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Encyclopedia > Jiroft civilization
Bowl depicting scorpions. Excavated at Halilrud area. 3rd Millennium BC.


The Jiroft Civilization (Persian تمدن جيرفت) is a proposed Early Bronze Age civilization of Sistan, Iran (fl. ca. 26th century BC). It was proposed by Yousef Madjidzadeh in 2003 based on archaeological artefacts confiscated by Iranian authorities. White Muscarella (2005) expresses serious doubt in the validity of the "Jiroft Civilization" as an archaeological entity. The Jiroft site itself is of undisputed notability as a mid-3rd millennium city situated between the Elamite civilization to the west and the Indus Valley civilization to the east. Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Scorpion_bowl_iran. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Scorpion_bowl_iran. ... For other uses, see Scorpion (disambiguation). ... Image File history File linksMetadata Farvahar_background. ... edit Geographical extent of Iranian influence in the 1st century BCE. The Parthian Empire (mostly Western Iranian) is shown in red, other areas, dominated by Scythia (mostly Eastern Iranian), in orange. ... Persia redirects here. ... The following is a comprehensive list of all Persian Empires and their rulers: // The Elamites were a people located in Susa, in what is now Khuzestan province. ... BCE redirects here. ... Silver cup from Marvdasht, Fars, with Linear-Elamite inscription on it. ... Elam (Persian: تمدن ایلام) is one of the oldest recorded civilizations. ... Kingdom of Mitanni Mitanni (cuneiform KUR URUMi-it-ta-ni, also Mittani Mi-ta-an-ni, in Assyrian sources Hanigalbat, Khanigalbat cuneiform Ḫa-ni-gal-bat ) was a Hurrian kingdom in northern Mesopotamia from ca. ... // The Kassites were a Near-Eastern mountain tribe which migrated to the Zagros Mountains and Mesopotamia (present Doroud) in 3000 and 4000 BC.[1] They spoke a non-Indo-European, non-Semitic language. ... 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Research into this civilization is a relatively recent and ongoing multinational archaeological project that is uncovering a previously unknown "civilization" in a series of newly discovered sites in Iran's Sistan and Kerman Provinces, notably Konar Sandal near Jiroft in the Halil Rud area. At least twelve sites are now under excavation in the area, the oldest thought to be more than 5,000 years old. Categories: Iran geography stubs | Provinces of Iran ... Kerman is one of the 30 provinces of Iran. ... Map of Iran showing the location of Jiroft. ... Halīl River (also Haliri River, known as the Kharan or Zar Dasht River in its upper reaches) is river in the Jiroft and Kahnuj districts of Irans Kerman Province, stretching for some 390 km. ...

The most significant of these sites are Shahr-i Sokhta (Burnt City), Tepe Bampur, Espiedej, Shahdad, Iblis, and Tepe Yahya. Some are in the neighboring Sistan and Baluchistan province. Shahr-e Sokhte or Shahr-i Sokhta (Persian for burnt city) is an archaeological site of a sizable Bronze Age urban settlement, associated with the Jiroft civilization. ... Sistān and Balūchestān is one of the 30 provinces of Iran. ...

The recent accidental discoveries have led to a surge in illegal excavations and looting, mainly of ancient tombs. The number of smuggled artifacts discovered became so noticeable that police forces had to be dispatched to try stop the looting. Interpol has also been cooperating on stopping the trade sourcing from the area. This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

The recent findings that have uncovered an "independent, Bronze Age, civilization with its own architecture and language" have led professor Yousef Majidzadeh, head of the archaeological excavation team in Jiroft, to speculate them to be the remains of the lost Aratta Kingdom, though others disagree. Other conjectures (eg. Daniel T. Potts, Piotr Steinkeller) have connected the site with the obscure city-state of Marhashi, that apparently lay to the east of Elam proper. But what is certain is that this kingdom had a large pottery industry, was a transit hub for trade merchants, and had active interactions with the Elamites. Aratta was an ancient state formation of renown somewhere in the Middle East, ca. ... Marhaši (Mar-ḫa-šiKI , Marhashi, Marhasi, Parhasi, Barhasi; in earlier sources Waraḫše) was a 3rd millennium BC polity situated east of Elam, on the Iranian plateau. ... Elam (Persian: تمدن ایلام) is one of the oldest recorded civilizations. ...


