TEHRAN, April 4 (Mehr News Agency) -- Archaeological studies show that a Sassanid city is being submerged in the reservoir of the Salman-e Farsi Dam, which is currently being filled in Fars Province, southern Iran.
"There were plans to excavate a number of Sassanid tepes and other ancient sites in this area, but officials have begun filling the dam without informing the Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO)," the director of the Archaeological Research Center of Iran (ARCI) told the Persian service of CHN on Wednesday.
"Talks about the excavations were held in summer 2006, and it was decided that the Fars Regional Water Company would finance the excavations and the studies on the reservoir," Mohammad-Hassan Fazeli Nashli added.
An ARCI archaeological team is currently surveying ancient sites in the region and the studies show that a Sassanid city is being submerged by the reservoir, he explained.
"The dam is being filled without the CHTHO's permission, and the process should be stopped as soon as possible," Fazeli Nashli noted.
Construction of the dam was started over a decade ago, but the CHTHO officials of the time did not object to the project.
"If the former officials did not do their jobs correctly, it is not related to today's responsibilities. It is our duty to protect cultural heritage, and Energy Ministry officials should also have such an attitude," Fazeli Nashli said.
Fars Province is home to many significant sites of the Sassanid Empire and this city, which consists of 21 sites, is very important for archaeological studies.
In addition, 42 sites from the Elamite, Achaemenid, Parthian, Sassanid, and Islamic eras will be flooded by the Mulla Sadra Dam's reservoir, which engineers have been filling since May. The Marvast Dam is also under construction in the region.
The Sivand Dam, which will flood a large section of the Bolaghi Valley in Fars Province, is the most controversial case. The region has over 130 archaeological sites dating from prehistoric periods to the early Islamic era.
The Sivand Dam's reservoir was scheduled to be filled in early December, but the Bolaghi Valley has been given a reprieve to give experts more time to conduct archaeological excavations and research, and the filling of the dam has been postponed until September.
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