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Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Salvage excavation begins at 3000-year-old cemetery in northern Iran
Tehran Times Culture Desk
TEHRAN -- A team of archaeologists has recently begun salvage excavation at a 3000-year-old cemetery in the ancient site of Tahluj near the village of Mirar-Kola in northern Iran.
The cemetery will be submerged under mud and water when the Alborz Dam,located in the Savadkuh region in Mazandaran Province, becomes operational.
Three graves have been discovered during the excavations at the site, which covers an area of a hectare, team director Mehdi Abedini told the Persian service of CHN on Tuesday.
Abedini gave no details about their findings from the graves.
The team has previously conducted salvage excavations at the Iron Age cemetery in Lafurak village in Savadkuh in May 2005.
Twenty graves, three of them unique, were unearthed in Lafurak.
The three graves contained three skeletons with dolichocephalic (long-headed) skulls.
Experts had surmised that the three people belonged to a non-indigenous nation, since the inhabitants of Mazandaran at that time were a round-headed nation.
Since no other examples of skeletons with dolichocephalic skulls have been found in the region, it is believed that the ethnic group of the three people probably either left the Iranian plateau or emmigrated to other regions of Iran.
The archaeologists also excavated a 25-year-old man buried wearing a gold earring on his right ear and a silver one on his left ear in Lafurak.
The discovery was a big surprise for the archaeologists, since only bronze and iron earrings were found in previous excavations.
Bodies covered with a layer of special earthenware were discovered in the cemetery. Such a style of burial has never been discovered in any other Iron Age site in Iran.
The archeologists believe that the inhabitants of the site may have been pacifists, because no weapons have been found buried with the bodies in the Iron Age graves.
Burying their dead with their weapons was a custom for Iron Age people in Iran.
Many ancient sites as well as ten other villages will be submerged by the reservoir that will be created by the Alborz Dam.