An open letter addressed to the archeologists attending

The conference for evaluating the results of salvage operations

in Bolaghi Gorge (January 20, 2007)

Since the establishment of the International Committee to Save the Archeological Sites of Pasargad Plains less than two years ago, we have continuously read the news and reports of your exciting excavations and discoveries and have reflected on them in the Committee's site, as well as sending them to hundreds of interested people around the globe. Thus, your names are now known and esteemed by numerous people who love cultural and historical remainders of the past. We all have followed you, step by step, with utmost concern and hope. We are all aware that you have done whatever was humanely feasible with the aim of preserving the archeological sites of Bolaghi Gorge.


Nevertheless, it seems to us that the advent of the present conference signals the end of your two-year mission and, with a high probability, the plan laid down by the Cultural Heritage Organization is to get the consent of those who participated in the "Salvage Operations" and embark on the flooding of the Sivand Dam upon that consent.


There is no need to tell you anything about the importance of Bolaghi Gorge. You are aware of all the archeological treasures hidden in those ancient sites more than anybody else. You know that what valuable treasures would be lost once this dam is flooded. Although all of what lay there is not known, you all are aware that they are there waiting to be discovered - exactly like those that you did not know about and could uncover during the last two years.


We all are aware that the label "Salvage Operation" is but another name for gathering as much information as possible about the sites situated in Bolaghi Gorge without doing anything towards their actual salvage. We know that you have done your job in gathering information to the best of your capabilities. But, you surely are aware that information gathering cannot substitute the real salvage of endangered sites and, at the same time, whatever information that has been gathered relates only to a fraction of what are on the verge of extinction. Therefore, the actual flooding of the dam will destroy both those discovered and hidden treasures forever.


Your work is not merely concerned with soil, dirt, wood and stone. You know well that a large part of the cultural spirit and identity of Iranian people and many significant clues to the existence of hard working people of antiquity is at state. Even if we wishfully believe that the mausoleum of Cyrus the Great is not threatened by the dam, it is obvious that the flooding of Bolaghi Gorge and some parts of Pasargad Plains is not a small blow to the history and culture of Iranian people, if not the whole world. Do you really think that a dam that, according to the views of so many experts, is not beneficial to the local agriculture and is harmful to the environment; has such a value that we should sacrifice a large part of humanity's cultural heritage in its way?


What thousands of honorable people of the world, who are concerned about the fate of these archeological sites, expect from you is that you, for the sake of preserving such treasures, put aside any impediment and probable calculations and explain the facts, in a clear and explicit language, to the authorities asking them to dispense with such a horrendous plan.


People do not face such critical moments in day-to-day life and are not usually bestowed with the authority to decide about the revival or annihilation of a part of human-kind's history and culture. You are now standing at such a juncture.


We sincerely hope that your names would remain praise-worthy for many generations to come.


January 13, 2007