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Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Cyrus the Great tomb needs constant monitoring of moisture
Tehran Times Culture Desk
TEHRAN -- The Parseh and Pasargadae Research Foundation director has called for constant vigilance against soil moisture, which is threatening the tomb of Cyrus the Great in Pasargadae.
The foundation has prepared a plan to constantly monitor the soil moisture at the site in the southern province of Fars, Mohammad-Hassan Talebian told the Persian service of CHN on Tuesday.
The plan would be approved and then financed by the Research Center of the Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization, he added.
“According to the plan, a hygrometer and recording instruments would be installed at the site to monitor the moisture level of the soil beneath the tomb’s base,” Talebian explained.
“The device is not cheap and it’s not adequate in itself. A number of comprehensive studies also need to be carried out by international experts,” he noted.
Many believe that the construction of the Sivand Dam, completed in early 2007, created the moisture problem. Unfortunately, the reservoir formed by the dam, located in the Bolaghi Valley, which begins about four kilometers from Pasargadae, is threatening about 130 important archaeological sites.
In addition, some experts had previously said that the increased humidity caused by the large lake could cause damage to Pasargadae, which is also home to two of Cyrus’ palaces and other Achaemenid era structures.
However, due to low rainfall in the area, the filling of the dam has not been completed, thus Talebian rejects the idea.
Natural underground water table levels are generally high in the Pasargadae region. This fact has been mentioned in reports by the Italian Institute for the Middle and Far East (L’Istituto italiano per il Medio ed Estremo Oriente – IsMEO) that had made some excavations and restorations on the site and at Persepolis before the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Talebian said.
“A state of balance has been achieved between nature and all sites at Pasargadae. However, many efforts should be made to set up a comprehensive scientific system to monitor environmental conditions 24 hours a day,” Talebian stated.