Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Underwater Archeology Center to be Established in the Persian Gulf


December 19, 2006

Tehran -- Based on initial agreements between Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) and South Pars Oil Company, a center for underwater archeology will be established in the Persian Gulf as the first attempt to recover the Partho-Sassanid shipwreck discovered last September at a depth of 70 meters near the port of Siraf.

“According to articles 9, 10 and 11 of the memorandum of understanding signed between ICHTO and South Pars Oil Company, the Company has accepted to take charge of the establishment of a research center for underwater archeological excavations in the Persian Gulf. Based on this agreement, recovering the discovered Partho-Sassanid shipwreck will be the first priority of this center,” said Hossein Tofighian, director of ICHTO’s Underwater Archeology Research Center to CHN.

The recent discovery of the remains of an ancient merchant ship and its cargo, believed to have belonged to either the Parthian (248 BC-224 AD) or Sassanid (224-651 AD) dynasties, in the Persian Gulf attracted the attention of world archeologists and many expressed their willingness to cooperate in its recovery process, which is an absolutely challenging task.

During his recent trip to Greece last month, Taha Hashemi, director of ICHTO’s Archeology Research Center, invited Greek archeologists specialized in underwater excavations to cooperate in this project after he paid a visit to their underwater archeology equipments and found them appropriate for this project. According to Tofighian, salvation of the shipwreck will start once the Greek archeologists arrive to Iran.

The discovery of the Partho-Sassanid shipwreck and its cargo was made accidentally by the local fishermen. Initial studies were then carried out for the first time by Darya-Kav-e Jonub Company (Southern Sea Investigation Co.) on behalf of ICHTO under the supervision of experts from the Department of Underwater Archeology of Iran’s Archeology Research Center. A short documentary was also made from this ship which revealed that the ship’s cargo contains big jars, known as amphora, which were in use only during the Parthian and Sassanid dynastic periods.


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