Jiroft culture

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Jiroft culture bronze vase. Jiroft culture vase.jpg
Jiroft culture bronze vase.

The "Jiroft culture" [1] is a postulated early Bronze Age (late 3rd millennium BC) archaeological culture, located in the territory of present-day Balochistan and Kermān Provinces of Iran. The hypothesis is based on a collection of artifacts that were confiscated in Iran and accepted by many to have derived from the Jiroft area in south central Iran, reported by online Iranian news services, beginning in 2001.

An archaeological culture is a recurring assemblage of artifacts from a specific time and place that may constitute the material culture remains of a particular past human society. The connection between the artifacts is based on archaeologists' understanding and interpretation and does not necessarily relate to real groups of humans in the past. The concept of archaeological culture is fundamental to culture-historical archaeology.

Balochistan Region

Balochistan is an arid desert and mountainous region in south-western Asia. It comprises the Pakistani province of Balochistan, Iranian province of Sistan and Baluchestan, and the southern areas of Afghanistan including Nimruz, Helmand and Kandahar provinces. Balochistan borders the Pashtunistan region to the north, Sindh and Punjab to the east, and Persian regions to the west. South of its southern coastline, including the Makran Coast, are the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman.

Iran Country in Western Asia

Iran, also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), it is the second largest country in the Middle East and the 17th largest in the world. Iran is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan, to the north by the Caspian Sea, to the northeast by Turkmenistan, to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. The country's central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz, give it geostrategic importance. Tehran is the country's capital and largest city, as well as its leading economic and cultural center.


The proposed type site is Konar Sandal, near Jiroft in the Halil River area. Other significant sites associated with the culture include; Shahr-e Sukhteh (Burnt City), Tepe Bampur, Espiedej, Shahdad, Tal-i-Iblis and Tepe Yahya.

Konar Sandal Place

Konar Sandal is a Bronze Age archaeological site, situated just south of Jiroft, Kermān Province, Iran.

Jiroft City in Kerman, Iran

Jiroft is a city and capital of Jiroft County, Kerman Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 95,031, in 19,926 families. It is located 230 kilometres (140 mi) south of the city of Kerman, and 1,375 kilometres (854 mi) south of Tehran along Road 91. In the past it was also called Sabzevaran, and on account of its being very fertile land it is famous as Hend-e-Koochak.

Halīl River is a river stretching for some 390 kilometres (240 mi) running in the Baft, Jiroft and Kahnuj districts of Kerman Province, Iran. It rises at 4,400 metres (14,400 ft) above sea level in the Shah mountain about 20 kilometres (12 mi) to the north-east of Baft, flowing to the south-west until it is joined by the Rudar and Rabor rivers. Turning towards the south, if flows along the foothills of the Barez mountains, then to the south-east until Jiroft Dam, which is 130 metres (430 ft) high, about 40 kilometres (25 mi) upstream of Jiroft 28°51′30″N57°28′0″E) at the confluence with the Narab. It passes some 15 kilometres (9 mi) east of Kahnuj and terminates in the Hamun-e Jaz Murian of Baluchistan.

The proposition of grouping these sites as an "independent Bronze Age civilization with its own architecture and language", intermediate between Elam to the west and the Indus Valley Civilization to the east, is due to Yusef Majidzadeh, head of the archaeological excavation team in Jiroft. He speculates they may be the remains of the lost Aratta Kingdom, but his conclusions have met with skepticism from some reviewers. Other conjectures (e.g. Daniel T. Potts, Piotr Steinkeller) have connected Konar Sandal with the obscure city-state of Marhashi, that apparently lay to the east of Elam proper.

Bronze Age Prehistoric period and age studied in archaeology, part of the Holocene Epoch

The Bronze Age is a historical period characterized by the use of bronze, and in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the three-age Stone-Bronze-Iron system, as proposed in modern times by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen, for classifying and studying ancient societies.

Civilization Complex state society

A civilization or civilisation is any complex society characterized by urban development, social stratification imposed by a cultural elite, symbolic systems of communication, and a perceived separation from and domination over the natural environment.

Elam ancient Pre-Iranic civilization

Elam was an ancient Pre-Iranian civilization centered in the far west and southwest of what is now modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of what is now Khuzestan and Ilam Province as well as a small part of southern Iraq. The modern name Elam stems from the Sumerian transliteration elam(a), along with the later Akkadian elamtu, and the Elamite haltamti. Elamite states were among the leading political forces of the Ancient Near East. In classical literature Elam was also known as Susiana, a name derived from its capital Susa.

Discovery and excavation

Many artifacts associated with Jiroft were recovered from looters described as "destitute villagers" who had scavenged the area south of Jiroft before 2001, when a team led by Yusef Majidzadeh began excavations. The team uncovered more than two square kilometers of remains from a city dating back to at least the late 3rd millennium BC. The data Madjidzadeh's team has gathered demonstrates that Jiroft's heyday was from 2500 BC to 2200 BC. [2] [2]

Yousef Majidzadeh is an Iranian archaeologist and director of the excavations at Ozbaki, Qabristan and Jiroft. He is a native of Tabriz.

