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Karun-2 Dam continues tragedy of cultural destruction at ancient Izeh

TEHRAN, Sept. 18 (Mehr News Agency) -- A new tragedy is unfolding for the ancient sites of the Izeh region, as the Energy Ministry plans the construction of the Karun-2 Dam on the Sussan Plain in Khuzestan Province.

The Khuzestan Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department (KCHTD) recently sent a letter to the Energy Ministry requesting its officials begin archaeological studies before the project becomes operational on the Sussan Plain, where many Elamite, Parthian, Achaemenid, and Sassanid era sites are located.

"The studies, which will evaluate the cultural significance of the site, should be carried out by the Energy Ministry," KCHTD director Sadeq Mohammadi told the Persian service of CHN on Monday.

"The ministry will select a number of cultural studies advisors and the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization will supervise them," he added, but evaded a question about relocation of the dam.

Experts believe that archaeological rescue excavations began very late for the ancient sites which were located in the area currently occupied by the reservoir of the Karun-3 Dam, which came on stream in November 2004 and devoured many ancient sites and artifacts dating back to the Elamite era, the Stone Age, and the Epipaleolithic period (20,000-10,000 BC).

The experts say a similar fate awaits the ancient sites located in the area to be flooded by the reservoir of the Karun-2 Dam.

Bizarrely, dam construction projects have become the most serious threats to Iran's ancient sites and cultural heritage over the past few years.

The Sivand Dam, whose reservoir is scheduled to be filled in early December, will flood a large section of the Bolaghi Valley in Fars Province, which is home to over 130 archaeological sites dating from prehistoric periods to the Sassanid era.

... Payvand News - 9/19/06 ... --

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