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Expert gives another translation of ancient Khark inscription

TEHRAN, Nov. 27 (Mehr News Agency) -- An expert on ancient languages has come up with a different translation of the newly discovered stone inscription found on Khark Island in the Persian Gulf, the Archaeological Research Center of Iran (ARCI) reported in a press release published on Tuesday.

"(This) land was a dried area with no water; (I) brought happiness and welfare, Bahana... water wells," is the text of the inscription, as deciphered by an expert of the ARCI Rasul Bashshash.

Bahana is a name, probably of a king, who issued a decree for the development and cultivation of the area.

The cuneiform inscription, which has been etched on a piece of uneven rock encrusted with corals, was discovered in mid-November during a road construction project. The rock, measuring 85x116cm, has become detached from its original terrain.

The artifact is believed to date back to the late Achaemenid era.

According to Bashshash, the words have been written carelessly in two sections divided by an irregular horizontal curved line. The top section bears three lines of horizontal writing and the lower section carries two lines of writing. The lines of the inscription are spaced at a distance of 8 centimeters from each other.

In addition, several phonetic signs have been carved in a scattered manner on the inscription.

New translation differs from previous version

A previous translation of the inscription, which was published by another expert on ancient languages Reza Moradi Ghiasabadi last week, greatly differs from the new version.

According to Moradi, the inscription comprises six words on six different horizontal lines.

Only the first word, meaning "was" or "were", has frequently been observed in ancient Persian inscriptions and the other five words are new discoveries.

The artifact has three crown-shaped motifs inscribed in a side-ways fashion in the middle of the inscription and also at the beginning of the third and fourth lines. The motifs are similar to the crowns of the Sassanid kings.

He said that the discovery may add five words to our knowledge of the ancient Persian language.

He has also cited some points which throw doubt on the authenticity of the inscription: careless and fast writing -- which is not commonly observed in previously discovered Achaemenid inscriptions -- slight layers of sediment on the edges and insides of the letters, multi-typography style of the inscription, unknown words and the use of strange motifs resembling the Sassanid kings' crown on an allegedly Achaemenid artifact.

... Payvand News - 11/28/07 ... --

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