The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
By: Rasool Bashash
Inscriptions, and Texts Research Centre
Research Institute to
the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism Organization
(CAIS) -- Following my first concise
decoding of the Kharg Island newly found cuneiform inscription, now I find it
necessary again to give, in detail, my own comments and suggestions in English.
First of all, it is our duty to mention that the first person who informed the
Linguistics, Inscriptions, and Texts Research Centre (LITRC) about the
appearance of this inscription was revered Prof. Dr. Sarfaraz, whom we should
profoundly appreciate for his opportune attention.
informed on November 14th, 2007, I was given a mission to see the inscription.
Therefore, the next morning on Thursday, November 15th, I took a flight to Kharg
and arrived in there at around ten o’clock. There I was accompanied to the
site of the inscription by some state officials including Mr. Heydari, the
Governor, and Mr. Jazebi, the Deputy Governor of Kharg, along with the
representatives of the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts, and Tourism
Organization (ICHHTO) in Bushehr, and Prof. Sarfaraz, and two other local
archaeologists, Mr. Bazyar and Mr. Ebrahimi. There I gathered all the necessary
information and needed provisions and returned to Tehran, to read the
As it has already been
mentioned the inscription is carved on a coral rock in Old Persian semi-syllabic
cuneiform signs. Despite the usually well-ordered regular system of Achaemenid
inscriptions, this one is in an unusual order written in five lines. The first
three lines are separated with a space of 8cm from the second two lines which
are very awkwardly engraved.
Of course, the cuneiform
signs of the syllables are very well and correctly engraved. Except for the
abovementioned peculiarities, there are two other engraved signs between the
text. One is a three-angled crown-looking sign at the beginning of the third
line, and the other is a curved scratched line between the third and fourth
lines which is proceeded in below coming paragraphs.
The below coning tentative
decoding of the inscription was carried out through referring to almost all
Persian rock and artifact inscriptions, while studying, at the same time, the
other contemporary and coincidental Elamite and also some Avestan, the Old
Persian’s closest cognate language texts.
1 a ha .ha
2 sa a na
. .a a s.na . ..
za ha ma i vazahamai
4 ba ha na ma
5 xa a x.
“The not irrigated land
was (became) happy
(with) my bringing out
The only one word in the
first line is .ha from the radical .ah1, “to be, to become, …”, impf. 3rd
sg, “was, became”.
The second line contains
two words. One is read as sa a na > s.na. This word
was not found in any of the Old Persian cuneiform texts, but in Achaemenid
Elamite (Persepolis Fortification Tablets), either sa-a-in or sa,-in
and sa-a-na (PF572:7f;9500:10) are attested and are translated as
“not irrigated land”, which serve as qualification of grain, in contrast to
HAL.A, meaning “place (of) water”, or “irrigated land”. The second word
reads as .. from the ..y. is an adjective meaning “happy,
The third line, as
mentioned, begins with a fallen three-angled crown-looking engraved shape.
Actually, it shouldn’t be a real crown, but I prefer to discern it a
corruption of the cuneiform sign for the syllable va, and later manipulated
into the shape of a crown. Therefore, I suggest a transliteration of the
corrupted and broken third line as va za ha ma i > vazahamai,
a noun with enclitic first person possessive pronoun: vazah n. from
the verb .vaz, meaning “to bring, to offer, to flow”. Vazahamai; “my
offer, my flow”.
The fourth line can either
be read as the name of a person, transliterated as ba ha na > bahana,
with the accusative (-ma), or it can be matched with an Elamite word read
as pa ha nu, meaning “prince”.
The last line consists of
one word transliterated as xa a > x., which is a noun plural
(NP), nominative and accusative of substantive xan, meaning “wells, quells”.
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