Tamam Shud case

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The Somerton Man
Police photo of the corpse, 1948
Bornc. 1905
Died(1948-12-01)1 December 1948
Resting placeWest Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide, South Australia
Gravesite: P3, 12, 106
Other namesUnknown Man (police terminology), Somerton Man
Known forMysterious death

The Tamam Shud case, also known as the Mystery of the Somerton Man, is an unsolved case of an unidentified man found dead at 6:30 am, 1 December 1948, on Somerton beach, Glenelg, just south of Adelaide, South Australia.[1]

It is named after the Persian phrase tamám shud, meaning "ended" or "finished", printed on a scrap of paper found months later in the fob pocket of the man's trousers.

The scrap had been torn from the final page of a copy of Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, authored by 12th-century poet Omar Khayyám. Tamam was misspelt as Taman in many early reports and this error.[note 1]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. While the words that end The Rubaiyat are "Tamám Shud" (تمام شد), it has often been referred to as "Taman Shud" in the media, because of a spelling error in early newspaper coverage or police reports which has persisted.[source?] In Persian, تمام tamám is a noun that means "the end" and شد shud is an auxiliary verb indicating past tense, so tamam shud means "ended" or "finished".[source?]

References[change | change source]

  1. The Advertiser, "Tamam Shud", 10 June 1949, p. 2