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World's Oldest Ziggurat in Jiroft Being Excavated


25 February 2006




           Stairs of Konra-Sandal Ziggurat

LONDON, (CAIS) -- The main part of the Konar Sandal Ziggurat of the Jiroft ancient site, located in the southern Iranian province of Kerman, has recently been excavated, the Persian service of CHN reported on Friday.


Before the discovery of the ziggurat in 2002, Chogha Zanbil, a major remnant of the Elamite civilization near Susa , was the only surviving ziggurat in Iran . Chogha Zanbil Ziggurat dates back to 1250 BCE.


“The main part of the Konar Sandal Ziggurat is the lower part and is 200 years older than the upper section. Thus, construction of the ziggurat was carried out in stages beginning in 2200 BCE,” said Professor Yusef Majidzadeh, the director of the archaeological team working at the site.


Built some time around 2100 BCE by king Ur-Nammu, the Ur Ziggurat is the oldest one in Mesopotamia , but the Konar Sandal Ziggurat is a century older than it, he added.


The Ur Ziggurat was built in honor of the god Sin in Ur , a Sumerian city on the Euphrates , in the south of modern-day Iraq . It was called 'Etemennigur', which means 'house whose foundation creates terror'.


“The archaeologists have determined the original shape of the Konar Sandal Ziggurat for restoration,” Majidzadeh said.


Jiroft came into the spotlight nearly four years ago when reports of extensive illegal excavations and plundering of the priceless historical items of the area by local people surfaced.


Since 2002, two 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.


Jiroft is one of the richest historical areas in the world, with ruins and artifacts dating back to the third millennium BCE. Over 100 historical sites are located along the approximately 400 kilometers of the Halil Rud riverbank.


Many Iranian and foreign experts see the findings in Jiroft as signs of a civilization as great as Sumer and ancient Mesopotamia . Majidzadeh believes that Jiroft is the ancient city of Aratta , which was described as a great civilization in a Sumerian clay inscription.





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