Discovery and excavation

location of Jiroft in Iran
location of Jiroft in Iran

Many of the finds associated with Jiroft were recovered from looters, "destitute villagers" who had scavenged the area south of Jiroft in the years leading up to 2001, when a team led by Yousef Madjidzadeh began excavations. The team uncovered the remains of a mid- to late 3rd millennium BC city, covering more than two square kilometers. Image File history File links Jiroft. ... Image File history File links Jiroft. ... Year 2001 (MMI) was a common year starting on Monday (link displays the 2001 Gregorian calendar). ...

The looted artifacts and some vessels recovered by the excavators were of the so-called "intercultural style," a type of pottery known from Mesopotamia and the Iranian Plateau, and since the 1960s from nearby Tepe Yahya. The "Jiroft civilization" hypothesis proposes that this "intercultural style" is in fact the distinctive style of a previously unknown, long-lived civilization. Tepe Yahya is an archaeological site in Kerman, Iran, some 220 km south of Kerman and 90 km south-west of Jiroft. ...

This is not universally accepted. Archaeologist Oscar Muscarella of the Metropolitan Museum of Art criticizes that the excavators resorted to sensationalist announcements while being more slow in publishing scholarly reports, and their claims that the site's stratigraphy shows continuity into the 4th millennium as overly optimistic. Muscarella does nevertheless acknowledge the importance of the site.

After the numerous unique discoveries in the region, Majidzadeh declared Jiroft to be the cradle of art. Many scholars questioned the theory due to the fact that no writings had yet been discovered at the site, but shortly afterwards his team discovered inscriptions at Konar-Sandal Ziggurrat, which caused experts to reconsider their views on Jiroft.

Earlier excavations in Kerman were conducted by Sir Aurel Stein around 1930 and One of the most notable archaeological excavations done in Kerman Province was one done by a group lead by Professor Joseph Caldwell from Illinois State Museum in 1966 (Tal-i-Iblis) and Lamberg Karvolski from Harvard University in 1967 (Tepe Yahya Sogan Valley, Dolatabad). For the U.S. city, see Kerman, California. ... Image:AurelStein. ... Year 1930 (MCMXXX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display 1930 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Kerman is one of the 30 provinces of Iran. ... The Illinois State Museum is the official museum of the natural history of the U.S. state of Illinois. ... Year 1966 (MCMLXVI) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the 1966 Gregorian calendar. ... Harvard redirects here. ... Year 1967 (MCMLXVII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full calendar) of the 1967 Gregorian calendar. ...

Jiroft site

The primary Jiroft site consists of two mounds a few kilometers apart, called Konar Sandal A and B with a height of 13 and 21 meters, respectively (approximate location 28.5° N 57.8° E). At Konar Sandal B, a two-story, windowed citadel with a base of close to 13.5 hectares was found. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Bowl depicting scorpions. ...


Horned figure with Serpents, one of thousands of newly excavated artifacts from the area

Archeological excavations in Jiroft led to the discovery of several objects belonging to the fourth millennium BC. Latest archeological excavations in Jiroft, known as the hidden paradise of world archeologists, resulted in the discovery of a bronze statue depicting the head of goat which dates back to the third millennium BC. This statue was found in the historical cemetery of Jiroft where recent excavations in the lower layers of this cemetery revealed that the history of the Halil Rud region dates arguably back to the fourth millennium BC, a time that goes well beyond some of the civilizations in Mesopotamia Image File history File links Download high resolution version (418x800, 280 KB) Summary I took this photo with a digital camera. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (418x800, 280 KB) Summary I took this photo with a digital camera. ...

