The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
(CAIS) -- The director of the
archaeological team working at the Jiroft ancient site in the Halil-Rud River
cultural area told archaeologists on Wednesday to use the correct term of
Proto-Iranian instead of Proto-Elamite.
Veteran archaeologist, Professor
Yusef Majidzadeh argues that the inscriptions recently discovered at Konar-Sandal
(konār-sandal), a subsection of the Jiroft ancient site, and at some other
ancient sites in
“The Inshushinak inscription
was discovered by French archeologist and prehistorian Jacques de Morgan. The
Frenchmen properly called its script Proto-Elamite due to the fact that the
script was contemporary with Proto-Sumerian (early 3rd millennium BCE), because
it is common in archaeology that artifacts which are discovered at a site are
labelled with the name of the site.
“The Frenchmen and
consequently other people thought that the script had been invented in
southwestern Iran, but archaeological studies on Sialk (in central Iran) during
the 20th century, which still continue, show that the script is not confined to
the Proto-Elamite people. Examples of the script were discovered at the ancient
sites of the central-west regions, Tall-e Meliān of Fars Province, Yahyā
Tappeh in southeastern
“Since the number of
inscriptions discovered at
In light of all this, he asked,
“Isn’t it time to use Proto-Iranian or another comprehensive phrase instead
In addition to two inscriptions
discovered during the previous season of excavations at Konar-Sandal,
Majidzadeh’s team has also discovered two other inscriptions 300 meters away
from Konar-Sandal in the yard of a village house during the current phase of
excavations, which began in mid-October.
The inscriptions, one of which
measures 18x10 and the other 13.5x8.5 centimetres, date back to the first half
of the third millennium BCE, but one of the artifacts is older. One of the
inscriptions has 5 lines and the other has 6 lines on the front and both bear
one line on the back.
“In the second half of the
third millennium BCE, Proto-Elamite script was replaced by the linear-Elamite
script,” Majidzadeh said.
The Inshushinak inscription was
also written in linear-Elamite during the reign of Elamite king Inshushinak
(2240-2220 BCE), who wanted to end domination of the Akkadians over his
territory, he added.
“Thus, Inshushinak used
Proto-Iranian script, which was invented in another region of
The Inshushinak inscription and
the more intact inscription of Konar-Sandal each have five lines, but the
Inshushinak inscription contains 51 pictographs, 29 of which occur only once
with 22 repeating, while the Konar-Sandal inscription has 54 pictographs, 24 of
which occur only once with 30 repeating. In addition, the Konar-Sandal
inscription bears simple pictographs like triangles, rectangles, and circles,
sometimes having a point in the center, but the pictographs of the Inshushinak
inscription are more complicated.
“These differences show that
the Konar-Sandal inscription is older than the Inshushinak inscription,”
Majidzadeh said in conclusion.
Located next to the
Since 2002, five excavation
seasons have been carried out at the Jiroft site under the supervision of
Majidzadeh, leading to the discovery of a ziggurat made of more than four
million mud bricks dating back to about 2200 BCE.
Many ancient ruins and
interesting artifacts have been excavated by archaeologists at the Jiroft
ancient site, which is known as the “archaeologists’ lost heaven”.
After the numerous unique discoveries in the region, Majidzadeh declared Jiroft to be the cradle of art. Many scholars questioned the theory due to the fact that no writings or architectural structures had yet been discovered at the site, but shortly afterwards his team discovered inscriptions at Konar-Sandal Ziggurat, which caused experts to reconsider their views on the site.
Copyright © 1998-2015 The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies (CAIS)