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Archeologists to Excavate the 14000-Y-Old Island of Khark

By Maryam Tabeshian

A history of more than 5500 years of human settlement on the Persian Gulf Island of Khark which raised from the waters some 14 millennia ago has encouraged archeologists to excavate this southern Iranian Island, looking for more historic evidence.

Tehran, 23 November 2006 (CHN) -- Archeologists of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department of Bushehr province are about to start their excavations to identify historic sites of the southern Iranian Island of Khark, located in the Persian Gulf.

Based on the available historic accounts and archeological evidence, about 14000 years ago Khark Island emerged from the depth of the Persian Gulf. The same documents suggest the existence of human settlements on this island as far back as the mid third millennium BC.

Remaining evidence from different historic periods, from the Achaemenid dynastic era (550 BC-330 BC) to the Islamic period, abounds in this Island.

Head of the team of archeologists which is to scan the entire Island for historic evidence, Hamid Zarei, told CHN that the studies at Khark Island aim to identify and document all the archeological and historical sites of the Island.

Administered by the adjacent coastal Bushehr Province, Khark Island provides a sea port for the export of oil.

According to Zarei, since Khark Island alone accounts for 80 percent of the country's crude oil production, it has always been a hot spot for oil companies and thus the Island hosts the highest number of oil companies active in Iran. However, he lamented that activities by these companies have resulted in the destruction of some of the Island's most ancient sites and said that the new phase of excavations at Khark Island hopes to prevent repetition of such tragedies by identifying the existing historic sites of the Island.

Due to the economic importance of Khark and the large amount of oil reserves in this Island, the number of oil companies who choose this Persian Gulf Island as their center of activities is currently on the rise. This increases the possibility of destruction of the region's historic sites and highlights the necessity for identifying those ancient sites in the shortest possible time.

Khark Island is a continental island in the Persian Gulf and has always been considered part of the territory of Iran. The Island is located 25 kilometers (16 miles) off the coast of Iran and 483 km (300 miles) north of the Strait of Hormoz. It is only 4 kilometers across and 6 kilometers long.

Once the world's largest offshore crude oil terminal and the principal sea terminal for Iranian oil, the Khark Island facilities were put out of commission in fall 1986. Heavy bombing of the Khark Island's petroleum installations from 1982 through 1986 by the air forces of the then government of Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War destroyed most of the terminal facilities. However, the Island is now gradually retuning to its prosperous days such that today it owns the largest share of oil production in the country.

Archeologists are hoping to find traces of prehistoric dwellings in this Persian Gulf Island during their studies which will begin shortly.

... Payvand News - 11/24/06 ... --

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