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French & US Experts to Decipher Jiroft Inscription


09 April 2006




LONDON, (CAIS) -- The second inscription that was recently discovered at the Konar Sandal Ziggurat of the Jiroft ancient site is scheduled to be deciphered by teams of researchers from the University of Chicago and the University of Paris.


The inscription, which is on a brick 11x7 centimetres with a depth of two centimetres, is more intact than the first inscription discovered during the previous phase of excavations carried out at the site last year. Only the left corner and two lines of writing remain of the first inscription.


“Professor Yusef Majidzadeh has sent pictures of the inscription to the researchers, who believe the previous inscription was an imperial decree,” Nader Soleimani, a member of the archaeological team working at Konar Sandal, told the Persian service of CHN on Saturday.


Due to the similarities between the words written in Elamite on both inscriptions, Iranian archaeologists believe that the new inscription is also an imperial decree. The inscription has five lines, each with about 12 words.


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. Many ancient ruins and artifacts of Jiroft have been excavated by archaeologists, and also by smugglers, unfortunately, over the past four years.


After numerous artifacts were discovered in the region, Majidzadeh, the director of the archaeological team working on Jiroft and the Halil-Rud River cultural area, named Jiroft the cradle of human art. Many scholars doubted the idea due to the fact that no writings or architectural structures had yet been discovered at the site, but the newly discovered writings have caused experts to reconsider their views on the site.


The oldest Elamite script, known as Proto-Elamite, first appeared in about 2900 BCE 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 BCE, 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 inscriptions are older than the Inshushinak inscription, thus it seems that the recently discovered inscriptions link Proto and Old Elamite scripts.







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