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2700 Year Old Tablets in Urmia Museum Providing Insight on Urartu Kings


22 May 2004



Information about the customs, rituals, military expeditions, religious beliefs, economy and social relations in the past as well as the way people of the time ran the country have been conveyed to the current generations in many ways, including through tablets.

There are a number of famous tablets with valuable information regarding the ancient Iran, such as the tablets of Bistoun, Ganjnameh in Hamedan, the Suez canal, Takht-e Jamshid, Naqsh-e Rostam, Hammurabi and the Cyrus Cylinder to name a few.

Ingrained in the script of the time, they have provided insight into the day to day life of the ancient people. For example, the Bistoun tablet carries details of the Achaemenid rule from Cyrus to Darius. Its decipherment threw considerable light on many dark historical points. Or there was little knowledge about the Suez Canal before the discovery of a tablet which clearly reads: "I Darius, the king of Iran and king of Persia, dug a canal that connected sea of Persia (the Persian gulf) to the middle sea (Mediterranean).

There are now a number of tablets from various eras in museums across Iran, including three in the Urmia museum.

Considered unique tablets, they carry scriptures in cuneiform from Urartu kings who ruled a government northwest of Iran some 2,000 years ago.

One of the tablets, called Mavana, was discovered in a village by the same name west of Urmia in 1995.

Measuring 170x71x35, Mavana contains scriptures in Urartu and Assyrian cuneiform on both sides. It describes a visit by the Urartu king Rusa to Musasir, a major city of the empire. The reading of the tablet is yet to be completed.

The second tablet is called Mahmoudabad, which was discovered in 1976. It measures 90x61x22cms and details the rituals of sacrificing in the time of peace and war in the Urartu cuneiform.

Stan Koldshin is another tablet, whose name in Kurdish means the livid grave stone, was discovered in 1985. It contains 41 lines in Assyrian and Urartu cuneiform scripture.



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