This letter is written to clarify some of the misunderstandings that have arisen from the building of the Sivand dam in general proximity to the archaeological site of Pasargadae. Some of our fellow Iranians are misinformed about this project there is at least one organization who is now proclaiming that the entire region will be flooded and as a result our national heritage, especially the tomb of Cyrus the Great will be destroyed. Hence, a petition campaign has began.
The Iranian Cultural Heritage website at ww.chn.ir regularly informs people of matters such as these. Should anyone argue that the news on this website are false and part of a grand conspiracy by current government of Iran to destroy the Iranian national heritage, please forward them the following link to a brief paper by Dr. Remy Boucharlat, the head of the French Institute of Iranian Studies, an experienced specialist on Iranian archaeology who has been active in archaeological fieldwork in the region including the Sivand salvage work: (As we are both Iranians some people may prefer the word of a farangi to their fellow countryman.)
Not only the Sivand dam is posing NO threat to Pasargadae, but it has proven to be the first opportunity for Iranian and foreign archaeologists to collaborate on a salvage project since the 1979 Revolution, discovering valuable and important information relevant to Achaemenid and other periods of occupation in the region.
Unfortunately, those who do not know about these matters and only have political agendas have rallied the people to an ill-informed cause. This reminds us of the finding of the so-called MUMIFIED PERSIAN QUEEN” Rhodogoune” which appeared to be a fake from the beginning, except to those how wanted to make it a political issue or create sensationalism.
This amateurish modern fake which Carbon-14 showed to be only 3 years old and the body of a poor woman recently strangled was not an Achaemenid queen. Even the name of the lady, Rhodogoune, who was the daughter of King Xerxes, was miswritten as ru-du-gu-u-n which should be in actuality be ru-u-du-u-g-u-n-a, among other childish mistakes on the coffin's text. Of course anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of ancient Persian history would have known that Persians did not mummify the dead! So what happened to the charlatans who made a big fuss and took people's money in the name of recovering and preserving the body of an Iranian queen? Nothing! Just making a quick buck out of people's ignorance!
Please don't do this again with Pasargadae. How come no one cared about Pasargadae when it was in dire need of attention? How come now that, thanks to the efforts by Iranian and foreign archaeologists working with the Center for Archaeological Research of the Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization, the site has been cleaned up, surveyed, and registered in the UNESCO World Heritage list, these sensationalists have raised the banner of “patriotism”?
One of us was in Shiraz two years ago when the news broke out in the local newspapers and people were in commotion. Now it has reached an international level. This is sensationalism and abusing national heritage to settle political scores! Instead of having a multitude of committees run by amateurs with little or no grasp of intricacies of Iranian history, why don't we have committees to fund legitimate archaeological and historical research to in Iran by professional archaeologists and historians in order to enhance our knowledge of our beloved country?
Touraj Daryaee Professor of Ancient History California State University, Fullerton PO Box 6846 Hanover, NH 03755
Kamyar Abdi Assistant Professor of Anthropology Dartmouth College Fullerton, CA 92834-6846