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Latest Archeological and Cultural News of Iran and the Iranian World


Jiroft Inscriptions Necessitate Reconsideration of Eastern Civilizations: Majidzadeh


29 April 2008



LONDON, (CAIS) --  Iranian archaeologist Professor Yusef Majidzadeh believes that new inscriptions discovered at the 5000-year-old sites of Jiroft invites us to a revise our knowledge of the Eastern civilizations. 


Majidzadeh described the inscriptions as unique and added, “We have discovered a script which has been invented along with the Mesopotamia script at the same time.”


“The script is geometrical and differs from the Mesopotamian one. Thus, the discovery of this script is very important for the world, because many traditional theories on the Eastern civilizations must be revised because of the discovery of the new script,” he added.


However, this idea is in opposition to the previous theory crediting the Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia with inventing the earliest system of writing, which appeared ca. 3500 BCE.


During the past six seasons of excavation by a team of archaeologists led by Majidzadeh, the team had unearthed three tablets in one of the present-day villager’s homes and a brick inscriptions near Jiroft’s Konar-Sandal region wherein they also discovered a ziggurat made of more than four million mud bricks.


Located next to the Halil-Rud River in southern Iran’s Kerman Province, Jiroft came into the spotlight in 2002 when reports surfaced of extensive illegal excavations being carried out by local people who went on to plunder priceless historical items.


In November 2007, the team returned to Jiroft in order to renew digs of the site in the hope of finding further artifacts bearing inscriptions, but this season came to an end with no result. 


According to Majidzadeh, it is roughly impossible to decipher the inscriptions due to little number of discovered items bearing such writings.


“The deciphering of ancient writings such as hieroglyphic and cuneiform scripts have been carried out using a tablet or a brick that bore bilingual inscriptions which referred to the same subject and one inscription could be read by another one,” he explained.


“We should search Jiroft for a bilingual tablet or something like that which would enable us to read the geometrical script, otherwise deciphering the inscriptions are unattainable. In nay case, the important fact is that the Jiroft inscriptions are part of a civilization,” he added.


After numerous unique discoveries had been made in the region, Majidzadeh declared Jiroft to be the cradle of art. 


Many scholars questioned this theory due to the fact that no writings had been discovered at the site, but shortly afterwards his team discovered the inscriptions.


The inscriptions are older than the oldest inscriptions, such as the Inshushinak, found at Elamite sites.


Many Iranian and foreign experts consider the Jiroft findings as evidence for the existence of a civilization in Jiroft as great as that of Sumer or ancient Mesopotamia. 


Majidzadeh believes that Jiroft is the ancient city of Aratta, which was described in a Sumerian clay inscription as an impressive center of civilization. In December 2007, he suggested that archaeologists use the term Proto-Iranian instead of Proto-Elamite for the script found at Jiroft. 


Latest studies on the Jiroft civilization are scheduled to be discussed during a conference, which will be held in Tehran, Kerman, and Jiroft from May 5 to 9. 


Majidzadeh is the scientific secretary of the conference, which its first edition was held in 2004.




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