200 ancient human skeletons under study at anthropology laboratory

January 6, 2023 - 18:14

TEHRAN – Laboratory research is still underway on some 200 ancient human skeletons, previously discovered from an archaeological site and cemetery in Gilan, the provincial tourism chief said on Tuesday.

“Currently, some 200 ancient human skeletons, which had been unearthed in Liar-Sang-Bon, an archaeological site and cemetery in the Amlash region, are still under investigation at an anthropology laboratory in Gilan province,” Vali Jahani said.

The experiments conducted in this laboratory on a set of exposed skeletons provide information about subjects such as the shape of the bones and teeth of the people who lived in those times, as well as the type of food, their height, and face, and whether they were indigenous or non-indigenous, Jahani explained.

He made the remarks during a national conference attended dedicated to the latest archaeological achievements, IRNA reported.

There are six main historical settings in Gilan. The oldest [existing] monuments are related to the Seljuk period and the early Islamic period, and most of the historical buildings in Gilan are related to the Qajar period and the late Safavid epoch, the official explained.

“Before the Qajar and Safavid era, there were many buildings in Gilan, but due to its [humid] climate, they have been destroyed and based on archaeological excavations, we can obtain valuable information from such relics and monuments.”

According to Jahani, DNA samples extracted from the skeletons reveal that human remains date back to the Parthian (247 BC –224 CE) and Sassanid (224 CE-651) periods.

Studies and experiments on the discovered skeletons, which have been performed by experts from the University of California, and the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, show all the skeletons were natives of the region, the official said.

Liar-Sang-Bon was initially identified in [the Iranian calendar year] 1391 (March 2012-March 2013) while its related mapping and demarcating projects were completed in 1393 and its first season of excavation commenced in 1395, Jahani said.

“The archaeological site of Liar-Sang-Bon is one of the most significant cemeteries in Gilan. And the site underwent an exact five-year archaeological survey, which was started in 1391 under my supervision… The result was the discovery of about 100 ancient tombs, a considerable number of historical objects, and very important information about the style and custom of burial of the people of that period.”

By conducting dating experiments in a comparative method, it was determined that the ancient site of Liar-Sang-Bon dates from the Parthian and Sassanid periods, he said.

Amlash was a small village in southeastern Gilan. The name originates from the nearby Alborz valleys, where archaeological artifacts were discovered during excavations.

The discovered artifacts range in date from the late second millennium BC through the Partho-Sasanian period, but most of the objects are dated to the 9th-8th century BC.

The dating and meaning of the known objects (bronze weapons and animal figurines, human statuettes of terra cotta and bronze, pottery animal effigy vases, and burnished black, gray, or orange pottery vessels) are complicated by insufficient archaeological contexts.

Bounded by the Caspian Sea and the Republic of Azerbaijan on the north, Gilan, in the far past, was within the sphere of influence of the successive Achaemenid, Seleucid, Parthian, and Sassanid empires that ruled Iran until the 7th century CE.

Sophisticated Rasht, the capital of Gilan province, has long been a weekend escape for residents of Tehran who are looking to sample the famous local cuisine and hoping for some pluvial action – it's the largest and wettest town in the northern region. Gilan is divided into a coastal plain, including the large delta of Sefid Rud and adjacent parts of the Alborz mountain range.