Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Underwater archaeology impossible at Tang-e Bolaghi


Mehr News
October 18, 2005

TEHRAN -- Underwater archaeological works will be impossible at Tang-e Bolaghi after the Sivand Dam devours the ancient site, the Iranian director of the joint Iranian and Italian team working at the site said on Tuesday.

“Underwater archaeology is only practical in oceans and seas in which the water is stagnant in the deep area. The reservoir of the Sivand Dam will be filled by the Polvar River, thus causing a constant flow of water into the dam. The river will then deposit mud behind the dam and the archaeological sites will be buried under sediment,” Alireza Asgari added.

“The large extent of the silt will entirely cover Tang-e Bolghi, so that there will be no trace of the site after 100 or 150 years when the dam expires. The layers of sediment will also gradually spoil the dam by raising the level of water to the crest of the dam,” he explained.

Teams of Italian, Polish, Japanese, French, German, and Australian archaeologists have been assigned to save 129 ancient sites in Tang-e Bolaghi.

“The officials of the dam as well as the teams of archaeologists know that Tang-e Bolaghi will meet its death when the ancient sites are submerged and also know that underwater archaeology would be a futile effort in this case. Thus, they have decided to arrange the filling time (of the reservoir) in such a way that more excavations can be carried out,” Asgari said.

Officials in charge of the Sivand Dam Project had recently announced that the dam would come on stream on February 1, 2006. Nevertheless, the dam was originally scheduled to become operational in March 2006!

“We chose the day February 1 since it coincides with the first day of the Ten-Day Dawn (the anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution). In addition, the winter rain and snow will help fill the water reservoir up to 30 million cubic meters,” the executive manager of the dam project Jalal Jamei said on October 15.

Once part of the renowned imperial route to Persepolis and Susa, Tang-e Bolaghi will be flooded by the Polvar River when the Sivand Dam is completed. Part of Pasargadae will be buried under mud, and even the mausoleum of Cyrus the Great is believed to be at risk.

Tang-e Bolaghi contains sites from the Neolithic and Paleolithic periods, the early, middle, and late Elamite era (2700-645 BC), and the Sassanid era (224-651 CE).

Experts believe that the water stored in the dam’s reservoir will increase humidity, which will later damage the foundations of the palaces.


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