“One of the reasons the archeologists and historians give for Mesopotamia to be the cradle of civilization is that the most ancient historical evidence and relics which have been discovered in Jiroft so far date back to the third millennium BC or nearer, and therefore they argue that this region could not have been the place where civilization began. However, some cultural evidence and ancient artifacts belonging to the fourth millennium BC were traced while digging a trench beneath the Matot Abad cemetery which gave proof to the fact that the history of this region goes back to the sixth millennium BC. Aside from these ancient articles found so far, archeologists were able to unearth a bronze statue of the head of a goat from one of the graves of Jiroft cemetery which raised new questions about the history of this region and whether or not the civilization that lived here is older than that of Mesopotamia,” said Yousof Majidzadeh, head of excavation team in Jiroft. Central New York City. ...

“Two different kinds of clays were discovered in this cemetery, some belong to third millennium BC while the others go back to the fourth millennium BC. It was supposed that this area was a cemetery in both periods, but the trenches dug under the cemetery indicate that the region was a residential area during the sixth millennium BC. After this area was covered by different sediments and layers little by little over the period of 1000 years, the cemetery was established on the remains of the previous settlement area. The team of archeologists who are working in this area at the present is determined to continue the excavations to study more about the lower layers,” added Majidzadeh.

According to Majidzadeh, geophysical operations by French experts in the region indicate the existence at least 10 historical and archaeological periods in the region belonging to different civilizations who lived in this area during different periods of time in history. According to the French experts who studied this area, the evidence remained from these civilizations may be traced up to 11 metres under the ground. Geophysics, the study of the earth by quantitative physical methods, especially by seismic reflection and refraction, gravity, magnetic, electrical, electromagnetic, and radioactivity methods. ...

“What is obvious is that the evidence of Tal-i-Iblis culture in Bardsir can be traced in all parts of the region. Tal-i-Iblis culture, known as Ali Abad period (fourth millennium BC) was revealed by Joseph R. Caldwell, American archaeologist,” said Majidzadeh.

Plunder of Matot Abad cemetery by the smugglers, which caused an unbelievable disaster in the history of archaeology, attracted the attention of public opinion to this region. Only from one of the cemeteries 30 stone dishes were plundered. Some metal and clay dishes as well as some gold articles were plundered by smugglers as well.

The excavations in the lower layers of Jiroft’s cemetery indicate that the history this region goes back to the fourth millennium BC. This further provided the proof to the claim that Jiroft was the cradle of civilization long before civilization first appeared in Mesopotamia, although this claim has not yet been approved by world organizations. Mesopotamia was a cradle of civilization geographically located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq. ...

Analytical studies on relics found in Jirof in a research center in the United States indicate that the discovered materials in this region date back to the third millennium BC. Considering an inscription found earlier in the region, archeologists believe that the writing language of Jiroft is more ancient than that of Mesopotamia, and that the script language was spread to Mesopotamia from this region.[1]


Madjidzadeh claims to have discovered inscriptions in a previously unknown script, allegedly comparable to linear Elamite, dated to ca. the 22nd century BC. The announcement of this discovery was received with skepticism. Lawler (2007) quotes Jacob Dahl, specialist in ancient texts at Berlin's Free University, as saying "No specialist in the world would consider these to be anything but absolute fakes." Madjidzadeh is defended by his co-excavator Holly Pittman of University of Pennsylvania who notes that earlier discoveries of new civilizations met with similar incredulity. Linear Elamite is a Bronze Age writing system used in Elam, known from a few monumental inscriptions only. ... (23rd century BC - 22nd century BC - 21st century BC - other centuries) (4th millennium BC - 3rd millennium BC - 2nd millennium BC) Events 2217 - 2193 BC -- Nomadic invasions of Akkad. ...

Jiroft and Aratta

According to a theory forwarded by Jahanshah Derakhshani (born 1944), the Aratti, or Artaioi, were ancient Aryan people in the eastern lands of the Iranian Plateau. Ca. 1000 BC, the Aratti moved southwest to Persis and became the direct ancestors of the Persians. Until the Macedonian conquest of Persia, the Partians were known as Artaioi. Herodotus (7:61) mentions Artaians as an alternative name for the Partians. [citation needed] Aryan (/eərjən/ or /ɑːrjən/, Sanskrit: ) is a Sanskrit and Avestan word meaning noble/spiritual one. ... Topographic map of the Iranian plateau connecting to Anatolia in the west and Hindu Kush and Himalaya in the east Iranian plateau is both a geographical area of South or West Asia, home of ancient civilizations[1], and a geological area of Eurasia north of the great folded mountain belts... External links Official website of Fars Governorship Categories: Iran geography stubs | Provinces of Iran ... The Persians of Iran (officially named Persia by West until 1935 while still referred to as Persia by some) are an Iranian people who speak Persian (locally named Fârsi by native speakers) and often refer to themselves as ethnic Iranians as well. ... For the film of the same name, see Alexander the Great (1956 film). ... Herodotus of Halicarnassus (Greek: Hērodotos Halikarnāsseus) was a Greek historian from Ionia who lived in the 5th century BC (ca. ...

