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World’s oldest animation not missing: official


16 August 2005




The recent reports on the disappearance of an ancient earthenware bowl discovered in eastern Iran which bears the world’s oldest example of animation are false, the managing director of the Zabol International Research Center announced on Monday.


An investigation must be carried out at the National Museum of Iran (NMI) to determine if the ancient artifact has been misplaced somewhere in the museum or if it is gone, Alireza Khosravi added.


“The official in charge of NMI’s possessions is currently in London to arrange the September exhibition entitled ‘Forgotten Empire: The World of Ancient Persia’ in the British Museum. We have to wait until the official returns from London,” he explained.


“Perhaps the earthenware bowl has been registered on the list of the National Museum’s properties under a different name,” he said, adding that there is still a long way to go to resolve the matter.


Iranian and foreign news outlets have issued conflicting reports on the ancient bowl.


In a recent speech in the Majlis, the MP representing Taft asked the president to seriously pursue the matter.


Last December, a team of Iranian archaeologists announced that they had found an earthenware bowl at Iran’s 5200-year-old Burnt City with an animated picture drawn around it which is the oldest example of animation ever discovered anywhere in the world.


The bowl was found in the grave of a person who appears to have been the painter of the animated pictures. The animation shows nine pictures of a goat which is jumping to eat the leaves of a tree.


According to experts, movement is clearly seen in the pictures.


The Burnt City is located 57 kilometers from the city of Zabol in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan Province. It covers an area of 150 hectares and was one of the world’s largest cities at the dawn of the urban era. It was built circa 3200 BC and destroyed some time around 2100 BC. The city had four stages of civilization and was burnt down three times. Since it was not rebuilt after the last time it was burnt down, it has been named the Burnt City.  




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