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More from Majidzadeh on Jiroft

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  • Steve Farmer
    Dear List, Here are the newest Jiroft claims from Yousef Majidzadeh about what he is now calling the geometric or Jiroft script . No pictures are shown of
    Message 1 of 7 , Mar 8, 2007
      Dear List,

      Here are the newest Jiroft claims from Yousef Majidzadeh about what
      he is now calling the "geometric" or "Jiroft script". No pictures are
      shown of the claimed ancient inscriptions, as usual.

      I don't know what to make of his claims that "based on carbon tests"
      conducted at the University of Pennsylvania "they date back to 2500
      BCE." Can anyone on the List from Penn shed light on this? :^)

      Just for the record: you CAN'T carbon date a clay or stone tablet,
      and you can't date *anything* using the method with that kind of
      precision.

      In the past Majidzadeh has claimed that they were identified as
      linear Elamite by people who at the time hadn't even seen photos
      of them. The last line about them being "similar to scripts which
      were once prevalent in Ilam for a period of 20 years" (!!)
      apparently means he is again trying to relate them to linear
      Elamite.

      Not much more can be said until the photos are made public, if that
      ever happens. (So far only one very low-res photo of the first of the
      four, which is quite anomalous, has been shown publicly.) The full
      reasons why he is calling them "controversial" and "geometric" will
      be ludicrously obvious when someone finally does get the
      nerve to post them.

      This is getting crazier and crazier, and whistles and alarm bells
      should be going off all over the place. Instead, public silence,
      but a flurry of private discussions.

      Enough is enough, maybe?

      Comments on Majidzadeh's newest?

      Steve

      ************
      http://tinyurl.com/38375u

      Jiroft Inscription the Most Controversial Discovery in the Region:
      Majidzadeh

      LONDON, (CAIS) -- Director of the excavation team in Jiroft
      historical site said that the traces of primitive scripts are the
      most controversial findings in the region since it invalidates claims
      by foreign archaeologists that until the Achaemenid era, the writing
      was unknown to Iranian peoples.

      According to Persian service of ISNA, Professor Yousef Majidzadeh,
      who was speaking in a meeting titled ’Latest Jiroft Excavation’ added
      that currently explorations are being conducted in Matoutabad,
      Hosseinabad and Konar Sandal. The main section of the studies focuses
      on Konar Sandal, he noted.

      Most of the objects discovered, particularly the earthenware found in
      cemeteries, are mythological oriented since they pertain to life
      after death, he said, adding that the origin of the belief is not yet
      clear.

      He stated, “Jiroft culture is self-existent and cannot be compared to
      that of Mesopotamia to conclude that such beliefs were not indigenous.“

      Probably the Achaemenid art has its root in Jiroft because common
      elements have been found in the two, Majidzadeh said.

      Referring to the four inscriptions found in the region, he said that
      based on carbon tests conducted in Pennsylvania University, they date
      back to 2500 BCE.

      The script used in writing them is totally different from the
      Mesopotamian script or even the Egyptian Hieroglyph, he said.

      “We have called the script geometric or Jiroft script, which is
      similar to scripts which were once prevalent in Ilam for a period of
      20 years,“ he concluded.
    • cpthornto@aol.com
      Hi Steve, As I ve written to this list before, Holly Pittman and I collected C14 samples during the 2005 season and we had them done at Arizona. The C14
      Message 2 of 7 , Mar 9, 2007
        Hi Steve,

        As I've written to this list before, Holly Pittman and I collected C14 samples during the 2005 season and we had them done at Arizona. The C14 samples were taken from the sequence of layers lying *underneath* the mudbrick massif (the 'ziggurat'), while the top of the massif has only been dated in relative terms (ie, we found incised grey ware up there, which is a type only found at the very end of the 3rd mill BCE). The layer that was flattened in order to build the massif (which is essential the modern surface level) is dated c. 2300 BCE. The layer that lies about 1m below that level begins as early as 27/2600 BCE. The first brick was found on the slopes of the massif -- supposedly in situ on the 'ramp' leading up to the top (i've never been convinced of this ramp/entrance, so perhaps it simply fell down from the top). This would date it somewhere between 2300-2000 BCE. The 'tablets' found in the past year supposedly come from the hole that was dug near the road to put in a new "no trespassing" sign. The hole starts at modern surface level and continues down as much as a meter. My guess is that since Madjidzadeh doesnt really know where in the hole those 'tablets' came from, he's simply averaging between 27/2600 and 2300 BCE.

