January 7, 2007

The Persepolis Fortification Archive Project

I ran across a site that should be of interest to anyone who studies the Persian Period. But then, those who study the Persian Period may already know about it. The site is called The Persepolis Fortification Archive Project. The subhead says, "This site provides information on the Persepolis Fortification Archive project based at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago."

The site offers a very good summary of the history of the discovery and continuing study of literally thousands of tablets and other texts from the middle of the reign of Darius I, 509–494 B.C. Here is part of that summary.

The tablets were unearthed in 1933 near a bastion of the fortification wall that surrounded the great platform and the hillside above it. The findspot gave its name to the Persepolis Fortification tablets. There were as many as 15,000 to 30,000 or more tablets and fragments. Most (thousands of tablets and tens of thousands of fragments) were in the Elamite language in cuneiform script. A few (hundreds of tablets and hundreds of fragments) were in the Aramaic language and script. Most inscribed tablets had impressions of seals, and thousands of other similarly shaped pieces had only seal impressions, with no text at all. There were single tablets in the Akkadian language in cuneiform script, in Greek language and script, and in an Anatolian script perhaps representing the Phrygian language. It took years to determine that the whole group came from the middle of the reign of Darius I, 509–494 B.C.

The site also offers a wealth of pictures, papers and other details.

To whet your appetite, the text below is from a calendar seal impression that was found on some 43 tablets (CAT # 22, PFS 16). In Aramaic, it reads as follows:

Aramaic Seal of Parnaka





"Seal of Parnaka, son of Arsham."

Parnaka is the uncle of Darius. The seal also has a hero holding the throats of two loins.

There is a wealth of material in on this site and it will only grow.


Posted by Duane Smith at January 7, 2007 7:52 PM | Read more on Archaeology |

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Thanks for linking to The Persepolis Fortification Archive Project blog.

Posted by: Chuck Jones at January 10, 2007 2:37 AM

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