Ramhormoz graves may be Elamite royal burials: experts

May 21, 2008

TEHRAN -- A team of archaeologists studying two graves discovered in the city of Ramhormoz in southern Iran said that they bear their remains of a girl and a woman who were most likely members of an Elamite royal family.

The team led by Arman Shishegar was assigned to carry out a series of rescue excavations in the Jubji region of the city in Khuzestan Province in May 2007 after the Khuzestan Water and Waste Water Company stumbled on two U-shaped coffins containing skeletons of a girl and a woman along with a great number of artifacts during a grading operation.
The girl was about 17 years old and the woman was between 30 and 35 years old at the time of death, Shishegar told the Persian service of CHN on Tuesday.
The girl was discovered wearing a golden bracelet embellished with pieces of agate on her wrist. The bracelet bears the female name Ani-Numa.
During the rescue excavations, the archaeologists found five rings of power among the coffins’ artifacts, which were usually used by royals in Mesopotamia.
One of the rings, which bears the name of King Shutruk-Nahhunte of Elam (c. 1185–c. 1155 BC) in a cuneiform inscription was previously surmised to belong to the king, but Farzan Foruzanfar, an anthropologist of the Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO), rejected the theory during his latest studies, Shishegar said.
Due to the large quantity of valuable artifacts found in the coffins, the archaeologists believe that the girl and the woman had most likely been Shutruk-Nahhunte’s relatives or family members, he added.
Another of the five rings, which bears a cuneiform inscription, was handed over to two ancient languages experts but their studies led to different results. One of them deciphered the inscription as a female name but the other said it was the name of a local official.
According to Shishegar, the divergence of opinions is a result of the deformed shape of the ring.
Since the grading operation was continued even after the extraordinary discovery, the graves’ site has been almost completely bulldozed.
A golden armlet with floral motifs, two golden bracelets bearing deer-head patterns at each end, some ornamental stones with floral decorations, 155 golden buttons of various sizes, several statuettes of goddesses, a golden necklace, golden plaques with floral motifs, 99 golden necklace beads, 23 golden necklace pendants of various sizes, three marble stone dishes, earthenware and bronze dishes, several bronze bracelets, a fish-shaped goddess ornament, and a number of other artifacts have been discovered at the site.
All the relics were transferred to Tehran to be stored at the National Museum of Iran.
Shishegar said the items are currently in danger, but the report did not provide any explanation of his statement.
Photo: One of the five rings of power discovered in the Jubji region of Ramhormoz, Khuzestan Province