Sat, Mar 03, 2007
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Prehistoric Vessel Found in Sialk
4,000 Antiques Seized From Smugglers
Ali Reza Espahbod
C. Asia Hosting Persian Language Olympiad
Congress to Mark Parvin Birth Centenary
Golestan Mounds Under Examination
David Hume (Scottish philosopher, historian and economist, 1711-1776): Nothing is more dangerous to reason than the flights of the imagination and nothing has been the occasion of more mistakes among philosophers. Men of bright fancies may in this respect be compared to those angels whom the scripture represents as covering their eyes with their wings.
Iranians, Germans Study Golpayegan Mosque
UNESCO to Assess Diggings Near Beit-ul-Moqaddas
Short Version of ’War and Peace’
Rapid Development Threatens Chinese Heritage

Prehistoric Vessel Found in Sialk
A view of Sialk Hill in Kashan, Isfahan provnce
A large ancient pottery vessel was found near the historic Sialk Hill in Kashan, Isfahan province, CHN reported.
A local gardener came across the prehistoric earthenware, while trying to build up a wall to protect his property.
The pot was transferred to Sialk Archeological Base by an expert team in charge of delineating boundaries of the historic mound.
Director of the base, Zahra Saroukhani, explained that the owner whose orchard is located in the adjacency of the ancient site had discovered the historical item in the course of earth-removal operations to build a wall around his garden.
She added that the pot is one of the largest ever antiques retrieved from the ancient site.
Sialk Hill was first excavated by a team of European archeologists headed by Roman Ghirshman in the 1930s.
Sialk is claimed to be the world’s oldest ziggurat, dating to the 5th millennium BC, tucked away in the suburbs of the city of Kashan.
The culture that inhabited this area has been linked to the Zayandeh Roud Civilization.
Sialk is one of four ziggurats built by the Elamite civilization.
What little is left of the two crumbling Sialk ziggurats is now threatened by the encroaching suburbs of the expanding city of Kashan. It is not uncommon to see kids playing soccer amid the ruins, while only several meters away lie the supposedly “off limit“ 5,500 year old skeletons unearthed at the foot of the ziggurat. The site still remains to be registered as a World Heritage Site at UNESCO for protection.

4,000 Antiques Seized From Smugglers
Relics found in Jiroft, Kerman province
Roughly four years have passed since cultural authorities pulled the plug on illegal diggings at the 5,000-year-old city of Jiroft, known as the archeologists’ Lost Paradise’.
Nevertheless, transactions of artifacts illicitly excavated from the site are still going on.
Head of Kerman Revolutionary Court was quoted by the Persian daily Iran as saying that 4,000 relics had been retrieved since 2002.
Over 100 smugglers who intended to take the antiquities out of the country were arrested by the police, Dadkhoda Salari stated.
The official explained that the majority of antiques were to be smuggled to the Persian Gulf Arab states, France and Britain.
He added that in cases wherein the smugglers had managed to take out the antiques, lawsuits were lodged in those countries.
In 2002, unbridled looting and vandalism in Jiroft led to the destruction of a large segment of cultural and civilizational heritage of the early inhabitants of central Iranian plateau.
Jiroft archeological site, situated alongside Halilroud River, is a rich historic area. Excavations at the site have unveiled architectural evidence belonging to a major civilization contemporaneous with the Sumerian civilization--which emerged upon the flood plain of the lower reaches of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (in today’s Iraq) about 4000 BC.

Ali Reza Espahbod
Veteran painter Ali Reza Espahbod was born in 1951 in Tehran. He started learning painting from Jafar Rahnama at an early age.
After graduating from Tehran’s Academy of Decorative Arts in 1975, he left Iran for London. There he studied etching/lithography and obtained a master’s degree in painting from the Royal College of Art in 1978.
He mounted in several group exhibitions with his classmates during 1968-71. His first solo exhibition, dubbed ’Crows’ was in Seyhoun Gallery in 1975.
Espahbod also painted covers for the literary review magazine ’Ketab-e-Jom’eh’, which was published by the late Ahmad Shamlou, Iran’s preeminent contemporary poet. He also painted for ’Sanat-e Hamlo Naghl’ and ’Iran-e Farda’ periodicals.
Espahbod died of a heart attack on Feb. 24 in Tehran.

C. Asia Hosting Persian Language Olympiad
First stage of the Second Persian Language Olympiad organized in three Central Asian states is over, said IRNA.
University students of Persian language and literature from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan compete in the three-stage Olympiad.
Culture and Islamic Communications Organization reported that the first stage was held on March 2.
The event is aimed to enhance the student’s command of Persian language and literature, and raise their know-how about Iran.
Three top students from each university will enter the second stage of the contest slated for March 16.
The five top students from each country will head for final competitions on April 19 in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
The Olympiad includes various sections including Persian grammar, translation, poetics, and Iranology.
Apart from prizes, five top winners will receive a one-month scholarship to Iran.
The event is organized in association with Iran’s cultural attachˇs in the three countries.

