Ancient Urartian inscription disappears in northwestern Iran

July 26, 2006
TEHRAN -- An inscription of Urartian king Ishpuini (circa 830–810 BC) has disappeared from Baraghaneh Mountain, near Bukan in West Azarbaijan Province, the Persian service of CHN reported on Tuesday.

A team of experts from the Language and Dialect Research Center of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization studying in the region recently discovered that the inscription was not in its place.

The director of the Cultural Heritage Guards of the province said that he had not been informed about the incident.

“The research center dispatched a group in order to film the position of the inscription,” research center director Rasul Bashshash said.

“The inscription had been discovered by a team of mountain climbers in 1997, but the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization was only informed about it in 2005,” he explained.

The inscription had been written in cuneiform.

Ishpuini was the son of Sarduri I (circa 840–830 BC). Only a few inscriptions about his reign remain in the ancient Urartian capital Tushpa (Turushpa), modern Van in Turkey.

Urartu was an ancient country of Southwest Asia centered in the mountainous region southeast of the Black Sea and southwest of the Caspian Sea.

Today the region is divided among Armenia, eastern Turkey, and northwestern Iran.

Mentioned in Assyrian sources from the early 13th century BC, Urartu enjoyed considerable political power in the Middle East in the 9th and 8th centuries BC. The Urartians were succeeded in the area in the 6th century BC by the Armenians.