Archaeologists planning for Iran’s largest rescue excavation at Seimareh Dam reservoir
April 20, 2009
TEHRAN -- The Iranian Center for Archaeological Research (ICAR) is currently planning a rescue excavation project at the Seimareh Dam reservoir area in western Iran’s Ilam Province.Forty areas in the region will be excavated by 40 archaeological teams during the project, considered to be Iran’s largest rescue excavation operation, which will be carried out during the second half of the Iranian calendar year beginning on September 23, the Persian service of CHN reported on Sunday.
During a series of rescue excavations in 2007, a team of archaeologists identified 100 ancient sites from various periods, including the Neolithic era, Bronze Age, Copper Age, and the Parthian, Sassanid, and early Islamic eras within the dam reservoir flood plain.
About 100 ancient sites from various periods, including the Neolithic era, Chalcolithic, Bronze Age, Copper Age, and the Parthian, Sassanid, and early Islamic eras have been identified a the dam’s reservoir during previous seasons of rescue excavations in 2007.
A great number of the sites will be flooded when the dam becomes operational.
The dam’s project officials have agreed to sponsor the rescue excavation operations, which will be performed over three consecutive seasons, ICAR Director Mohammad-Hassan Fazeli-Nashli said.
Signs of the Mesopotamians’ influence in the region have been identified by studies carried out on the ancient strata at the reservoir.
Traces of the Ubaid period, one of the eras in which the Mesopotamian civilization emerged, have been identified during the studies, Fazeli-Nashli said.
The Ubaid period includes I, II, III, and IV, which dates back to about 5600-3900 BC.
“The rescue excavations can help the archaeologists learn about cultural relations between the people living in the western Zagros region of Iran and the Mesopotamian civilization,” Fazeli-Nashli stated.
The construction of the Seimareh Dam is almost complete. However, the officials of the dam have postponed filling it for the rescue excavations.
The officials had previously announced that the filling of the dam would commence in early 2008.
The Seimareh Dam, constructed on the Seimareh River, is located 30 kilometers northwest of the city of Darehshahr.
Fazeli-Nashli had previously said that the archaeological sites discovered in the Seimareh Dam reservoir area are more important than the ancient sites obliterated by the Sivand Dam in southern Iran’s Fars Province.
In 2007, a number of archaeological sites were also destroyed in the Seimareh Dam reservoir area as a result of exploration activities by the Iranian National Oil Company.
Photo: An aerial photo of the Seimareh Dam region