Archaeologists have made a significant discovery in the town of Garan, located in the Dehloran plain, Ilam province, southwest Iran. They found inscriptions on bricks in Akkadian script, which likely were part of an ancient irrigation system in the area.

These objects were found by Dr. Mohsen Zeinivand and his team, who have been excavating the archaeological site of Garan for several years. According to Dr. Zeinivand, Garan is situated just 3 kilometers east of the Dovir River and 2.8 kilometers northwest of Musian Hill, in the middle of the extensive Dehloran plain.

The site covers about 17 hectares and is formed by a prominent conical mound in the south, surrounded by several small hills of irregular shape.

The objects found stand out for their antiquity and historical value. The inscription on one of the bricks features some words in Akkadian script such as “lugal” (ruler), “dume” (son), and “bilitu” (lord), although much of the text is deteriorated.

Another brick has grooves representing different elements such as a river, a mountain, a dam, and irrigation channels, similar to the geographical plans made in Mesopotamia in the second and first millennium BCE.

According to Dr. Zeinivand’s analysis, these findings demonstrate that during the Elamite period, there was a major irrigation project in Garan, whose plan would have been outlined on one of the bricks found, following the construction and planning techniques typical of Mesopotamia.

The presence of uncovered channels at the site confirms that the system allowed water from the Dovir River to be transported to the farmlands of the nearby populations of Garan and Musian.

Garan’s strategic location, on the border between Elam and Iraq and on the important route between Susa and Assyria, undoubtedly maximized its relevance as an agricultural and political center during the second millennium BCE.

Its water provisions and the fertility of its lands made it a coveted target for controlling the natural resources of the area.

Therefore, Dr. Zeinivand concludes that these new findings confirm the pivotal role that Garan played as a major political-economic center in ancient western Iran under Elamite rule.


Tehran Times | Zeynivand M, Sharifi F., A Mesopotamian Tradition? An Ancient Map Related To The Irrigation System Of The Old Elamite Period From Tappeh Gārān, Deh Luran Plain, Iran. Iraq. 2023:1-12. doi:10.1017/irq.2023.1

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