discovery, in the excavations of the Burnt City, of two fretwork
combs dating back to more than 5,000 years ago, has altered the
hypothesis suggesting that was created in China and then
conveyed to Iran during the Safavid era. Excavation work on the
Burnt City was initiated in 1967 when Professor Maurizzio Tosi
and his colleagues joined hands with Iranian archaeologists.
On the sidelines of an international archaeological conference in
Iran, Dr. Mansour Sajjadi, archaeologist and the excavator
of the Burnt City said: "On the blank handle of the comb
fretwork figures have been installed, which are similar to the
patterns and stairs drawn on the first period of settlement in
the Burnt City (dating back to the Bronze Age in 5,000 years
Relics unearthed in different archaeological excavations show
that the Burnt City was a prosperous, large city some 5
millennia ago. Now, after all these eons, it is a mound 57 km
south of Zabol, 8 to 12 meters high and covering an area of 2.5
sq. Km, in the shape of a triangle as seen from air.
Excavation work on the Burnt City was initiated in 1967 when
Professor Maurizzio Tosi and his colleagues joined hands with
Later, in 1988-89, excavations were resumed by Dr. Sajjadi under
the auspices of the Cultural Heritage Organization.
1) The outcome of the research so far is reflected in 170 books
and papers in Persian, English, Italian, Japanese, German and
Spanish, all of which have contributed to an immense change in
the theories regarding human civilization.
According to excavations and researches, the Burnt City has come
to be known as one of the most important proofs for the
independence of the eastern part of Iran from Mesopotamia.
Furthermore, based on relics found in the Burnt City buried
unscathed under layers of salt and nitrate, archaeologists have
come across objects such as rope, basket, cloth, insect larva,
figernails and hair, seldom remaining in other archaeological sites.
Thus they have a complete series of evidence dating back to the
early period of civilization. On the basis of interpreting
theses proofs, they hold that the Burnt City was the most
significant center of settlement, and in fact the whole region's
social, economic, political, and cultural center, during the 3rd
and 2nd millennia, BC.
2) One of the prominent relics found in the Burnt City is a
skull that, according to anthropological studies, is the first
evidence of brain surgeries in prehistoric Iran.
The skull was found in a mass grave in 1978 during excavations
by the Italian team, lead by Maurizzio Tosi.
The skull belongs to a 13-14 year old girl whose illness was
diagnosed as hydrocephalus by physicians of 4,800 years ago, and
therefore operated on. The patient survived the operation for
several months before passing away.
The death of the said individual is not known, and it is not
clear whether she died of the post-surgery infection or of other
Regarding the excavation sites and the results gained, Dr.
Sajjadi said: "Memorial building (temple, palace,
administration) are the most prominent relics of the first
period of the settlement in the Burnt City."
Therefore, last winter the excavation team concentrated on those
buildings. Some 27 excavations were made in that period."
Based on the excavations made so far, two hypotheses are
suggested: "Considering the objects found in the layers of the memorial
building, the Burnt City covered an area of 15 acres in the
first settlement period."
With more excavations, it would be possible to go back to
periods older than 3,200 BC. Dr. Sajjadi
said that some 500 objects were found in the excavation,
including wooden objects, cloth, weaving equipment such as
hooks, shoe lace, human and animal statuettes. The human figures
are of great importance for the researchers. A 10-centimeter
high clay human figure was found in the memorial site. It is
probably the figure of a clergyman, for it has a modest
Two women figures were also found, each 4 centimeters high, the
dress of one of whom is decked with rosy coins. Another
statuette is of a sitting goddess with rosy coins on her apron.