New excavations and new concerns

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According to Farhad Zarei, the head of an archeological mission in Pasargadae (home of the Cyrus the Great mausoleum as well as Cyrus’ capital), recent archeological studies in the city have uncovered many artifacts and sites relevant to the Achaemenid and Sassanid periods, including a number of hills, dams, mines, graveyards, irrigation systems, and bridges.

Iranian and non-Iranian archeologists believe that there are numerous sections yet to be unveiled, especially near the mausoleum. Up until now, a large site of about 45 acres had been discovered, holding an irrigation system 50 kilometers long, an Achaemenid dam, a stone mine, a factory for processing grape juice to wine, a factory for melting metal ores, a few graveyards with precious tombstones, the remnants of a few castles, as well as some mills and bridges from the Achaemenid and Sassanid eras.

The head of the archaeological mission in Pasargadae has added that after studying Pasargad, other studies in adjacent regions like the Sa’adat Abad plain and the mountain ranges of Bolaghi Gorge would be carried out.

One should remember that in 2005 a vast number of ancient factories including those that made wine were destroyed in Bolaghi Gorge by the government of President Ahmadinejad, in order to pave the way for the construction of Sivand Dam, a structure which has been unused and which has simultaneously ruined agriculture fields and dried up the Bakhtegan Lake.

As a result of these incidents, there is a deep concern that studies in the region could result in the destruction of precious sites of pre-Islamic history in Iran.

For several years, non-Iranian archeologists have seldom been allowed to participate in excavations and all journalist are barred from being present in such studies. This has resulted in a complete lack of information regarding what is occurring in this ancient region of the country.