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Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Archaeologists may have found 5,000-year-old civilization in southern Iran
Tehran Times Culture Desk
TEHRAN -- A team of archaeologists working on Bam riverside in Kerman Province have recently unearthed ruins of a large ancient site, which are believed to belong to a 5000-year-old civilization.
The site was discovered while excavating for a construction project in the Khajeh Askar region near the city of Bam, team director Nader Alidadi-Soleimani told the Persian service of the Mehr News Agency on Tuesday.
“Unfortunately, part of the site was damaged during the excavation,” he said.
“Based on the artifacts unearthed there, the site was one of the early places of human habitation in Iran, whose inhabitants had a connection with other civilizations such as the Jiroft civilization,” he explained.
The team has also discovered a number of pieces of intact pottery and shards. Study of the artifacts suggests that use of potter’s wheel was not common at the site.
Alidadi-Soleimani also said that two styles of burial, one for a man and another for woman, have been identified at two cemeteries discovered at the site.
One of the bodies was buried in a fetal position and another was lying face up.
The bodies had been buried with various artifacts. A seashell containing chromatic material used for women’s cosmetics was found beside one of the bodies.
The Jiroft civilization was discovered next to the Halil-Rud River in Kerman Province in 2002 when reports surfaced of extensive illegal excavations and plundering of priceless historical items in the area by locals.
Since 2002, five excavation seasons have been carried out at the Jiroft site under the supervision of Yusef Majidzadeh, leading to the discovery of a ziggurat made of more than four million mud bricks dating back to about 2200 BC.
Many ancient ruins and interesting artifacts have been excavated by archaeologists at the Jiroft ancient site, which is known as the “archeologists’ lost heaven”.
After the numerous unique discoveries in the region, Majidzadeh declared Jiroft to be the cradle of art. Many scholars questioned the theory since no writings or architectural structures had yet been discovered at the site, but shortly afterwards his team discovered inscriptions at Konar Sandal Ziggurat, causing experts to reconsider their opinions about it.
The Konar Sandal inscriptions are older than the Inshushinak inscription, suggesting that the recently discovered inscriptions link Proto Elamite script, which first appeared in Susa about 2900 BC, with Old Elamite, which was used between about 2250 and 2220 BC.
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