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Sunday, June 6, 2010
Salman-e Farsi Dam flooding 2200 years of Iranian history
Tehran Times Culture Desk
TEHRAN -- 2200 years of Iranian history is gradually being submerged in the reservoir created by the Salman-e Farsi Dam since the filling process began a year ago.
Historical sites include a Sassanid city, in which habitation dates back to local rulers remaining from the Achaemenid era, a unique fire temple, an Achaemenid royal house and several graves dating back to the early Islamic era. Many other ancient sites are being devoured by the dam located near the city of Jahrom in Fars Province about 120 km southeast of Shiraz, the Persian Service of CHN reported on Wednesday.
A large number of ornaments and Sassanid graves were also discovered during two seasons of excavations conducted by an archaeological team led by Alireza Jafari-Zand that began in 2007, shortly after the Sassanid city was identified.
The team discovered an artifact bearing traces of Hellenistic artistic style.
The artifact bears images of two faces looking in opposite directions engraved on a flat piece of ivory. It is the second time that such an artifact has been found at an ancient site in Iran.
The engraved object is estimated to date back to a period between 200 BC and 200 CE when local states, concurrent with the rise of the Parthian Empire, arose and ruled the region after the Seleucids, he explained.
A similar artifact was discovered by a Belgian archaeologist, Louis Vandenberg, at an ancient site in the Izeh region of Khuzestan Province about 70 years ago.
Jafari-Zand believes that the fire temple discovered by his team is unique due to its iwan opening toward the sun.
The fire temple had been buried under stones and it took two months for the archaeologists to remove them.
Lunate ceilings cover the temple, which are surrounded by corridors for pilgrims to circle the site.
Over the past decade, Iran’s dam construction projects have become a major threat to the cultural heritage of the whole country.
The reservoir of the Sivand Dam, which flooded a large section of the Bolaghi Valley in Fars Province, was the most controversial case. The region had over 130 archaeological sites dating from prehistoric periods to the early Islamic era.