Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Elamite Royal Burial

Some interesting news out of the Middles East .....

From Mehr News:
"A team of archaeologists studying two graves discovered in the city of Ramhormoz in southern Iran said that they bear their remains of a girl and a woman who were most likely members of an Elamite royal family.

The team led by Arman Shishegar was assigned to carry out a series of rescue excavations in the Jubji region of the city in Khuzestan Province in May 2007 after the Khuzestan Water and Waste Water Company stumbled on two U-shaped coffins containing skeletons of a girl and a woman along with a great number of artifacts.....

The girl was about 17 years old and the woman was between 30 and 35 years old at the time of death, Shishegar told the Persian service of CHN on Tuesday. The girl was discovered wearing a golden bracelet embellished with pieces of agate on her wrist. The bracelet bears the female name Ani-Numa.

During the rescue excavations, the archaeologists found five rings of power among the coffins’ artifacts, which were usually used by royals in Mesopotamia. One of the rings, which bears the name of King Shutruk-Nahhunte of Elam (c. 1185–c. 1155 BC) in a cuneiform inscription was previously surmised to belong to the king.....

Due to the large quantity of valuable artifacts found in the coffins, the archaeologists believe that the girl and the woman had most likely been Shutruk-Nahhunte’s relatives or family members ....

Another of the five rings, which bears a cuneiform inscription, was handed over to two ancient languages experts but their studies led to different results. One of them deciphered the inscription as a female name but the other said it was the name of a local official.

A golden armlet with floral motifs, two golden bracelets bearing deer-head patterns at each end, some ornamental stones with floral decorations, 155 golden buttons of various sizes, several statuettes of goddesses, a golden necklace, golden plaques with floral motifs, 99 golden necklace beads, 23 golden necklace pendants of various sizes, three marble stone dishes, earthenware and bronze dishes, several bronze bracelets, a fish-shaped goddess ornament, and a number of other artifacts have been discovered at the site."

The Tehran Times also carries the story.

Edit: Press TV - Two women owned Elamite treasure

So, who were the Elamites??

According to Wikipedia:
"Shutruk-Nahhunte was king of Elam from about 1185 to 1155 BC, and the second king of the Shutrukid Dynasty. Elam amassed an empire that included most of Mesopotamia and western Iran. Under his command, Elam defeated the Kassites and established the first Elamite Empire, which proved to be very short-lived as Nebuchadnezzar I of Babylon conquered Elam around 1120 BC, bringing the empire to an end."

It seems that Elam was established under Shutruk-Nahhunte I (c.1160BC) and was centered around Susa. In its short history, Eleam became a great military power, its Kings - Shutruk-Nahhunte and Kutir-Nahhunte - successfully invaded Mesopotamia (reaching as far as Persepolis) and were responsible for the destruction of the Kassits (c.1155BC). Even Babylon had cause to fear these Elamite Kings when Shutruk-Nahhunte I captured this ancient Kingdom.

Despite Ancient History not being an area I am overly familiar with, especially that based around the heart of civilisation, this makes for interesting reading nonetheless.

I would welcome further recommendations for reading more of the history of this ancient region.

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