        I recently had the opportunity to go back to Iran for the first time since 2005 (I presented at a conference on Tepe Hissar) and it was a wonderful trip. The conference was excellent and the state of Iranian archaeology was much improved. The new head of archaeology in the country is Dr. Hassan Fazeli, a graduate of Bradford University (Robin Coningham's) and a wonderful human being who, for his PhD, returned to some of the more famous Neolithic/Chalcolithic sites in north-central Iran and obtained C14 samples by making small cuts of the sections. His work (well published in Persian and English) has completely redefined the chronology of the region, and now as head of archaeology, he managed to get 1M rial (~$100k) from the Ministry of Culture specifically for C14 dating (at Oxford), arguing that without radiocarbon dates, the archaeology of Iran will never be taken seriously. Now, everybody and his brother are getting C14 dates for their site(s), and the emphasis is on stratigraphy and context.

        Of more interest to this list, one of the purposes of the Hissar conference was to make public much of the new excavations that were done at the site over the past 5-10 years. You may remember I once sent a drawing of a tablet with cuneiform script that was supposedly found at Hissar. It turns out that this was only one of about 10 found during salvage excavations at the site (they put another train track running through the site... dont ask) that were found together with a number of unusual stamp sealings. I've only just returned (yesterday) from Oman (excavating the 3rd mill site of Bat), so I'm not quite ready to retrieve the pics I took and make a scan of the tablets/sealings, but i promise to do this and send it out to this list as soon as possible. The Iranians claim that the tablets are Old Babylonian, although I'm not sure they actually have anyone who can appropriately make that diagnosis. I'm hoping that Steve Tinney here at Penn will be able to identify them. Whatever they are, they're definitely cuneiform (albeit only a few signs per tablet -- not a 'text' per se) and they're found far to the northeast at a 4th-early 2nd mill BCE site.

        Apologies for 'dangling the carrot', but I promise to send pics/scans as soon as I get myself organized...

        Best to all,
        Chris Thornton
        U.Penn.
        ________________________________________________________________________
        AOL now offers free email to everyone. Find out more about what's free from AOL at AOL.com.


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Steve Farmer
        Thanks much, Chris. ... Actually, that was the story told about the first of the multiple- lined tablets, which supposedly was found at the end of the season
        Message 3 of 7 , Mar 9, 2007
          Thanks much, Chris.

          > The 'tablets' found in the past year supposedly come from the hole
          > that was dug near the road to put in a new "no trespassing" sign.
          > The hole starts at modern surface level and continues down as much
          > as a meter. My guess is that since Madjidzadeh doesnt really know
          > where in the hole those 'tablets' came from, he's simply averaging
          > between 27/2600 and 2300 BCE.

          Actually, that was the story told about the first of the multiple-
          lined tablets, which supposedly was found at the end of the season
          when digging that sign. That was the really odd one released in a
          tiny 72-dpi picture, which was analyzed on the List when it was first
          published. It is a very suspicious piece, given the symbol count, and
          no one I've talked to thinks it contains ancient "writing," whatever
          its source.

          The most recent two inscriptions were supposedly found "in the
          house yard of a local farmer." Those two are far more suspicious in
          appearance. The original claim was that they were verified as linear
          Elamite by people who we later found hadn't even seen them.

          Here was my post from Dec. 13th on that. The reactions of List
          members, including epigraphists and Iranologists, can be found
          in links at the bottom:

          http://tinyurl.com/yvwgua

          Photos of those have now been floating around, although they haven't
          been publicly released. Wherever these came from, they certainly don't
          contain ancient "writing", which is presumably why not even
          72-dpi photos of them have been shown publicly.

          > Apologies for 'dangling the carrot', but I promise to send pics/
          > scans as soon as I get myself organized...

