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Latest Archaeological and Cultural News of Iran and the Iranian World


Inundation of the Upper Gotvand Dam Destroys Large Number of Pre-Islamic Iranian Sites


16 August 2009



Gotvand_Dam1.jpg (86350 bytes)

  Upper Gotvand Dam back in 2006

(Click to enlarge)

LONDON, (CAIS) -- The inundation and construction of facilities of the Upper Gotvand Dam in Dasht-e Lali, Khuzestan Province, would destroy four registered and large number of non-registered pre-Islamic Iranian sites, reported the Persian service of CHN on Wednesday.


“[Upper] Gotvand Dam and construction of Masjed Soleiman-Lali road by [the Islamic Republic] Ministry of Energy would destroy many historical sites in Lali and Masjed Soleiman”, said Mojtaba Gahestuni, the spokesman for the Khuzestan’s Friends of the Cultural Heritage Association (TARIANA).


Gahestuni stated “[the artificial] lake which is over 90 kilometres long would cover townships of Gotvand and Lali as well as the city of Masjed Soleiman. As the result of the inundation, four registered historical sites and large number of non-registered sites would drown.”


He added: “the inundation would take place in March 2010, and no archaeological research has ever been carried out in lali, while the area holds large number of historical sites.”


The construction of a road from Masjed-Soleiman to Lali, would destroy a number of historical mounds (tappeh), one of which is the remains of a pre-Islamic fortress known as Bardi.


“The Ministry of Energy for construction of the road has taken over a large section of the fortress”, said Gahestuni.


According to him, Bardi Fortress has never been excavated and the Lali Cultural Heritage (LCH) has left the site unprotected. Also, The Ministry of Energy has not informed LCH regarding their activities in the historical fortress.


Back in 2006 Archaeological excavations by Azad University resulted in the identification of 15 fortresses dating back to the Parthian (248 BCE-224 CE) and Sasanian (224-651 CE) dynastic eras and the post-Sasanian period up to the Qajar period (1787-1921 CE).


15 rock-tombs belonging to the Parthian dynastic era have also been identified in the nearby mountain. Hassan Derakhshi, archaeologist and professor at Shustar Azad University believes the construction of dam causes no threat to them, since they are located on mountain heights.


The inundation date is set for March 2010.




Original News bulletin published in Persian by CHN - translated and rectified by CAIS [*]




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