TEHRAN, Jan. 12 (Mehr News Agency) -- Iranian archaeologist Yusef Majidzadeh believes that Jiroft is the lost link of the chain of civilization and says it has such a significant civilization that he would be proud to be named an honorary citizen of the ancient site.
In a seminar entitled "Jiroft, the Cradle of Oriental Civilization" held in Kerman on Thursday, he said, "The history of civilization in Jiroft dates back to 2700 BC and the third millennium civilization is the lost link of the chain of civilization which archaeologists have long sought.
"We do not deny the Mesopotamian civilization, but we believe that the Jiroft civilization is of equal importance to the Mesopotamian. The only difference is that the Mesopotamian civilization had cultural continuity while the Jiroft civilization suffered from ups and downs for natural reasons. Thus it emerged in a certain period and was buried at a later time."
Located next to the Halil-Rud River in the southern province of Kerman, Jiroft came into the spotlight nearly five years ago when reports of extensive illegal excavations and plundering of the priceless historical items of the area by local people surfaced.
Since 2002, five excavation seasons have been carried out at the Jiroft site under the supervision of Professor 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 have been excavated by archaeologists at the Jiroft ancient site, which is known as the "archeologists' lost heaven".
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 Ziggurat, which caused experts to reconsider their views on Jiroft.
During the seminar, Majidzadeh elaborated on the latest theories about ancient Jiroft while showing slides of a number of artifacts discovered in the region.
"The artifacts show that the region had advanced industries and art. The bas-reliefs and engravings on the artifacts show that the region had at least a 500-year history of art before the objects were created," Majidzadeh said.
He has held regular programs to educate the local people on the importance of ancient Jiroft in order to discourage illegal excavations and smuggling of artifacts from the region.
"Almost all of the people who once were the smugglers of these artifacts are now helping teams of archaeologists working in the region," Majidzadeh explained.
Last December, he suggested that archaeologists use the term Proto-Iranian instead of Proto-Elamite for the pre-cuneiform script in use at several sites.
He argued that the inscriptions recently discovered at Konar-Sandal and at some other ancient sites in Iran are older than the oldest inscriptions, like Inshushinak, found at Elamite sites.
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