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18 November 2004
Evidence of Mesopatamia-like civilisation found in Iran

Shellfish found in Jiroft, southern Iran, may indicate the existence of an ancient civilisation as great as that of Sumeria or Mesopotamia.
    Despite being 180km from the sea, ancient Jiroft's inhabitants often ate shellfish. Paleozoologist Marjan Shakur - currently teaching at the Sorbonne in Paris, France - said "The remains of over 70 different types of shells were discovered and identified during the recent excavations at the historical site of Jiroft," he said. At least seven types of the discovered shells were edible, showing that Jiroft residents were in the habit of eating shellfish 5,000 years ago and they were used for decoration as well."
    He continued "The review and analysis of the shells conducted by the Museum of Natural Science in France and their comparison with modern Persian Gulf species show that some of the discovered shells are no longer found in the region, proving that they are extinct."  Since 2002, two excavation seasons have been carried out at the Jiroft site leading to the discovery of a ziggurat, or terraced pyramid, made of more than four million mud bricks dating back to about 2300 BC."
    Jiroft, in the Kerman province, is one of the richest historical areas in the world with over 100 sites situated along the 400km river bank of the Halil Rood, with ruins and artefacts dating back to the third millenium BCE.
    Local people carrying out extensive illegal excavation searching for treasures to loot brought the area into the spotlight 3 years ago.

Source: Indo-Asian News Service (16 November 2004)

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