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Latest Archaeological and Cultural News of Iran and the Iranian World


Italian Experts Allegedly Study Threats Sivand Dam Poses to Pasargadae


17 April 2010



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  Cyrus the Great Mausoleum (Click to enlarge)


LONDON, (CAIS) -- Threats from the Sivand Dam to the Pasargadae ancient sites in southern Iran have allegedly been studied by an Italian expert team.


From March 24 to 28, the team allegedly surveyed humidity, plant growth, and the diffusion of salt solution into the stones, which decay the stone structures, Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) Research Center Director Ahmad Mirzakuchak-Khoshnevis claimed. The news was reported by the Persian service of IRNA on Friday.


"Since there have been concerns among archaeologists and cultural heritage enthusiasts over the Cyrus [the Great] Mausoleum, the team mostly focused on that structure," he added.


According to an agreement between CHTHO’s Research Center and the team, they will soon be sending the results of their studies back to Iran, he stated.


The outcome of the studies should be helpful in the upcoming preservation and restoration efforts at the site, he said.


Locate about 19 kilometers from Pasargadae, the Sivand Dam came on line in 2007, flooding some very significant ancient sites located in the Bolaghi Valley.


Archaeologists believe that the reservoir created by the dam will raise humidity, and as a result also place the Pasargadae complex at risk.


Pasargadae was the first dynastic capital of the Achaemenid Empire, northeast of Persepolis. Cyrus II the Great (r. 559–c. 529 BCE) chose the site because it laid near the scene of his victory over Astyages the Mede in 550 BC.


The restoration of the Pasargadae Palace has also been discussed by the team.


The archaeologists emphasize the restoration of Pasargadae’s nearby garden for functioning as an attractive entrance to the site, Mirzakuchak-Khoshnevis said.


"The area was one of most beautiful and luxuriant regions in ancient Iran and the restoration of the garden must be based on actual historical texts, avoiding imaginary and mythical designs," he noted.


In the interview Mirzakuchak-Khoshnevis did not mention who these Italian experts are, which led to suspicions about the authenticity of the news. Perhaps the news is propagated by ICHTO to ease tensions and concerns about the damages caused to Cyrus the Great Mausoleum as the result of the high humidity level generated from the artificial lake behind the Sivand Dam.  


It is believed the sole purpose of constructing the Sivand dam by the Islamic Republic was the destruction of Pasargadae and particularly Cyrus the Great Mausoleum in a long run. The dam became operational in 2007 amidst objections from the cultural communities internationally and the Iranian nation. The dam submerged over 130 archaeological sites, including an Achaemenid palace denoted to Darius the Great, a section of the Achaemenid's Imperial road, a Sasanian wine factory and a Parthian cemetery. The ancient edifices at Pasargadae have already shown signs of damages to its structure as the result of high humidity.


The historical figure of Cyrus the Great who is considered as the 'Father of the Nation' by Iranians, was hated by the creator of the Islamic Regime, Ruhollah Khomeini and his followers, to which the current regime's appointed president Mahmood Ahmadinjead subscribes to his fanatical and dogmatic beliefs.






Original news bulletin published by Mehr News rectified and edited by CAIS [*]




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