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Archaeologists Identify Richest, Poorest Graves in Burnt City



17 February 2001



TEHRAN --Archaeologists have unearthed scores of graves in excavation activities they have conducted on the ancient "Burnt City." Objects found inside the graves are indicative of the living conditions of those found buried inside.                  

Burnt City is in the Southeastern border province of Sistan and Baluchestan. Its history of about 5000 years makes it one of the largest and most ancient sites in the Middle East.


Various industrial and residential units, as well as cemeteries and monumental relics litter its 151 hectares of land.


In a grave, considered to be the richest in the area, 58 pieces of clay and marble pots were unearthed belonging to a 30-year-old man.  The grave with the poorest yield had only the corpse of a 25-year-old woman without anything else. During the fourth phase of archaeological excavations conducted on Burnt City, 25 human skeletons were discovered, one of which belongs to a 60-year-old woman still intact.

Whole skeletons of animals, mainly young goats sacrificed and buried under the head of corpses, were also unearthed in the course of the excavations. According to Farzad Forouzanfar, the anthropologist heading the excavation team, the number of pots, the type of food cooked and the kind of animals used for sacrifice were all indicative of the social and economic standing of the dead buried in the graves and pointed to their belief in a day of resurrection. Excavations in the city have thus far 158 skeletons in 134 graves. The average age of males at the time of death was placed at 39 while that of females at 33; men had an average height of 162.7cm while women had a height of 154.6cm. Archaeologists last year discovered human settlements in the Burnt City over a span of about 1000 square meters in an area of 400 meters of excavations.


According to Mansour Sajjadi, the head of the archaeological team, the discovery of hundreds of clay human and animal figurines lends further proof to the belief that the place was once used as a temple site. The figurines, measuring 8 to 10 centimetres, were either discovered scattered individually in the sites or in groups.


Experts believe that the discovery of a large number of seals and calculation devices in the site proves that it was, in addition to being a religious place, used as a centre for economic activities.


The signs of the first human civilization, first revealed in the Burnt City in 3200 BCE, remained intact until 2100-2000 BCE and during the four successive periods of history.



Source: (IRNA)



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