          Are you talking about pics of the clay pieces from Hissar with a
          little cuneiform, or the Jiroft pieces too? The latter are
          what all the claims are about. It is really awful that these public
          claims are made about history supposedly being turned on its head
          are being made and not even one photo has been released of the
          claimed evidence. That's really unheard of.

          Cheers,
          Steve
        • Victor H. Mair
          Dear Colleagues, We have often discussed Chinese tomb texts on this List. Usually it is in the context of the formation of early texts, and secondarily
          Message 4 of 7 , Mar 15, 2007
            Dear Colleagues,

            We have often discussed Chinese tomb texts on this List. Usually it is
            in the context of the formation of early texts, and secondarily
            concerning the structure of elements of the script. I have long felt
            that eventually an even more important contribution archeologically
            recovered texts will make is in the recovery of evidence for Sino-xenic
            contacts in antiquity.

            This note is meant especially for Wolfgang and Vaclav, both of whom have
            written about the foreign origin of the Sinitic words for "lion." We
            now appear to have evidence that the Greek word for "lion" may have
            gotten into Sinitic by around the turn of the late 4th c. BC and early
            3rd c. BC.

            Here follows the English abstract of an article on this subject that
            just came out. The citation is:

            XU Quancheng, "Zouwu, suanni, yu XY -- qian tan Shang Bo Chu jian 'San
            de' pian de zhongyao faxian (ZOUWU, SUANNI, and __*liwat-ngie__: A Note
            on a Recent Discovery in the Shanghai Museum's Chu Bamboo Strips),
            __Jiuzhou xuelin (Chinese Culture Quarterly), 4.4 (Winter, 2006), 196-204.

            XY are for two rare characters whose pronunciation in Mandarin I'm not
            able to determine definitely here in my office; perhaps LUENI. I've
            also simplified the Old Sinitic reconstructions (marked with an
            asterisk) for typographical convenience, and made a few other minor
            modifications.

            The English title and the abstract are both supplied by the editors of
            the journal.

            ===

            Several foreign words for "lion" made their way into old Chinese,
            including __zouwu/yu/ya__ (*tshio-nga/ngiwa/ngea), __zun-er__
            (*tsuen-ie), and __suanni__ (*suan-ngie). All of these words are
            related to the word for "lion" in the original Saka (VHM: Khotanese)
            language: *sargAva. A new term for "lion" in old Chinese, XY
            (*liwat-ngie), was discovered on the eighteenth strip of the Chu bamboo
            strip version of __San de__ (The three virtues) in the collection of the
            Shanghai Museum. This loan word comes from Greek __leones__. Since
            Greek culture had spread to Central Asia by the fourth century BC, this
            is quite plausible. The term may represent a unique case of the Chinese
            adoption of an ancient Greek word.

            ===

            Anyway, the next time you see a Chinese lion dance, think "Western Regions"!

            If anyone is interested in reading the whole article in Chinese, please
            contact me and I will send you a pdf from scans.

            Ciao,

            Victor
          • wb (in bochum today)
            Dear Victor, many thanks for alerting me to this and yes, I certainly would like to have PDF scans of the article. I don t know if this is the same article or
            Message 5 of 7 , Mar 16, 2007
              Dear Victor,

              many thanks for alerting me to this and yes, I certainly would like to have
              PDF scans of the article.

              I don't know if this is the same article or at least by the same Xu-author,
              but the identification of the two Sande-charaters you allude to have been
              discussed early last year in an article available through the "bamboosilk"
              network

              http://www.bsm.org.cn/show_article.php?id=260,

              The characters were initially transcribed by Li Ling, who wrote about the lion
              in a different context, which might be of interest to some of you as well:

              http://www.cityu.edu.hk/ccs/Newsletter/newsletter4/Lion/Lion.htm

              My reaction to the Xu paper on Bruce's Warring States list back then (March 6,
              2006) was as follows, and I still do not see how this character would prove
              any remote Greek-Chu connections in the 3rd c. b.c.

