on three pieces of hide discovered in Uraman of
Kurdistan province in 1909 revealed them as
documents of several sales of one piece of land
during one century at the Parthian times with an
inflation rate of less than one percent.
The hides were accidentally discovered by a
shepherd working in Uraman area in a cave in 1909.
They were translated and published by an
Englishman in 1915, and rights now are kept in the
British Museum, London.
The first two documents are written in Greek and
the third in Aramaic which has been the official
handwriting of secretaries of the Achaemenid and
The documents are of the sale of a vineyard in 88
BC, in 21 or 22 BC, and in 11 AD. The land is sold
for 30 silver Dirhams the first time and the next
two following times, and 55 silver Derhams for the
Head of the Archaeology Research Center of the
ICHTO, Masoud Azarnoush, who have studied the
inscriptions, sees the discovery of these
documents as a unique event that is of great value
for history, economy, and for Iranian archaeology.
If silver Dirhams are considered to have a stable
value throughout the years, the prices reveal that
the inflation rate during the Parthian times has
been less than one percent.
According to Azarnoush, the documents date back to
the time that Iran was gaining great victories
over its neighbors especially the Romans. “We
can say that at the time that Iran had a strong
military and political situation, its economic
conditions were somehow stable too,” said
An interesting point mentioned in the documents,
as Azarnoush explains, is the guarantee by the
buyer to cultivate the land. In case the land is
left barren, the buyer must pay a large sum of
fine, 200 Dirhams which is four times the price of
the land, to the government. Meanwhile, the seller
also guaranteed to help the buyer out in
cultivating the land, so that if the buyer was
sick or for some other reason unable to continue
production, the seller who was accounted
responsible for the matter.
The punishment considered by the Parthians for
lack of economic productions, Azarnoush believes,
is another reason for improvement of production
and boosting economy at the time.