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Five Ancient Inscriptions Unearthed at Haft-Tappeh



09 October 2005


A team of Iranian archaeologists and some experts from Mainz University in Germany has recently unearthed five clay inscriptions at the ancient site of Haft-Tappeh in Khuzestan Province.


Written in cuneiform, the inscriptions were discovered in fragments.


“The inscriptions were probably broken in a fire, and this makes it difficult to read them,” the Iranian director of the team told the Persian service of the Cultural Heritage News (CHN) agency on Sunday.


“Our team is matching the pieces of the inscriptions. Initial studies have determined that the inscriptions are property lists from a building at the site thought to have been an official office in ancient times,” Behzad Mofidi added.


Archaeologists believe the artifacts will help them identify the administrative system of the ancient inhabitants of the region.


The inscriptions will be deciphered by the Mainz University experts after they are pieced together.


Last February, the team discovered seven Akkadian clay inscriptions written in cuneiform at the site.


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, and its related extensions cover an area about 1500 meters long and 800 meters wide.


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.


The team has also been tasked with discovering the exact location of Kabnak, where the Elamite king Tepti-ahar built a temple complex in the fifteenth century BC and was buried at the site.


Tepti-ahar, the last ruler of the Kidinuid period (1460-1400 BC), known from inscribed bricks and a sale contract from Susa and a text said to be from Malamir (in Lorestan Province), is mentioned on approximately 55 tablets of Haft-Tappeh, bearing the title “king of Susa and Anshan”.  



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