              Best,
              W

              ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Dear Yuri & all,

              Sir Harold's derivation from Khotanese (Saka) *sar-g-aava  "pouncer" (and Lin
              Meicun's acceptance of it) is a clear case of what Indo-Europeanists
              sometimes jokingly call 'Teeter's law': "Whatever language one knows best,
              turns out to be the most archaic". As usual, Bailey's etymology has many more
              loose ends than just those imagined by Xu Wuluo. The distribution of lion
              words, and the fact that there is no regularly reconstructable root for
              "lion" within IE, not even within the Tocharian or Iranian branches, strongly
              suggests that the word for "lion" reflected by suan1ni2 is a loan into IE
              _and_ OC as well as into several Tibeto-Burman languages, from an unknown
              substrate language. For details see my paper "Hi(n)c sunt leones -- two
              ancient Eurasian migratory terms in Chinese revisited (1-2)", in:
              International Journal of Central Asian Studies [Seoul] 9/10 (2004-5). (I'll
              be happy to send out PDF copies to interested parties). For the Near Eastern
              end of the story cf. V. Blazhek, with almost the same title, in one of the
              more recent issues of the Journal of Indo-European Studies.

              Assuming that Li Ling's identification of the previously unknown San1de2
              characters is correct (but why would the rex animalium be written with a RAT
              determiner?) for the moment, we note that items within the l"ue 寽 phonetic
              series usually go back to an OC root *-(r)rot- or *-(r)rut-. The disyllabic
              compound would thus have to be set up as sth. like *-(r)r[o,u]t.ngnge-, which
              is certainly impossible to reconcile with either Greek l'eoon, -ontos, or the
              migratory term echoed by suan1ni2 (< OC *ssor=ngnge) and its possible
              congeners, mentioned in Xu's online article (incidentally, all of them
              collected before, in a one-page paper by Boodberg in 1936!). Notice also that
              the Greek word l'eoon, despite its wide later success as a borrowing into
              Latin, Old Irish, Balto-Slavic etc., which has tended to eclipse its earlier
              history, is a loanword itself, the usual underlying suspects variously
              assumed to be of Hebrew, Akkadian, Egyptian or Kartvelian provenance since
              the mid 19th c. See on this Gamkrelidze-Ivanov 1984, II: 507-8, Beekes' gloss
              in the New Pokorny available online (http://www.indo-european.nl/), and the
              book-length treatment in Frank Kammerzell's fine study _Panther, L"owe und
              Sprachentwicklung im Neolithikum_ [Lingua Aegyptia, STudia; 1], Göttingen
              1994.

              I am no art historian or archaeologist, but from what I have read several
              years ago, it seems true that the motif of the lion and the winged gryphin
              with a lion's head, is remarkably widespread across the Near East and Inner
              Asia. There is little reason to doubt that the tianlu, bixie and other
              chimerical creatures with a mane, mentioned by Li Ling, are a distant Chinese
              echo of this motif during the Han, possibly transferred by Iranian speaking
              intermediaries. So far I can not see, however, that this transfer has
              anything to do whatsoever with the creature mentioned in the Shang-Bo text.
              Pace Guo Pu's gloss ("shizi ye"), not even the suanni is accepted to refer to
              the "lion" by all scholars, hekuang the elusive l"ueni?!

              Cheers,
              W



              ps: on the geographical distribution of the actual Asian lion see the
              excellent website of the Asiatic Lion Information Centre
              (www.asiatic-lion.org).
              ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------




