Monday, May 29, 2006

Date of Sivand Dam Inundation Not Yet Agreed Upon


Tehran, 29 May 2006 (CHN) -- The final meeting on the inundation of Sivand Dam will be held on the last week of spring 2006 with the presence of representatives from the Ministry of Energy and Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO). This is while the Minister of Energy had already announced that they had reached to an agreement of the exact date of the Sivand Dam inundation which according to him would have been November or December 2006.
“We have not yet reached an agreement with the Ministry of Energy on the inundation of Sivand Dam and the Minister of Energy made his announcement according to what he had estimated from the trend of excavations in Bolaghi Gorge historical site,” said Esfaniar Rahim Mashayi, President of ICHTO to CHN. Prior to this, the Minister of Energy had participated in an interview with Iran’s Fars News Agency in which he announced the agreement of this ministry with ICHTO for the inundation of Sivand Dam toward the end of this year.
“I had a visit to Shiraz on 17th of May and in a meeting attended by ICHTO authorities we studied the case and it seemed that the ICHTO had no problem with resuming the construction of Sivand Dam,” said Parviz Fatah, Minister of Energy. According to Hashem Rabani, director of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department of Fars province, the inundation of Sivand Dam will cause no harm to Pasargadae historical site; however, the final result will be clarified by the end of spring. Some experts anticipate that the archaeological excavations in Bolaghi Gorge will finish by that time. It is certain that inundation of the Sivand Dam will drown major parts of Bolaghi Gorge and many of its historical sites; however considering the distance between this dam and the tomb of Cyrus the Great in Pasargadae, flooding of the dam will not directly affect Cyrus’ Tomb, though the humidity created by it will gradually destroy this ancient monument as well.
Sivand Dam is constructed on the Sivand River in Bolaghi Gorge historical site which is located 9 kilometers from the world heritage site of Pasargadae in Fars province. Following the news of the inundation of Sivand Dam, a false rumour was spread around the world which caused a lot of concerns among the cultural heritage enthusiasts that Pasargadae is in serious danger of being drowned. Today, after many studies, experts believe that the only threat the dam poses to Pasargadae and the tomb of Cyrus is the changes in humidity of the area. Still experts from the Ministry of Energy argue that this could be compensated by controlling the water level of the dam reservoir. Yet the relatively close distance between the Sivand Dam and Pasargadae leaves many suspicious.
However, since Bolaghi Gorge will submerge with all its historical sites once the dam is flooded, experts started their archaeological excavations there under a comprehensive salvation project in which archaeologists from all around the world take part. The project has led to some valuable discoveries so far such as unearthing of the remains of the palace of Darius, a village belonging to the Achaemenid era, and large numbers of ancient artifacts. Based on previous agreements, flooding of the dam is postponed until archaeologists announce that their excavations in Bolaghi Gorge are finished.

Re:
The illegitimate rumour that is concerning the supporters of the reservations of ancient monuments however is not only that Pasargadea will be drowned. The major concern is about it being destroyed by the humidity. Hence the rumour is no "false romour" but the reality and needs to be taken seriously. Already many have signed a petition against opening the damn. If you are interested please go to Save Pasargad website and show your support.
If CHN takes the survival of such ancient monuments so seriously, I suggest they build a glass cover around the monument. This technique has successfully been applied to the walls of the valley of the kings in Egypt under the supervision of Zahi Hawas.

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