Congress to Mark Parvin Birth Centenary
University of Arak will host a congress to commemorate the centenary anniversary of towering Persian poetess Parvin Etesami on March 7-8 with a number of literary figures and luminaries in attendance.
Vice chancellor of the university, Mohsen Zolfaqari, said the secretariat of the congress had already received 140 papers, predicting the number could rise to 160 in the coming days, IRNA quoted.
Eleven jurors, he said, will select 20 papers for presentation at the confab.
According to Zolfaqari, although Parvin was born in the northwestern city of Tabriz in East Azarbaijan, her paternal family hailed from the city of Ashtian in Arak , Markazi province.
Meanwhile, Governor General of Markazi province Abdollah Sohrabi stated, “Several literary, religious and scientific personalities have originated from this province.
Those figures should be remembered and introduced to Iranians and the world in a deserving way.“
Parvin Etesami (1906-1941) composed her first poem in classical style at age eight.
Parvin’s poetry is rich in allegories and anecdotes.
Etesami died of typhoid and was buried in the Holy Shrine of Hazrat Masoumeh (SA) in Qom.

Golestan Mounds Under Examination
Experts have started work to identify and gather information about ancient hills and historical sites in eastern Golestan province, ISNA reported.
Head of Gonbad-e Kavous Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Department predicted that studies by the 15-member team will last for two months.
Fereydoun Onaq added that researchers will study issues such as local names of the hills, their history and characteristics as well as local and indigenous beliefs about them.
Statistics indicate that two-thirds of about 1,500 historical mounds in Golestan province are situated in east of the province.

David Hume (Scottish philosopher, historian and economist, 1711-1776): Nothing is more dangerous to reason than the flights of the imagination and nothing has been the occasion of more mistakes among philosophers. Men of bright fancies may in this respect be compared to those angels whom the scripture represents as covering their eyes with their wings.

Historical Dar-ul-Ehsan Mosque in Sanandaj, Kurdestan province

Iranians, Germans Study Golpayegan Mosque
Studies on Golpayegan Jame’ Mosque have begun, head of Isfahan Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Department’s Archeology Office said.
According to CHN, Mohsen Javari stated that a joint team of Iranian and German experts is conducting studies on the ancient mosque dating back to the Seljuqid Era (1029-1194).
Also, turning to archeological excavations at an ancient Islamic site in Aran and Bidgol, the official stated that “the lower section of the historic area, which was found recently, is being examined.“
He noted that studies are being conducted on 4,600 potsherds retrieved from the site.
The history of Golpayegan stretches back over 5,000 years. Extended across 1,945 square kilometers, the city is located to the west of the capital city Isfahan.

UNESCO to Assess Diggings Near Beit-ul-Moqaddas
The UNESCO said it will send a team of four experts to Beit-ul-Moqaddas to assess the impact of construction work which has inflamed Israeli-Palestinian tensions.
The experts are to visit the hilltop compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, which is on UNESCO’s World Heritage and its World Heritage in Danger Lists, AP said.
Nearly three weeks ago, Israeli archeologists began a salvage dig ahead of the construction of a new pedestrian walkway up to the site, one of Islam’s holiest. The Israeli dig sparked riots by Muslim worshippers and protests throughout the Arab world.
“I believe that such a mission constitutes the most appropriate response to the present situation,“ UNESCO director-general, Koichiro Matsuura, is quoted as saying in a statement. It “could also be a means of helping to alleviate tensions and restore a climate of confidence.“
The team could leave for the region as early as next week, the Paris-based organization said. Members will report their findings to Matsuura upon their return.

Short Version of ’War and Peace’
With its exhaustive dissection of the 19th-century Russian society, Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace is arguably the greatest, and certainly one of the longest, novels ever written, reported.
Now, for those unable to face wading through its 1,500 pages, there is hope. What is being billed as Tolstoy’s “original version“ is to be published--some 600 pages lighter, with the removal of Tolstoy’s philosophical musings and the prospect of a happy ending. Not everyone, however, is pleased.
Academics fear many will be tempted to settle for what they regard as an unfinished version.
The new book was the life’s work of Russian scholar Evelina Zaidenshnur, who for 50 years pored over thousands of pages to assemble Tolstoy’s first draft, matching different inks, changes in handwriting and types of paper to piece together the author’s earliest version.

Rapid Development Threatens Chinese Heritage
Chinese archeologists are concerned that the rapid pace of construction in China’s booming cities is putting the wrecking ball to the country’s cultural heritage, wrote.
From Olympic venues in Beijing to the constant building of skyscrapers in Shanghai, China is under construction.
Archeologists say when the shovels go in, workers are discovering ancient artifacts, but they don’t always report them.
When workers uncover historic treasures, the temptation is to bulldoze them under so they can get ahead with the important work of building new factories, offices and housing, said Song Jian, head of the Archeology Department at the Shanghai Museum.
In Nanjing, there are reports that workers destroyed a burial site of 10 nobles from six different dynastic periods. Bulldozers crushed the ancient crypts and looters stole whatever artifacts they could get their hands on.
Archeologists are urging the central government to come up with a way to protect China’s past, Song said.
On paper, China has strict laws about cultural protection, but enforcement is lax, he said.
“We archeologists have told the central government this must stop,“ Song told CBC Radio, speaking through an interpreter.
“Because everything is developing so fast, there are many challenges for archeologists.“
Local officials don’t like to slow down big development projects, and most developers would rather avoid stopping a project so archeologists can dust off and excavate whatever is found in the ground.
Archeologists fear the speedy pace of building a new China comes at a cost, Song said--the destruction of relics of the old China.