is not seen on most Iranians dining tables but it was part of
the daily diet of the inhabitants of ancient Jiroft in southern
Iran 5,000 years ago that showed the existence of an ancient
Jiroft, located in Kerman province, is one of the richest
historical areas in the world, with ruins and artifacts dating
back to the third millennium BC and with over 100 historical
sites located along the approximately 400 km of the Halil Rood
Many Iranian and foreign experts see the findings in Jiroft as
signs of a civilization as great as Sumerian and ancient
Mesopotamian. They believe that Jiroft is the ancient city of
Aratta that was described as a great civilization in an Iraqi
Jiroft came into the spotlight nearly three years ago when
reports of extensive illegal excavation and plundering of
priceless historical items of the area by local people surfaced.
Despite being 180 km from the sea, shellfish was a common meal
in ancient Jiroft, said Iranian paleozoologist Marjan Shakur,
who currently teaches at the Sorbonne in France.
"The remains of over 70 different types of shells were
discovered and identified during the recent excavations at the
historical site of Jiroft," he said.
"At least seven types of the discovered shells were edible,
showing that Jiroft residents were in the habit of eating
shellfish 5,000 years ago and they were used for decoration as
The discovery, according to him, proved that the residents of
Jiroft had commercial exchanges with coastal regions of the
Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman despite the distances.
"The review and analysis of the shells conducted by the
Museum of Natural Science in France and their comparison with
modern Persian Gulf species show that some of the discovered
shells are no longer found in the region, proving that they are
2002, two excavation seasons have been carried out at the Jiroft
site leading to the discovery of a ziggurat, or terraced
pyramid, made of more than four million mud bricks dating back
to about 2300 BC.