TEHRAN, March 14 (Mehr News Agency) -- The mist of time has briefly receded in the Bolaghi Valley of southern Iran, revealing secrets of unknown peoples from ancient times, but soon the mysteries may be buried again under the waters of a reservoir of a dam currently under construction.
The Bolaghi Valley is located in Fars Province. It begins at Tang-e Bolaghi (Bolaghi Pass), about four kilometers from the village of Pasargad, which is beside the ruins of the ancient Persian capital of Pasargadae.
Many ancient sites are located along the 15 kilometers of the Bolaghi Valley from the Bolaghi Pass to the Sivand Dam.
The area was previously called Tang-e Bolaghi, but since most of the ancient sites are in the valley that opens up after the mountain pass, it is now called the Bolaghi Valley or Darreh Bolaghi in Persian.
A project called the Archaeological Rescue Excavations of the Bolaghi Valley was implemented from 2004 to 2007 to study over 130 archaeological sites since the filling of the reservoir of the Sivand Dam would flood a large section of the valley.
Pasargadae Research Center Director Hossein Abbasimehr and archaeologist Farhad Zarei described some of the findings to the Tehran Times reporter during a trip to the area.
The joint French-Iranian archaeological team discovered the columns of an Achaemenid era palace that are similar to columns of the Palace of Darius the Great in Persepolis. Thus, some experts have speculated that these ruins are the base of a palace built by Darius I.
The team also unearthed a post-Achaemenid era skeleton with an iron bracelet beside it.
The Polish-Iranian team found a number of coins from the Sassanid era.
The Italian-Iranian team discovered a wall, some jugs, and several arrowheads from the Achaemenid era.
This team also excavated a post-Achaemenid era graveyard which only contained the bones of a few individuals.
Some of the most significant discoveries were made by the joint German-Iranian archaeological team, which was led by Barbara Helwing, the head of the Tehran branch of the German Archaeological Institute, and Mojgan Seyedin, who is a member of the Iranian Center for Archaeological Research.
This team discovered over ten skeletons from the Bakun period (late 5th to early 4th millennium BC).
Ms. Seyedin later told the Tehran Times that some of the bones had become mixed together over the millennia, so it was initially not possible to determine the exact number of individuals that were buried in the graves.
Six skeletons were buried in a common grave.
A 6000-year-old Bakun period skeleton
by the German-Iranian archaeological team
in the Bolaghi Valley
A 6000-year-old Bakun period skeleton
A pottery artifact containing traces of wheat was found beside one of the Bakun period skeletons.
The German-Iranian team also discovered a pottery workshop and numerous shards from the Bakun period.
The archaeologists discovered several kilns at the pottery workshop. Two of the ancient kilns have been transferred to the Pasargadae Research Center, where they are to be displayed in a new museum which is under construction.
A 6000-year-old Bakun period shard discovered in the Bolaghi
A 6000-year-old Bakun period shard discovered in the Bolaghi Valley
Several hundred meters from the pottery workshop, the team excavated a settlement where the prehistoric people who established the pottery workshop lived.
The team also discovered an Achaemenid era structure with a water canal beside it.
The future of the Bolaghi Valley is uncertain. The filling of the reservoir of the Sivand Dam has been delayed several times to allow additional archaeological excavations.
Many Iranians have protested the decision to flood the valley that contains so many important archaeological sites.
In February 2007, Iranians held peaceful protests in front of the Majlis and called on the Iranian parliament to intervene to postpone the operation that would flood a large section of the Bolaghi Valley.
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