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8 January 2005
5000-year-old commercial seal discovered in Iran

The oldest known commercial seal, estimated to be about 5000 years old, was recently discovered at the historical site of Jiroft in southeastern Iran. The director of the archaeological team working at the site, Yusef Majidzadeh, said that the seal, which bears the image of a goat with its head leaning back, was discovered near the governmental structure of the site during the third stage of excavations. "The 2x2cm marble seal was skillfully made, indicating that the region was a developed economic center 5000 years ago," he added.
     Over 20 Iranian and foreign archaeologists from France and the USA are currently working at the site. "During the previous excavation seasons, archaeologists found around 25 seals dating back to about 2300 BCE," Majidzadeh said.
     Recent studies on seals unearthed at the ancient site of Jiroft clearly indicate that the area was once the most important economic center of the Iranian plateau and its residents had extensive trade ties with people living in other parts of the country. The inhabitants of ancient Jiroft packaged goods inside earthenware vessels and/or jugs and then covered the lid with mud and affixed the special seals, according to Iranian archaeologists.
     Jiroft came into the spotlight nearly three years ago when reports of extensive illegal excavations and plundering of the priceless historical items of the area by local people surfaced. Since 2002, two excavation seasons have been carried out at the Jiroft site under the supervision of Majidzadeh, leading to the discovery of a ziggurat made of more than four million mud bricks dating back to about 2300 BCE.

Source: Mehrnews.com (7 January 2005)

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