Bisotun Archaeological Site | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Bisotun Archaeological Site

chm chmal, Kermanshah Province, Iran

About Bisotun Archaeological Site

The Bisotun Archaeological Site near the modern city of Kermanshah, Iran, is known for containing one of the most important artefacts to have survived from the Persian Empire – the Behistun Inscription.

Carved directly into high rocks, the Behistun Inscription recounts the life and victories of Darius the Great in three different languages – Elamite, Babylonian and Old Persian. Though hard to date exactly, it would have been produced around 520 BC and recounts the campaign waged by Darius to secure his supremacy over usurpers to the throne.

In the mid-nineteenth century a British officer, Sir Henry Rawlinson, was able to copy and translate the inscription and this work was influencial in the future study of these languages, prompting many to liken the Behistun Inscription to the Rosetta Stone.

As well as the inscription, the archaeological site also contains remains from the Median, Achaemenid and post-Achaemenid periods, including a statue of Heracles and a number of other rock-carved reliefs.

The Bisotun Archaeological Site is UNESCO-listed.