Human skeletons dug up at subway construction site in northwest Iran

June 15, 2020 - 23:0

TEHRAN – Skeletons of an individual, estimated to be laid to rest centuries ago at a once Islamic cemetery, have recently been unearthed at a subway construction site in the city of Tabriz, the capital of northwestern East Azarbaijan province.

“Some human skeletons were accidentally unearthed while workers were conducting grading and site preparation at a subway station in Qonqa neighborhood of Tabriz,” ILNA reported on Monday.

“The construction project, however, was ordered to come to a halt until further notice when initial archaeological surveys are completed.”

“So far bones belonging to an individual have been found at a site, which was once an Islamic cemetery…. Samples [form the bones] have been taken for further examination,” provincial tourism chief Ahmad Hamzehzadeh said.

The official also explained that the graves will not yield afterlife objects, which were very common to be placed in tombs during pre-Islamic times.

“Funeral services were held at the Gajil Cemetery from middle Islamic ages to the early Qajar era. But the point is that according to Islamic tradition no objects are buried with the deceased so that no objects are expected to be found within the tomb chambers.”

Elaborating on the fate of the construction project, he said “If archaeologists find a historical structure during their investigation, the metro project will certainly be halted to complete the survey. If we do not find such structures, the archaeologists will also be present at the site and the construction project will be continuing under their supervision.”

Soaked in history and culture for millennia, Tabriz embraces several historical and religious sites, including Jameh Mosque of Tabriz and Arg of Tabriz, and UNESCO-registered Tabriz Historic Bazaar Complex to name a few.

It became the capital of the Mongol Il-Khan Mahmud Gazan (1295–1304) and his successor. Timur (Tamerlane), a Turkic conqueror, took it in 1392. Some decades later the Kara Koyunlu Turkmen made it their capital, it was when the famous Blue Mosque was built in Tabriz.

The ancient city retained its administrative status under the Safavid dynasty until 1548 when Shah Tahmasp I relocated his capital westward to Qazvin.

AFM/MG

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