              On Thursday 15 March 2007 18:39, Victor H. Mair scripsit:
              | Dear Colleagues,
              |
              | We have often discussed Chinese tomb texts on this List. Usually it is
              | in the context of the formation of early texts, and secondarily
              | concerning the structure of elements of the script. I have long felt
              | that eventually an even more important contribution archeologically
              | recovered texts will make is in the recovery of evidence for Sino-xenic
              | contacts in antiquity.
              |
              | This note is meant especially for Wolfgang and Vaclav, both of whom have
              | written about the foreign origin of the Sinitic words for "lion." We
              | now appear to have evidence that the Greek word for "lion" may have
              | gotten into Sinitic by around the turn of the late 4th c. BC and early
              | 3rd c. BC.
              |
              | Here follows the English abstract of an article on this subject that
              | just came out. The citation is:
              |
              | XU Quancheng, "Zouwu, suanni, yu XY -- qian tan Shang Bo Chu jian 'San
              | de' pian de zhongyao faxian (ZOUWU, SUANNI, and __*liwat-ngie__: A Note
              | on a Recent Discovery in the Shanghai Museum's Chu Bamboo Strips),
              | __Jiuzhou xuelin (Chinese Culture Quarterly), 4.4 (Winter, 2006), 196-204.
              |
              | XY are for two rare characters whose pronunciation in Mandarin I'm not
              | able to determine definitely here in my office; perhaps LUENI. I've
              | also simplified the Old Sinitic reconstructions (marked with an
              | asterisk) for typographical convenience, and made a few other minor
              | modifications.
              |
              | The English title and the abstract are both supplied by the editors of
              | the journal.
              |
              | ===
              |
              | Several foreign words for "lion" made their way into old Chinese,
              | including __zouwu/yu/ya__ (*tshio-nga/ngiwa/ngea), __zun-er__
              | (*tsuen-ie), and __suanni__ (*suan-ngie). All of these words are
              | related to the word for "lion" in the original Saka (VHM: Khotanese)
              | language: *sargAva. A new term for "lion" in old Chinese, XY
              | (*liwat-ngie), was discovered on the eighteenth strip of the Chu bamboo
              | strip version of __San de__ (The three virtues) in the collection of the
              | Shanghai Museum. This loan word comes from Greek __leones__. Since
              | Greek culture had spread to Central Asia by the fourth century BC, this
              | is quite plausible. The term may represent a unique case of the Chinese
              | adoption of an ancient Greek word.
              |
              | ===
              |
              | Anyway, the next time you see a Chinese lion dance, think "Western
              | Regions"!
              |
              | If anyone is interested in reading the whole article in Chinese, please
              | contact me and I will send you a pdf from scans.
              |
              | Ciao,
              |
              | Victor

              --
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
              Wolfgang Behr
              Kaiser Sigmund-Str. 3, D-60320 Frankfurt a.M., FRG
              Tel./Fax +49-69-561713, Mobile +49-171-7713754
              <w dot behr at em dot uni minus frankfurt dot de>
              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            • wb (in bochum today)
              Short addendum: Reasons for the suspicion alluded to in my last sentence one year ago ... have meanwhile been published here: Manfred Fruehauf (Sinicum,
              Message 6 of 7 , Mar 16, 2007
                Short addendum:

                Reasons for the suspicion alluded to in my last sentence one year ago

                | Pace Guo Pu's gloss ("shizi ye"), not even the suanni is accepted to
                | refer to the "lion" by all scholars


                have meanwhile been published here:

                Manfred Fruehauf (Sinicum, Bochum)

                "Vom Stichwort _suanni_ in der han-zeitlichen Synonymik Erya: Zur Frage der
                Existenz von Loewen im archaischen und antiken China", in: _Han-Zeit
                Festschrift fuer Hans Stumpfeldt aus Anlass seines 65. Geburtstages_,
                Emmerich, Reinhard; Ess, Hans van; Friedrich, Michael (eds.), Wiesbaden: O.
                Harrassowitz 2006.

                W
              • Victor H. Mair
                Dear Colleagues, If any of your tried unsuccessfully, as I did several times yesterday and today, to open the first URL in Wolfgang s post (see below), remove
                Message 7 of 7 , Mar 17, 2007
                  Dear Colleagues,

                  If any of your tried unsuccessfully, as I did several times yesterday
                  and today, to open the first URL in Wolfgang's post (see below), remove
                  the period at the end and it will work.

                  Best,

                  Victor


                  wb (in bochum today) wrote:
                  >
                  > Dear Victor,
                  >
                  > many thanks for alerting me to this and yes, I certainly would like to
                  > have
                  > PDF scans of the article.
                  >
                  > I don't know if this is the same article or at least by the same
                  > Xu-author,
                  > but the identification of the two Sande-charaters you allude to have been
                  > discussed early last year in an article available through the
                  > "bamboosilk"
                  > network
                  >
                  > http://www.bsm.org.cn/show_article.php?id=260,
                  > <http://www.bsm.org.cn/show_article.php?id=260,>
                  >
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