Newly Found Inscribed Elamite Bricks of Untaš-Napiriša in the Čahār Fasl Museum of Arak

CDLB 2021:3

Cuneiform Digital Library Bulletin (ISSN: 1540-8760)

Published on 2022-01-26

© The Authors

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License except when noted otherwise and in the case of artifact images which follow the CDLI terms of use.

Sina Abaslou

University of Iranshahr

Amir Zamani ORCID logo

Leiden University


§1. Introduction

§1.1. This paper investigates two inscribed bricks from the reign of the Middle Elamite king Untaš-Napiriša (ca. 1275-1240 BC). The bricks are in storage in Arak “Čahār Fasl” Museum. Both bricks are inscribed in Middle Elamite cuneiform.

§1.2. A comprehensive analysis of the texts and comparison with similar bricks makes it clear that they belong to Untaš-Napiriša. These two incomplete and broken pieces are exact parallels to other bricks by Untaš-Napiriša from Čoġā Zanbīl.

§1.3. These brick inscriptions, which are inscribed in Middle Elamite and presented here for the first time, were confiscated from antiquities dealers during a routine periodic motor vehicle inspection in Tureh, Markazi Province, Iran, in 2015.[1]

§1.4. By comparison with other, identical inscriptions, the key-topics of the texts are as follows: introduction of Untaš-Napiriša, wishes for the continuity of his prosperity, and mentioning of the building of a temple with baked and glazed bricks, and its dedication to Inšušinak.

§1.5. Untaš-Napiriša (meaning “Napiriša protects/protected me”) is the first Elamite king to have left a large corpus of inscriptions in Elamite. From Čoġā Zanbīl alone 53 discrete brick inscriptions are known (Henkelman 2014: 337, 339).

§1.6. In these texts, Untaš-Napiriša dedicates the temple to Inšušinak of Siyan-kuk which was a prominent deity during Middle Elamite period, but completely ignored by the Achaemenids (Henkelman 2017: 281). The name Inšušinak has been recorded in two spelling forms: ANin-šu-uš-na-ak and ANin-šu-ši-na-ak (Hinz and Koch, 1987: 760)

§2. Arak “Čahār Fasl” Museum 01 (Plate 1)

Artifact type: Elamite brick
Language: Middle Elamite
Measurements: 9.8 × 7.3
Discovered in: Tureh
Stored in: Arak, Markazi Province (Čahār Fasl)
Date: Middle Elamite

§2.1. Transliteration and translation

1. [az]-ki-it [...] a thing...
2. si-ia-an u2-pa-at [...] temple with bricks...
3. ANin-šu-uš-na-ak si-[ia-an ku-uk-ra ...] to Inšušinak of siyan-kuk...
4. [ki]-ik-ki-te-eḫ ḫu-ut-[tak ...] I raised, the built...

§3. Arak “Čahār Fasl” Museum 02 (Plate 2)

Artifact type: Elamite brick
Language: Middle Elamite
Measurements: 5.4 × 13.4
Discovered in: Tureh
Stored in: Arak, Markazi Province (Čahār Fasl)
Date: Middle Elamite

§3.1. Transliteration and translation


1. [... su]-un-ki-ik an-[az-an ...] the king of Anzan
2. [... si]-it-me u2-me [...] my happiness
3. [...] ḫi-en-ka in-[...] for this reason
4. [...]-um ub!-qu-mi-[a! ...] glazed bricks
5. [... du]-ni-iḫ u2 zag-ra-[tu4-me] I gave the temple...
6. [... ANin-šu]-uš-na-ak ul!-[...] Inšušinak

§4. Commentary

§4.1. Untaš-Napiriša was the king of Elam during the Middle Elamite period and his prominent temple still stands on the plateau above the banks of Diz river about 25 miles southeast of Susa (Potts 1999: 222). He ascended to the throne after Humban-numena, who is mentioned as his father in an inscription of king šhilhak-Inšušinak (Potts 1999: 205).

§4.2. The two texts are similar to MDP 41 (Steve, 1967: 7-12), EKI 12 (König, 1965: 60-63) and IRS 28 (Malbran-Labat, 1995: 71-72). Unfortunately, the two bricks published here are broken and damaged.

