (ICAR) is currently planning a rescue excavation project at the
Seimareh Dam reservoir area in western Iran’s Ilam Province.
areas in the region will be excavated by 40 archaeological teams during the
project, considered to be Iran’s largest rescue excavation operation, which
will be carried out during the second half of the Iranian calendar year
beginning on September 23, the Persian service of CHN reported on Sunday.
During a series of rescue excavations in 2007, a team of archaeologists
identified 100 ancient sites from various periods, including the Neolithic,
Bronze, and Copper Ages, as well as the Parthian, Sasanian dynastic , and early
Islamic eras within the dam reservoir flood plain.
A great number of the sites will be flooded when the dam becomes operational.
The dam’s project officials have agreed to sponsor the rescue excavation
operations, which will be performed over three consecutive seasons, ICAR
Director Mohammad-Hassan Fazeli-Nashli said.
Signs of the Mesopotamians’ influence in the region have been identified by
studies carried out on the ancient strata at the reservoir.
Traces of the Ubaid period, one of the eras in which the Mesopotamian
civilization emerged, have been identified during the studies, Fazeli-Nashli
The Ubaid period includes I, II, III, and IV, which dates back to about
“The rescue excavations can help the archaeologists learn about cultural
relations between the people living in the western Zagros region of Iran and the
Mesopotamian civilization,” Fazeli-Nashli stated.
The construction of the Seimareh Dam is almost complete. However, the officials
of the dam have postponed filling it for the rescue excavations.
The officials had previously announced that the filling of the dam would
commence in early 2008.
The Seimareh Dam, constructed on the Seimareh River, is located 30 kilometers
northwest of the city of Darehshahr.
Fazeli-Nashli had previously said that the archaeological sites discovered in
the Seimareh Dam reservoir area are more important than the ancient sites
obliterated by the Sivand Dam in southern Iran’s Fars Province.
In 2007, a number of archaeological sites were also destroyed in the Seimareh
Dam reservoir area as a result of exploration activities by the Iranian National
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