According to Derakhshani, the Aratti may also have been the ancestors of the Bactrians and Arachosians. [citation needed] Bactria (Bactriana) was the ancient Greek name of the country between the range of the Hindu Kush (Caucasus Indicus) and the Amu Darya (Oxus), with the capital Bactra (now Balkh). ... Arachosia is the ancient name of an area that corresponds to the southern part of today s Afghanistan, around the city of Kandahar. ...

The Aratti people have been traced and documented by the Iranian historian Jahanshah Derakhshani. They were the inhabitants of the country Aratta attested in the Sumerian sources of the 3rd millennium BC and located in Eastern Iran (Derakhshani, Die Arier in den nahöstlichen Quellen des 3. und 2. Jahrtausends v.Chr., Tehran 1998, p. 41). According to Herodotus, the Partians were called also Artaioi = Artaians (Herodotus VII, 61. 150.). Indeed, already prior to Herodotus, Artaioi was interpreted as a Persian ethnonym. Hellanicus of Lesbos described them as the inhabitants of a Persian region called Artaia (Fr. cited from Marquart 1986, Untersuchungen zur Geschichte von Eran I: 234). The Greeks called the inhabitants of the country Barygaza Arattii, Arachosi and Gandaraei, who had been subjected by the bellicose Bactrians (ibid.; The periplus of the Erythraean Sea, Ed. by W. Schoff, New York 1912, p. 41). Aratta was an ancient state formation of renown somewhere in the Middle East, ca. ... Sumerian ( native tongue) was the language of ancient Sumer, spoken in Southern Mesopotamia from at least the 4th millennium BCE. It was gradually replaced by Akkadian as a spoken language in the beginning of the 2nd millenium BCE, but continued to be used as a sacred, ceremonial, literary and scientific... The 3rd millennium BC spans the Early to Middle Bronze Age. ... An ethnonym (Gk. ... Hellanicus of Lesbos (in Ancient Greek Hellanicós) (born in Mytilene on the isle of Lesbos in 490 BC) was an ancient Greek logographer who flourished during the latter half of the 5th century BC. He is reputed to have lived to the age of 85. ...


  • Jiroft, Fabuleuse Decouverte en Iran, Dossiers Archeologica 287, October 2003.
  • Yousef Mazidzadeh, Jiroft earliest oriental civilization (2004).
  • O. White Muscarella, Jiroft and “Jiroft-Aratta”: A Review Article of Yousef Madjidzadeh, Jiroft: The Earliest Oriental Civilization, Bulletin of the Asia Institute 15 (2005) 173-198.
  • Andrew Lawler, Ancient Writing or Modern Fakery?, Science 3 August 2007: Vol. 317. no. 5838, pp. 588 - 589.
  • Andrew Lawler, Iranian Dig Opens Window on New Civilization, Science 21 May 2004: Vol. 304. no. 5674, pp. 1096 - 1097.

See also

  • History of Iran
  • Zayandeh River Civilization

edit Geographical extent of Iranian influence in the 1st century BCE. The Parthian Empire (mostly Western Iranian) is shown in red, other areas, dominated by Scythia (mostly Eastern Iranian), in orange. ... Zayandeh River Civilization (تمدن زاینده رود) is a hypothetical pre-historic culture that is supposed to have flourished around the Zayandeh River in Iran in the 5th millennium BC.[1] During the 2006 excavations, the Iranian archaeologists uncovered some artifacts that they linked to those from Sialk and Marvdasht. ...

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