Head of the PFA Project at the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago
My remarks In Support of keeping Persepolis Fortification Tablets
Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen.
My name is Fredun Hojabri; I was Professor at Aryamehr University of Technology that is now called Sharif University of Technology. While I am a chemist, I have always been fascinated by history. Ancient Persian history holds a special place in the mind of many Iranians.
Since the year 2000 I have been involved in organizing the Iranian University Community. Before that, in 1990’s, I have helped in fundraising to build the House of Iran in San Diego. It is now a showcase of rich Persian heritage that shares Persian culture with other nations and millions of visitors who come every year to the beautiful Balboa Park of San Diego.
In front of the House of Iran there is a monument showing a replica of Cyrus Cylinder. Many people call this, that its original is displayed in the British Museum in London, the first Human Rights Declaration in History of mankind. In this declaration Cyrus the Great, the founder of Hakhamaneshian Kingdom, after taking Babylon and freeing the Jews from captivity, let them go home to rebuild their Temple. He orders the local rulers in his Empire to treat the People with respect and guarantee them the freedom of worship.
Just as scientists rely on solid scientific data, historians rely on data to tell the history of ancient people and cultures. Without data there is no history to write and without context, data cannot be understood in a meaningful and logical way.
Since so little written data from the Hakhamaneshian period has survived, the existence of Persepolis Fortification Archive is truly unique in helping the historians tell the story of ancient Persians in more realistic and understandable term.
I am one of many Iranians who are extremely concerned about the seizure of these precious records of ancient Persian history, and I am delighted to take this opportunity to voice publicly the concerns of the Iranian academic community. I ask not just all Iranians, no matter where they are, but everyone, and especially the Jewish community, to come together in support of preservation of ancient world cultures and keep Persepolis Fortification Archive whole and prevent the breakup of these ancient records for any purpose.
Persepolis Elamite tablets, administrative records in Elamite inscribed on clay tablets. Parts of two archives of such tablets were discovered in Persepolis in 1933-34 and 1936-38 by the archaeological expedition of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. They belonged to administrative records kept by agencies of the Achaemenid government during the reigns of Darius the Great, Xerxes and Artaxerxes I.