In an official letter to Sheybani, the executive officer of Gotavnd- Olya Dam, the Archaeological Research Institute of Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization expressed its approval to impounding of Upper-Gotvand Dam up to the elevation of 140m.
Mahboob, the study manager and secretary of Upper-Gotvand impounding committee stated that the permit issued was one of the prerequisites to the impounding operation. He further added "in the first stage of impounding, water level is anticipated to reach the elevation of 140m. It is then maintained at this level for three months to accomplish further exploratory excavations". He also noted "to proceed with the second stage of impounding, the permit is required to be officially approved again".
"As the construction of Upper-Gotvand Dam started in 2006, a contract was signed with the Archaeological Research Institute to conduct archaeological reconnaissance studies on the area located in the reservoir. Following that, the investigations started in 2007, finally leading to the completion of the first phase of conservation and rehabilitation process in 2008.
The exploratory excavation continued to be carried out in 2010, in the area located around the road of Masjed-Soleyman to Lali which is to be inundated right after the impounding.
"The study program includes three stages. The first and second stages have already been completed while the third stage is expected to be completed within the next three months."
He also pointed out that in the first stage, the extensive environmental, morphological, cultural, social, anthropological and economic studies were undertaken to survive and record the customs and aspects of ancient people who had been living in the area.
The investigations also revealed "illegal excavations" had caused destruction to some of architectural and cultural frameworks, and led to the theft of precious artifacts in a few cases. The disturbance had also made the interpretation of the findings difficult and in few cases impossible.
The artifacts discovered were categorized by their material into five groups as: stone, clay, metal, glass and sundry.
Upper Gotvand Dam was constructed on Karun River. It is Iran's highest earth-fill dam located 5-kilometers away from Gotvand City in Khuzestan Province. The construction process is in its final stages and the dam is expected to be impounded within upcoming weeks.