Shutur-Nahhunte is not Shutruk-Nahhunte: expert

December 20, 2008 - 0:0

TEHRAN -- Iranian archaeologist Arman Shishegar said that studies on the artifacts discovered from the graves of two Elamite royal members show that Shutur-Nahhunte is not the very Shutruk-Nahhunte II.

Two U-shaped coffins containing skeletons of a girl and a woman along with a great number of artifacts were discovered during a grading operation by the Khuzestan Water and Waste Water Company in the Jubji region of the city of Ramhormoz in Khuzestan Province in 2007.
Afterwards, a team led by Shishegar was assigned to carry out a series of rescue excavations at the site in May 2007.
“Inscriptions discovered from the graves link one of the two with one of the Elamite kings named Shutur-Nahhunte, son of Indede,” Shishegar said.
“We had previously been familiar with the name in the Hani inscription in Izeh. It was believed that Shutur-Nahhunte son of Indede was the very same Shutruk-Nahhunte, but the new studies have shown that this is not the case,” he noted.
Shutur-Nahhunte and Shutruk-Nahhunte have mistakenly been used for the same person, but the new archaeological and linguistic studies, which have been carried out by Shishegar’s team, discredited the theory.
Despite the previous studies, the Hani inscription refers to Shutur-Nahhunte not Shutruk-Nahhunte, Shishegar said.
Shutur-Nahhunte was one of Elamite minor kings who came to power immediately before the Achaemenids. There are many similarities between the artifacts unearthed from the grave and the Achaemenid relics discovered over the years, he explained.
Shutur-Nahhunte ruled between 585-539 BC, while the reign of Shutruk-Nahhunte II ended in 699 BC. There is a gap of over 100 years between the above dates, which proves that Shutur-Nahhunte is not the same as Shutruk-Nahhunte II.
The artifacts show that some Elmite kings still ruled small regions in Iran when the Achaemenids came to power, he added.
“Those whose daughters or wives are found buried with such a great quantity of valuable objects, enjoyed a high social status and may have ruled a small portion of Iran,” Shishegar said.
The minor kings left Susa during the late Elamite period and went east, coexisting with the Achaemenids until they gradually faded away.
During the rescue excavations, Shishegar’s team found five rings of power among the artifacts in the coffins.
One of the rings, which bears the name of Shutur-Nahhunte in a cuneiform inscription was previously surmised to belong to the minor king, but Farzan Foruzanfar, an anthropologist from the Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO), rejected the theory.
Based on the large quantity of valuable artifacts found in the coffins, the archaeologists believe that the girl and the woman most likely had been Shutur-Nahhunte’s relatives or family members.
Another one 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.
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.
Photo: One of the five rings of power discovered in the Jubji region of Ramhormoz, Khuzestan Province