Achaemenid clay tablets, Iron Age relics, and skeleton to go on show at Qazvin museum

June 21, 2020 - 20:0

TEHRAN – A batch of recovered Achaemenid-era (550-330 BC) clay tablets, which were on loan from Iran to the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago since 1935, along with an Iron Age collection composed of a human skeleton and burial relics, will be displayed at a museum in the city of Qazvin.

The Iron Age relics have recently been unearthed from a millennia-old cemetery situated in Sagz Abad plain of Buin Zahra county, Qazvin province, west-central Iran, IRNA reported on Saturday.

The Achaemenid batch comprises 40 tablets (or their fragments), which is a subset of tens of hundreds of tablets been returned home last year from the Institute after 84 years. The artifacts were recuperated with a great deal of effort made by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts, and the presidential office for legal affairs.

The Achaemenid [Persian] Empire was the largest and most durable empire of its time. The empire stretched from Ethiopia, through Egypt, to Greece, to Anatolia (modern Turkey), Central Asia, and to India.

In February 2018, and following years of ups and downs, the fate of those clay tablets, which reveal the economic, social and religious history of the Achaemenid Empire and the larger Near Eastern region in the fifth century BC, was left in the hands of a U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of Iran.

Archaeologists affiliated with the University of Chicago discovered the tablets in the 1930s while excavating in Persepolis, the ceremonial capital of the Persian Empire. However, the institute has resumed work in collaboration with colleagues in Iran, and the return of the tablets is part of a broadening of contacts between scholars in the two countries, said Gil Stein, director of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago.

Once the capital of the Persian Empire under Safavids from 1548-98, Qazvin is currently a major tourist destination with wonderfully restored historical sites, some quirky museums, and a handful of decent eating options. Famed for carpets and seedless grapes.

AFM/MG

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