The Iranian Highlands:

Resiliences and Integration in Pre-modern Societies

A cooperation among the DFG, RICHT/ICAR and MCTH
Funded in the framework of the DFG-SPP 2176

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A new Elamite archive from Goshtaspi: Agricultural administration in the late Middle-Elamite kingdom (around 1100 BCE)

Applicant: Professor Dr. Walther Sallaberger
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Institut für Assyriologie und Hethitologie
Subject Area: Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies
Term: since 2019
Project identifier: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) - Projekt number 424129577

Project Description

In 2009, cuneiform clay tablets were discovered near the ruins of Goshtaspi in Kohgiluye va Boyer-Ahmad province, which are now in the possession of the Yasuj Museum. A first study shows that these are documents in the Elamite language. They include tables on cattle breeding, both sheep and oxen, as well as agriculture, and letters in the Elamite language. Due to the format of the documents the sealings, the vocabulary and above all the palaeography, the new texts can be considered contemporaneous to those from Tal-i Malyan, the Elamite capital Anšan (dated around 1100 BC), which were edited by M. Stolper. The pottery discovered on the site support this dating. The new documents from Goshtaspi form a unique new discovery that decisively expands our knowledge of the empire of Elam: 1) For the first time Middle Elamite texts do not stem from one of the great royal centres, but from the highlands, more exactly, from the important passage of the Iranian Gate. 2) Unlike the texts from Tchoga Zambil, Susa or Haft Tepe, the Goshtaspi texts deal with subsistence farming, especially the management of livestock and grain. 3) Through the presence of letters - the only evidence of Elamite letters to date already in the 2nd millennium - and there the mention of Haltamti "Elam" and Anzan "Anšan" it becomes immediately clear that the local administration in Manlari, as the place is called in the texts, was connected with the centre of the Central Elamite Empire. A careful edition of this find thus provides essential insights into the hitherto unknown institutional networks in the Middle Elamite period, into the administration of agrigulture within state organisations, and into the dissemination of writing and the practice of written documentation. Historically this period deserves special attention, because after the close entanglement of the Elamite with the Babylonian history up to the middle of the 12th century a new orientation towards Elam and the Iranian highlands took place. At the same time, the foundations are laid here for the New Elamite administration, which ultimately merges into the Achaemenid administration. The evaluation of the documents is to take place in exchange with the archaeological findings on the relevant networks and on settlement geography as well as on cattle breeding and agriculture.