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Khark Achaemenid inscription cannot be restored: expert

TEHRAN, June 9 (Mehr News Agency) -- An expert on ancient Iranian languages believes that the proposal to restore the Achaemenid inscription of Khark Island -- which was brought up by a cultural official after the valuable relic was vandalized on May 29 -- is unscientific.

The inscription before and after damage

"The restoration of an inscription which has been destroyed and obliterated is scientifically incorrect because its text could be distorted," Rasul Bashshash told the Persian service of IRNA on Sunday.

"Due to the damage caused to the inscription, if it remains in this condition, it is more reliable," he added.

Bashshash is one of the two ancient Persian experts who separately deciphered the cuneiform inscription which dates back to the late Achaemenid era. According to archaeologists, the Bashshash version is more trustworthy. He made the following translation: "(This) land was a dry area with no water; (I) brought happiness and welfare, Bahana... water wells."

The inscription, which has been etched on a piece of uneven rock encrusted with coral, was discovered during a road construction project on the Persian Gulf island of Khark in mid-November 2007. The rock, measuring 85x116cm, has become detached from its original terrain.

"It would be irrational to relocate the inscription, because it is situated beside a water well, for which the inscription had been written. In addition, relocation of the rock would spoil the surrounding archaeological structure," said Bashshash, who is also the director of the Inscription Studies Center of the Archaeological Research Center of Iran.

"The inscription refers to qanats (aqueducts) constructed for the transfer of water on Khark Island by a person named Bahana, who likely ruled the island during that time," he explained.

Bashshash said the photos of the artifact taken after the act of vandalism show that about three of the five lines of the text have been obliterated, adding that 40 to 50 percent of the inscription has been damaged.

Last week, Bushehr Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department Director Ahmad Dashti announced that the BCHTHD has filed a lawsuit against the suspects.

He estimated that 10 to 15 percent of the artifact has been damaged and said that his office would restore the inscription after the judicial process is completed.

... Payvand News - 06/10/08 ... --

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