decapitated female skeleton, remains of a man and woman
buried together and two other human remains handcuffed in
their back and buried without observing common burial
rituals. A crime scene from a top notch world fiction
thriller or part of a historical site, perhaps a dungeon,
The question hangs over a group of Iranian archaeologists who have started explorations in the Robat Karim Sangi
Caravanserai in southern Tehran, in a bid to shed light on
one of the most thrilling archaeological mysteries in Iran.
The site is a structure in western wing of Robat Karim, a
working class town south of Tehran. Despite its rich
historical tradition, it had until recently been abandoned
and mostly used as a corral. It is called a caravanserai
but the findings point to a darker side.
The studies got off to a start late last year with some 90
percent of the preliminary documentation works, including
removing debris, stratification, mapping and photography
and tracing the history of different parts of the
structure, finished so far.
Head of the Tehran cultural heritage department Naser
Pazuki who leads the exploration team said the evidence,
including a large number of pottery pieces found,
suggested the site dated back to the reign of the Saljuq
dynasty some 900-1000 years ago.
"No evidence has emerged to support the theory that
this place had been a caravanserai. But the findings
indicate in all probability that it has been an industrial
workshop," he noted.
Yet what has perplexed the archaeologists is the discovery
of a number of human skeletons and remains in the site,
all buried in an unusual way.
Remains of a man and woman buried stuck together, the
decapitated skeleton of a woman and two human remains
handcuffed in their back are ominous evidence that the
place had once been a murky setting for committing
The early scientific findings suggest none of the remains
belong to the contemporary times and more investigations
are needed to come at an exact conclusion.
"There are another four human remains in a well in
the site to study which requires special tools,"
The boring pits dug showed it has no older layers but
given the fact that Robat Karim is dotted with historical
hills and remains from the historical period, there is
little doubt that the caravanserai has been associated
with its surroundings in one way or another.