Archaeologists to unravel enigma of Achaemenid dams, water management systems

November 8, 2020 - 0:2

TEHRAN – A team of Iranian archaeologists, cultural heritage experts, and engineers has resumed research to discover the secrets of dams and relevant water management systems constructed during the Achaemenid era (c.550-330) in Iran, some of which still inspiring modern architects and engineers.

Hamidreza Karami, who leads an extensive survey on the ancient Bostan Khani Dam, on Saturday announced their efforts will be continuing to find out more about the secrets, methods, and techniques of dam construction in the times of Achaemenians.

“Considering pivotal needs of the Achaemenid government in supplying water to various sectors of agriculture, horticulture, public and residential uses, as well as water supply in Pasargadae gardens, several dams, and water supply canals were created to supply water, which according to the results of [our] excavations, the most water supply projects were implemented in Pasargadae and its surroundings,” Karami was quoted by ISNA as saying.

The plains of Pasargadae, morqab, Khorrambid, and Kamin embrace the most number of water structures being constructed during the Achaemenid era, the archaeologist said.

“Tapping into the water capacities of the Polvar River, controlling seasonal floods, preventing river floods and storing water for consumption in hot and dry months [of the year], were among goals being pursued at that time.”

Karami explained that waterways and water transmission networks are another part of their water management engineering, which is designed to bring water to the farthest possible areas of the region, adding “This way, a very large volume of satellite hills have been harvested… different parts of the rocks have been cut in the mountainous paths and excavated in the flatlands to a large extent so that the result of this great work is what the designers and implementers of this system thought, that is, all areas related to the Achaemenid capital of Pasargadae being benefited from water.”

According to Karami, the Bostan Khani” Dam, which is registered in the National Heritage list, is one of the “engineering masterpieces” the Achaemenids.

“Excavations and surveys on Bostan Khani Dam, as one of the engineering masterpieces of the Achaemenid period… can increase our knowledge and understanding of the methods and techniques of dam construction and architectural structure that is currently being practiced.”

Located on a branch of the Polvar River, near the UNESCO-registered Pasargadae, the dam was built during the reign of Cyrus the Great. According to sources, archaeologists believe that this unique work was designed to contain floods and store large amounts of water for public use as well as use in agriculture and horticulture.

AFM/MG

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