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Capital of Musasir Government in Northwest Iran




04 September 2005


A team of archaeologists, working on some regions near the town of Sardasht in Iran's West Azarbaijan Province, believe that the Rabat Tepe used to be the capital of Musasir government in about 3,000 years ago, the director of the team said on Sunday.

“The excavations intend to shed light on the dark side of the archaeology in northwestern Iran. Due to the ruins of architectural structures unearthed during the previous excavations, the Rabat Tepe is expected to be the capital of an unknown state – very likely that of Musasir government,” Bahman Kargar added.


A total of 83 glazed bricks bearing Urartian cuneiform script as well as geometrical, mythical, and plant motifs had been discovered during the excavations carried out in 1985. Archaeologists had also found ruins of Mannai (ancient country in northwestern Iran, south of Lake Urmia) near Bukan in West Azarbaijan Province; the findings raise the possibility that Musasir government was most likely located in northwest of Iran. 


Musasir was a semi-independent buffer state bordering Mannae between Assyria and Urartu. It was a vassal state of Assyria yet Urartu had some claim over it.


Experts believe that it was an ancient city probably located near the upper Great Zab River between Lake Urmia and Lake Van, the present Turkey. Musasir was particularly important during the first half of the 1st millennium BC and is known primarily from reliefs and inscriptions of the Assyrian king Sargon II, who captured it in 714. According to the inscription, Sargon first plundered the palace and storerooms belonged to Urzana, the king of Musasir, and then seized the even richer contents of the temple of Haldi, the god of the ancient kingdom of Urartu.


The team, which also includes a number of anthropologists, geologists, topographers, and some experts in restoration works, will continue their work until late October.