Thursday, March 26, 2015

New Excavations Planned for Jiroft (Iran)

Article from The Tehran Times

Iranian, German experts to excavate “archeologists’ lost paradise”

On Line: 10 March 2015 19:07
In Print: Wednesday 11 March 2015
TEHRAN -- A team of Iranian and German archaeologists will head to Jiroft in southern Iran in the near future to excavate the 5000-year-old site, which is known as the “archeologists’ lost paradise.”
Preparing a map of the site, searching for new structures near the Halil-Rud River, and analysis of the outcome of the excavation will be high on the agenda for the excavation, the director of the Iranian team, Nader Alidadi, said in a press release on Monday.
He said that the excavation project, which will last five years, aims to study the cultural boundary of the Halil-Rud region, cultural relations between the Halil-Rud region and the Mesopotamian civilization over the prehistoric periods, particularly during the Bronze Age.
The team is composed of 16 members, including eight German archaeologists, who will be led by Professor Peter Pfälzner of the University of Tubingen.
Eight Iranian archaeologists will also collaborate in the excavation project.

The collaboration between the Iranian and German archaeologists is based on a memorandum of understanding, which was signed between the University of Tubingen and Iran’s Research Institute for Cultural Heritage and Tourism in late January.
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 Professor 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 were excavated by archaeologists at the Jiroft ancient site.
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.

I have written several posts about Jiroft over the years since this blog began in 2007, but the primary article I wrote was done in November, 2005, and updated in January, 2007.  You can find it at the Goddesschess website if you're interested -- it is an indictment of the gross negligence of the Iranian government when news of the discovery of the site and its massive looting became public.  To this day I have seen nothing that proves to me there was no collusion between the massive and organized looting and sales on the illegal antiquities market (and subsequent massive quantities of manufactured "antiquities" that, simultaneously, flooded the international market for illegal sale) and the Revolutionary Guard. 

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