New Trilingual Inscription Discovered.

Via bulbul’s Facebook feed, this intriguing news item:

A researcher in the field of ancient Iranian culture and languages announced that a hitherto undocumented trilingual inscription has been discovered on the hillside around the tomb of Darius in Naqshe-Rustam. The discovery of the inscription, which had remained hidden under moss and lichen for over two millennia, is of great importance in the field of ancient Iranian studies and ancient linguistics, said French archaeologist Werther Henkelman. The inscription is written in the Persian, Elamite and Babylonian languages, and is of particular importance to linguists as it adds new verbs to all three ancient languages ​​in which it is inscribed. “It is still hoped that in the area of Naqshe-Rustam, which has been explored continuously for decades, other such valuable inscriptions will be discovered”, added Hansklmann.

There are some nice pictures of the site, but I would rather have been told what the verbs are.


  1. David Marjanović says

    Werther Henkelman […] Hansklmann

    Wouter F. M. Henkelman, says the article. Did someone take a screenshot of it and then used OCR?

  2. I wonder if one could reach out to Dr. Henkelman to comment. He’s affiliated with the École Pratique des Hautes Études.

  3. I’m also intrigued by the Iranian from Shiraz and his friend, the Iranian from Berlin.

  4. ^ The latter is probably Soheil Delshad at the Freie Universität Berlin.

  5. A couple versions mention Mojtaba Doroudi, later seeming to cite him as Davoudi. These versions go a bit further, saying its at the tomb of a high-ranking official in the Achaemenid court. Still no verbs though.

  6. Aha! This is a question for twitter:

    He doesn’t yet announce his reading or the new verbs, but says it will be out in a few days. Blames the Iranian news agency for confusing and inaccurate reports. And narrates the discovery and translation effort.

  7. Excellent find, thanks!

  8. According to Prof. Jack Sasson’s Agade list:
    “[A commented edition by Doroodi and Delshad is shortly forthcoming at
    ARTA ]”
    Achaemenid Research on Texts and Archaeology

  9. A report:
    DNf: A New Inscription Emerges from the
    DNf is a recently-discovered trilingual inscription on the tomb of Darius I at Naqsh-e
    Rostam. This article presents images, a first edition of the texts, observations on why the
    inscription was not recognized earlier, and comments on the relationship between the
    inscription and the sculptured figures below it.
    Naqsh-e Rostam, Darius, Achaemenid, Royal Inscriptions, Achaemenid Tomb

  10. Very interesting, thanks! Here’s their explanation for why the inscription hasn’t been known till now:

    Herzfeld and Sarre are the only researchers who suggested the existence of more captions accompanying other figures than the weapon bearers on the left side and the throne bearers (“Vielleicht sind auch noch andere Beischriften vorhanden,” 1910, p. 16). Photographic documentation has not favoured study of the right side of the top register of the tomb of Darius I; the campaign of the Oriental Institute at Naqsh-e Rostam produced no clear image of it. Photographs taken by Grunewald on behalf of the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut in 1975 and 1976, show almost no trace of the inscription but do indicate dirt deposits and lichens in the area of DNf (Figs. 7-10). It appears that the inscription only became visible as the Parse-Pasargadae Research Foundation started cleaning the surface of the royal tomb in 2001 (Figs. 11-12), but the cleaning staff did not report the new inscription, perhaps because they assumed that it was already known.

    Too bad those verbs are all so dubious and hard to interpret.

  11. David Marjanović says

    The paper is here (thanks, Ryan); I haven’t read it yet.


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