The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
(CAIS) -- Piotr
Steinkeller, professor of Assyriology in Department of Near Eastern Languages
and Civilizations of Harvard University, believes that the prehistoric site of
Jiroft is the lost ancient city of Marhashi.
developed the theory in his paper during the first round of the International
Conference on Jiroft Civilisation, which was held in Tehran on May 5 and 6.
(in earlier sources Warahshe) was a 3rd millennium BCE polity situated east of
Elam, on the Iranian plateau. It is known from Mesopotamian sources, and its
precise location has not been identified. An inscription of Lugal-Anne-Mundu,
the most important king of the Adab city-state in Sumer, locates it, along with
Elam, to the south of Gutium, an ancient polity in upper Mesopotamia. The
inscription also explains that Lugal-Anne-Mundu confronted the Warahshe king,
is the lost ancient city of Marhashi, which had been located between Anshan and
Meluhha, Steinkeller said.
was one of the early capitals of Elam, from the 3rd millennium BCE, which is
located 36 kilometers northwest of modern Shiraz in Fars Province, southwestern
Indus Valley Civilization has been tentatively identified with the toponym
Meluhha known from Sumerian records.
to Steinkeller, Marhashi was a political and economic power in eastern Iran,
which had been in a close contact with Babylonia. This relationship had been
developed over two periods, which has influenced the political history of the
region for at least a half century.
had previously been searching the Kerman region in order to identify a site from
the 3rd millennium BCE, which he could consider it as Marhashi. He had found
Tappeh Yahya and Tall-e Eblis, but he believes that Tappeh Yahya is too small to
be considered as Marhashi and Tall-e Eblis has been has almost entirely been
destroyed over the years.
he said that Jiroft is the heart of the ancient city of Marhashi and hoped that
upcoming excavations and studies would help archaeologists discover other parts
of the city.
to the conference scientific secretary Professor Yusef Majidzadeh, over 700
ancient sites such as Tappehs and graves have been discovered in Jiroft over the
past six seasons of excavation by a team of archaeologists led by Majidzadeh.
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
team unearthed a great number of artefacts at Jiroft as well as three tablets in
one of the present-day villager’s homes and a brick inscription near
Jiroft’s Konar-Sandal region wherein they also discovered ruins of a large
fortress, which previously was believed to be a ziggurat. The structure is
surmised have been made of more than four million mud bricks.
pottery works and the shards discovered in the Konar-Sandal fortress date back
to an interval between the fourth millennium BCE and early years of the Islamic
period, Majidzadeh said during the conference.
Majidzadeh had said 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.
believes that the world should revise its knowledge of the Eastern civilizations
due to the inscriptions discovered at Jiroft.
describes the inscriptions as unique and also elaborates that the tablets and
the brick inscription bearing a script which has been invented along with the
Mesopotamia script at the same time.
great number of Iranian and foreign archaeologists and scholars will discuss
latest studies on the Jiroft civilization during the conference, which will be
continued in Jiroft from May 8 to 9.
A team of archaeologists work on a prehistoric site near Konar-Sandal in the
Jiroft region in undated photo. This site was previously believed to be a
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