§4.3. Although the police reported that the antique dealers in whose possession the bricks were found had claimed to have unearthed these two pieces in the same place, it is unlikely that they are pieces of one single brick inscription from Untaš-Napiriša. Rather, they appear to be fragments of two different bricks with identical inscriptions. The depth of the cuneiform signs on the two pieces are not comparable, and they are deeper on the second piece. Furthermore, the writing form of two signs, na and DINGIR (for the determinative AN), are non-identical on the two bricks.

For az-ki-it in line 1 see now Daneshmand 2015 §

In line 4, the sign here interpreted as up/ub is written in an unusual way (), not attested in any other Elamite text. Based on the context it is here thought to be a variant of ub ( ) (Steve, 1992: 90).


  • Daneshmand, Parsa and Meysam Abdoli, 2015, ”A New King of Susa and Anshan”. CDLB 2015:1.
  • Henkelman, Wouter, 2014, ”Untaš-Napiriša”. Reallexikon der Assyriologie 14.3/4, pp. 339-341.
  • Henkelman, Wouter, 2017, ”Humban and Auramazdā: royal gods in a Persian landscape”. In: Persian Religion in the Achaemenid Period - La religion perse à l’époque achéménide. Ed. by Wouter Henkelman and Céline Redard. Classica et Orientalia 16.Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, pp. 273-346.
  • Hinz, Walther and Koch, Heidemarie, 1987, Elamisches Wörterbuch (EIW), Archaelogische Mitteilungen aus Iran suppl. 17. Berlin, Reimer.
  • König, Friedrich W, 1965, Die elamischen Königsinschriften”. , AfO. Beih. 16. Graz: E. Weidner.
  • Malbran-Labat, Florence, 1995, Les inscriptions royales de Suse: briques de l’époque paléo élamite à l’empire néo-élamite. Paris: Réunion des musées nationaux.
  • Potts, Daniel, 1999, ” Archaeology of Elam: Formation and Transformation of Ancient Iranian State. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Steve, Marie-Joseph, 1967, Tchoga Zanbil (Dur-Untash) 3. Textes élamites et accadiens de Tchoga Zanbil. MDAI 41. Paris: Geuthner.
  • Steve, Marie-Joseph, 1992, Syllabaire élamite: Histoire et paleographie”. Paris: Neuchâtel


  1. Tureh is a city and capital of Zalian District, in Shazand County, Markazi Province, Iran.



Plate 1


Drawing of Arak “Čahār Fasl” Museum 01

Arak “Čahār Fasl” Museum 01

Plate 2

Drawing of Arak “Čahār Fasl” Museum 02

Arak “Čahār Fasl” Museum 02

Version 1.0

Cite this Article
Abaslou, Sina, and Amir Zamani. 2021. “Newly Found Inscribed Elamite Bricks of Untaš-Napiriša in the Čahār Fasl Museum of Arak.” Cuneiform Digital Library Bulletin 2021 (3).
Abaslou, S., & Zamani, A. (2021). Newly Found Inscribed Elamite Bricks of Untaš-Napiriša in the Čahār Fasl Museum of Arak. Cuneiform Digital Library Bulletin, 2021(3).
Abaslou, S. and Zamani, A. (2021) “Newly Found Inscribed Elamite Bricks of Untaš-Napiriša in the Čahār Fasl Museum of Arak,” Cuneiform Digital Library Bulletin, 2021(3). Available at: (Accessed: April 23, 2024).
	note = {[Online; accessed 2024-04-23]},
	address = {Oxford; Berlin; Los Angeles},
	author = {Abaslou, Sina and Zamani, Amir},
	journal = {Cuneiform Digital Library Bulletin},
	issn = {1540-8760},
	number = {3},
	year = {2021},
	publisher = {Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative},
	title = {Newly {Found} {Inscribed} {Elamite} {Bricks} of {Unta}{\v s}-{Napiri}{\v s}a in the {\v {C}}ah{\= a}r {Fasl} {Museum} of {Arak}},
	url = {},
	volume = {2021},

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