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Relentless Struggle to Save Izeh Relics to Go on

11/10/04 Source: Iranian Cultural Heritage News Agency

Iranian archeologists' upheaval struggle to safeguard age-old relics and monuments from being submerged will continue around the clock after inauguration of a colossal dam in southwestern Iran, pledged officials in Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (CHTO).

"Experts will have about 4 to 6 months to step up their efforts in identifying, documenting and unearthing artifacts, mainly left from the Elamite era and they will pursue their task aggressively," said Masoud Azarnoush, head of Iran's Archeological Research Center.

Meanwhile, head of a local heritage NGO in Izeh, near the Karun 3 dam, announced it would plea for international S.O.S, provided CHTO approve of such assistance. The local people, some of whom are losing their houses and farms because of the national project, are ready to help any archeological team salvage their scattered artifacts, said Faramarz Khoshab, president of Izeh's Cultural Heritage Association.

Originally called Ayapir, Izeh is known for its large number of reliefs as the Town of Rock.

Izeh is an ancient town located at the northwest of Ahwaz (the center of Khuzestan province), it takes approximately 210 km from Ahwaz to Izeh by passing Ramhormoz and Baghemalek. This town is situated at the middle of the Zagros mountainous chain at the heart of one ancient route which connected the Khuzestan plain to the central plateau of Iran by Isfahan. As Izeh has two different climates; cold in the north and warm in the south; and because of the shortage of agricultural fields also based on it's suitable environment for animal husbandry, one special immigrant group that known as Bakhtiari Tribes , has formed it's main dwellings since early times. These tribes used Izeh as a liberal land for feeding their animal flocks through moving toward the North and South.

This ancient town has the biggest gathered collection of archaeological sites and monuments, for instance; Sabz ali and Zebarjad tepes which refer to Zarzian period ( Wright 1975 ) and the rock bas-relief galleries which show special religious scenes.

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