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Foreign Experts to Attempt to Decipher Newly Discovered Jiroft Script


15 February 2005



The brick inscription which was recently discovered in Konar Sandal at the ancient site of Jiroft will be studied by foreign experts who will attempt to decipher its text, the director of the archaeological team working on Jiroft and the Halil-Rud River cultural area announced on Tuesday.


The archaeological team determined in initial studies that the inscription dates back to the Bronze Age (the first half of the third millennium B.C.).


“The inscription proves that writing was in use in the region at the time and it will shed light on the dark corners of life in the first half of the third millennium B.C. Thus, we decided to give the inscription to an expert from France and several others from the U. S.,” Yusef Majidzadeh added.


“Although only the left corner and two lines of writing remain, the script of the inscription has been definitely identified as Elamite,” he said.


The oldest Elamite script, known as Proto-Elamite, first appeared in about 2900 B.C. in Susa, the capital of Elam, in the southwestern Iranian province of Khuzestan. The Proto-Elamite script is thought to have been developed from an early Sumerian script.


Old Elamite was a syllabic script derived from Proto-Elamite and was known to have been used between about 2250 and 2220 B.C., although it may have been invented at an earlier date. The Inshushinak inscription, found during an excavation in Susa, had been written in this type of script.


“The Konar Sandal inscription is older than the Inshushinak inscription, thus it seems that the recently discovered inscription will link proto and old Elamite scripts,” Majidzadeh said.


Known as the “archeologists’ lost heaven”, the ancient site of Jiroft is located next to the Halil-Rud River in the southern province of Kerman. Numerous ancient ruins and artifacts of Jiroft have been excavated by archaeologists, and also by smugglers unfortunately, over the past three years.



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