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Akkadian Inscriptions Discovered at Haft-Tappeh


22 February 2005



Seven clay Akkadian inscriptions written in cuneiform were discovered by an Iranian and German archaeological team during recent excavations at the ancient site of Haft-Tappeh in Iran’s southwestern province of Khuzestan, the director of the team announced on Tuesday.


The inscriptions are expected to shed light on unknown aspects of the history of Haft-Tappeh, Behzad Mofidi added.


About 2400 B.C., Akkadian was first written down in the cuneiform script borrowed from the Sumerians, but this script was not well adapted to writing the Akkadian (Semitic) sounds.


The ruins of the ancient city of Haft-Tappeh lie on the plain of Khuzestan close to the ruins of ancient Susa and two kilometers from the Chogha Zanbil Ziggurat. This large Elamite site contains fourteen major visible mounds, the largest rising about 17 meters above the surrounding plain which, with its related extensions, covers an area about 1500 meters long and 800 meters wide.


The excavations were carried out on the eastern side of Haft-Tappeh by Iranian experts and archaeologists from Mainz University in Germany over a three-week period.


“The inscriptions, which are the size of a hand, should be cleaned and restored in some parts in order to be studied by experts on ancient scripts,” said Hamid Fadaii, the director of the workshop for the restoration of Elamite artworks of Haft-Tappeh and Chogha Zanbil.


“Inscriptions are the most significant findings of an archaeological team during excavations, and this happened at Haft-Tappeh. We are sure that some aspects of the history of the region will be clarified through the study of the inscriptions,” he added.


Before the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iranian archaeologist Ezzatollah Negahban had discovered some other inscriptions at Haft-Tappeh which form the basis of the current knowledge on the region in ancient times, Fadaii said in conclusion.


The ancient name of the site is still being debated. Some scholars have suggested that it may have been called Tikni, which is described in early documents as a religious center located between Susa and Chogha Zanbil, but no evidence has yet been found in the Haft-Tappeh excavations to support this theory. However, several seal impressions and clay inscriptions found at Haft-Tappeh contain the name Kabnak, and it is possible that this was the original name of the city.



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