First cuneiform inscription of Rabat Tepe 2 discovered


Nov 29, 2006

The first brick inscription written in cuneiform to be discovered at Rabat Tepe 2 was recently unearthed during the second phase of excavations at the ancient site, the Persian service of CHN reported on Tuesday.

A team of archaeologists working at the ancient mound said that the inscription may be in the Assyrian language, adding that the discovery is one of the most important keys for the study of the Mannai and Assyrian city-states in the region, which is located near the town of Sardasht in Iran's West Azarbaijan Province.

"This is the first time excavations in northwestern Iran have resulted in the discovery of a brick inscription in cuneiform. It has been written with white glaze on the shorter end of the brick," team director Reza Heidari said.

"The discovery of script at an ancient site is one of the major indicators for study and dating of the region. Thus, the discovery of the inscription will be very helpful for gaining greater understanding of the Mannai and Urartian city-states in the region and the relations of Assyria with the city-states," he added.

The team began the second phase of excavations of Rabat Tepe in late October with the aim of proving the site was the capital of the Musasir state about 3000 years ago.

Musasir was a semi-independent buffer state bordering Mannai between Assyria and Urartu. It was a vassal state of Assyria yet Urartu had some claim over it.

According to one of the inscriptions previously discovered in the region, Assyrian king Sargon II plundered the palace and storerooms that belonged to Urzana, the king of Musasir, and then seized the even richer contents of the temple of Haldi, the god of the ancient kingdom of Urartu, in the eighth century BC.

The archaeologists have also started new efforts to find evidence of Sargon II's battle in the region.

Unique cobblestones as well as bricks bearing bas-reliefs of naked winged goddesses have been discovered during the previous excavations of Rabat Tepe.