Iranian elamitologist honored by UNESCO

TEHRAN – On Friday, the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO held a ceremony at the National Museum of Iran in downtown Tehran to commemorate veteran researcher and elamitologist Abdolmajid Arfaei.

Titled “Faces to the Sun,” the event was held to honor Arfaei for his lifetime achievement in translating ancient languages, ISNA reported on Saturday.

The ceremony was attended by a number of cultural officials, including Director of the Iranian National Commission for UNESCO Hojjatollah Ayyubi, Director of the National Museum Jebrael Nokandeh, Shahnameh scholar and expert Mir Jalaleddin Kazzazi and linguist Jaleh Amusegar.

After reading important words from cuneiform, Arfaei told part of Iranian history, Ayyubi said in his speech at the event.

Thanks to it, we know more about our past and are better educated about it because it gives us a deeper understanding of our history, he added.

For his part, Nokandeh said that Arfaei played an important role in organizing the National Museum’s inscriptions and curating over 5,000 works.

Additionally, he helped read and translate the clay tablets of the Achaemenid era, which had been on loan to the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago from Iran since 1935, and played a key in the return of more than 2,000 of them to Iran, he explained.

A graduate of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, Arfaei is an expert in the Avestan, Pahlavi and Elamite languages.

Born in 1939 in Bandar Abbas, southern Iran, Arfaei studied Persian literature at Dar-ul-Fonun, a graduate school established by the Qajar king’s chancellor Nasser ad-Din Shah, Mirza Taqi Farahani (Amir Kabir ).

Subsequently, he left Iran for the United States to resume his studies and obtained a doctorate. from the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago in 1974.

His doctoral thesis on the subject of the geography of Fars was based on clay inscriptions discovered at Persepolis.

Founder of the Hall of Inscriptions at the National Museum of Iran, Arfaei is the author of “The Decree of Cyrus the Great”, a book giving a unique elucidation of Cyrus the Great Cylinder, which is inscribed with what is considered to be the first charter of human rights.

He also participated in the deciphering of Mesopotamian legal inscriptions.


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