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19 August 2007
Prehistoric site bulldozed in Iran

Bulldozers working for the Ammar Yasser construction project in Qom have entirely demolished the 6000-year-old Shad Qoli archaeological site in central Iran. "The license for excavation of the area was issued by the Archaeological Research Center of Iran (ARCI) two years ago at a time when approximately half of the site had already been flattened"Ē said Siamak Sarlak, director of the team which was to have conducted salvage operations at the location. "According to the cultural heritage regulations in Iran, the Governor Generalís Office of Qom was responsible for sponsoring salvage excavations. However, the office refused to provide the necessary funds for carrying out the excavation work and we have recently been informed that the remainder of the site has been completely destroyed by bulldozers," he added.
†      The salvage team needed a sum of 50 million rials (about $5250) to excavate the site. "A dispute arose over which organization - the governorís office or the ARCI - was responsible for funding the operation. Meanwhile the bulldozers continued the process of destruction, which has resulted in total loss of the archaeological significance of the area," Sarlak explained.
     Archaeologists believe that people used to live in the Qoli Darvish Tepe, another nearby prehistoric site, but that due to the flooding of the Qomrud River they migrated to the Shad Qoli region and continued to dwell there for about a millennium. The Qoli Darvish Tepe, one of the principal prehistoric sites situated on Iranís central plateau, includes the remains of a number of Bronze Age and Iron Age settlements. There is evidence that Qoli Darvish was inhabited from the fourth millennium BCE until the ninth century CE. This area has also been seriously damaged over the past decade by the construction of the Qom-Jamkaran Highway, such that only ten percent of the ancient site now remains intact.

Source: Mehr News (14 August 2007)

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