A number of folks have sent me this one from CHN (thanks!):

Studies on three pieces of hide discovered in Uraman of Kurdistan in 1909 revealed them as documents of several sales of one piece of land during one century at the Parthian times with an inflation rate of less than one percent.

The hides were accidentally discovered by a shepherd working in Uraman area in a cave in 1909. They were translated and published by an Englishman in 1915, and rights now are kept in the British Museum, London.

The first two documents are written in Greek and the third in Arami which has been the official handwriting of secretaries of the Achaemenid and Parthian times.

The documents are of the sale of a vineyard in 88 BC, in 21 or 22 BC, and in 11 AD. The land is sold for 30 silver Dirhams the first time and the next two following times, and 55 silver Derhams for the last time.

Head of the Archaeology Research Center of the ICHTO, Masoud Azarnoush, who have studied the inscriptions, sees the discovery of these documents as a unique event that is of great value for history, economy, and for Iranian archaeology.

If silver Dirhams are considered to have a stable value throughout the years, the prices reveal that the inflation rate during the Parthian times has been less than one percent.

According to Azarnoush, the documents date back to the time that Iran was gaining great victories over its neighbors especially the Romans. “We can say that at the time that Iran had a strong military and political situation, its economic conditions were somehow stable too,” said Azarnoush.

An interesting point mentioned in the documents, as Azarnoush explains, is the guarantee by the buyer to cultivate the land. In case the land is left barren, the buyer must pay a large sum of fine, 200 Dirhams which is four times the price of the land, to the government. Meanwhile, the seller also guaranteed to help the buyer out in cultivating the land, so that if the buyer was sick or for some other reason unable to continue production, the seller who was accounted responsible for the matter.

The punishment considered by the Parthians for lack of economic productions, Azarnoush believes, is another reason for improvement of production and boosting economy at the time.