The looted artifacts and some vessels recovered by the excavators were of the so-called "intercultural style" type of pottery known from Mesopotamia and the Iranian Plateau, and since the 1960s from nearby Tepe Yahya in Baft. The "Jiroft civilization" hypothesis proposes that this "intercultural style" is in fact the distinctive style of a previously unknown, long-lived civilization.[ citation needed ]

Tepe Yahya Place

Tepe Yahya is an archaeological site in Kermān Province, Iran, some 220 kilometres (140 mi) south of Kerman city, 90 kilometres (56 mi) south of Baft city and 90 km south-west of Jiroft.

location of Jiroft in Iran Jiroft.Iran.jpg
location of Jiroft in Iran

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.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Art museum in New York City, New York

The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City, colloquially "the Met", is the largest art museum in the United States. With 6,953,927 visitors to its three locations in 2018, it was the third most visited art museum in the world. Its permanent collection contains over two million works, divided among seventeen curatorial departments. The main building, on the eastern edge of Central Park along Museum Mile in Manhattan's Upper East Side is by area one of the world's largest art galleries. A much smaller second location, The Cloisters at Fort Tryon Park in Upper Manhattan, contains an extensive collection of art, architecture, and artifacts from Medieval Europe. On March 18, 2016, the museum opened the Met Breuer museum at Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side; it extends the museum's modern and contemporary art program.

Stratigraphy The study of rock layers and their formation

Stratigraphy is a branch of geology concerned with the study of rock layers (strata) and layering (stratification). It is primarily used in the study of sedimentary and layered volcanic rocks. Stratigraphy has two related subfields: lithostratigraphy and biostratigraphy.

Earlier excavations at Kerman were conducted by Sir Aurel Stein around 1930.

Jiroft culture artifact. Jiroft culture artifact.jpg
Jiroft culture artifact.

One of the most notable archaeological excavations done in Kerman Province was one done by a group led by Professor Joseph Caldwell from Illinois State Museum in 1966 (Tal-i-Iblis) and Lamberg-Karlovsky from Harvard University in 1967 (Tepe Yahya Sogan Valley, Dolatabad).

Archeological excavations in Jiroft led to the discovery of several objects belonging to the fourth millennium BC.

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 meters under the ground.

"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,"[ citation needed ] said Majidzadeh.


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°30′N57°48′E / 28.5°N 57.8°E / 28.5; 57.8 ). At Konar Sandal B, a two-story, windowed citadel with a base of close to 13.5 hectares was found.

Helmand culture

Master of animals in chlorite, Jiroft, Kerman ca. 2500 BC, Bronze Age I, National Museum of Iran Chlorite object Jiroft, Kerman ca. 2500 BCE, Bronze Age I, National Museum of Iran.jpg
Master of animals in chlorite, Jiroft, Kerman ca. 2500 BC, Bronze Age I, National Museum of Iran

Helmand culture of western Afghanistan was a Bronze Age culture of the 3rd millennium BC. Some scholars link it with Shahr-i Sokhta, Mundigak, and Bampur.

The term "Helmand civilization" was proposed by M. Tosi. This civilization flourished between 2500 and 1900 BC, and may have coincided with the great flourishing of the Indus Valley Civilization. This was also the final phase of Periods III and IV of Shahr-i Sokhta, and the last part of Mundigak Period IV. [3]

Thus, Jiroft culture is closely related to Helmand culture. Jiroft culture flourished in the eastern Iran, and the Helmand culture in western Afghanistan at the same time. In fact, they may represent the same cultural area. Mehrgarh culture, on the other hand, is far earlier.

Writing system

Jiroft culture inscriptions. Jiroft culture inscriptions.jpg
Jiroft culture inscriptions.

An inscription, discovered in a palace, was carved on a brick whose lower left corner only has remained, explained Yusef Majidzadeh, head of the Jiroft excavation team. [4]

"The two remaining lines are enough to recognize the Elamite script," he added.

"The only ancient inscriptions known to experts before the Jiroft discovery were cuneiform and hieroglyph," said Majidzadeh, adding that" The new-found inscription is formed by geometric shapes and no linguist around the world has been able to decipher it yet."

Archeologists believe the discovered inscription is the most ancient script found so far and that the Elamite written language originated in Jiroft, where the writing system developed first and was then spread across the country. [4] [5] Other scholars [6] have called the authenticity of the cyphers into question, suggesting they may be examples of several modern forgeries in circulation since the earlier looting [7] at the site.

See also

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  1. Oscar White Muscarella, Jiroft (2008), in: Encyclopedia Iranica. "For archeological accuracy the terms "Jiroft" or "Jiroft culture" employed to define a specific ancient Iranian culture and its artifacts should only be cited within quotation marks. All the artifacts known to date that are accorded the Jiroft label have not been excavated; they have in fact been plundered."
  2. 1 2 "Insider - The New Bronze Age - Archaeology Magazine Archive". archive.archaeology.org. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  3. Jarrige, J.-F., Didier, A. & Quivron, G. (2011) Shahr-i Sokhta and the Chronology of the Indo-Iranian Borderlands. Paléorient 37 (2) : 7-34 academia.edu
  4. 1 2 http://edition.presstv.ir/detail/29784.html
  5. Foltz, Richard C. (2016). Iran in World History. Oxford University Press. p. 6. ISBN   9780199335503.
  6. "Yahoo! Groups". groups.yahoo.com. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  7. Counterfeit artefacts in circulation since discovery Encyclopædia Iranica


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