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First Intact Insignia Discovered in Burnt City


11 July 2004



The first intact personal insignia was unearthed in the satellite hilltops of the mysterious Burnt City, in the eastern Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchestan.

“The insignia is made of a river pebble and its color is blackish gray. It is believed it used to belong to a distinguished inhabitant of the city,” said Tahereh Shahraki, member of excavation team in the historical site, dating 5,000 years.

It seems the owner used the insignia to add his seal on high-value documents. Hassan Sargazi, director of the Cultural Heritage Organization in the province, noted the owner must have applied the seal to indicate his lofty status in the society.

Archaeologists are now working on the design of the insignia, which in some places appear to be symmetrical, but they are absolutely certain it belongs to the Burnt City, most probably annihilated in a massive fire. Other experts guess the change in the course of Hirmand River could account for the inhabitants’ migration, leaving the city vulnerable to natural elements.

Earlier this year, archaeologists had discovered some insignias, strikingly, in the grave of women of the ancient city. 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 center for economic activities. The 5,000-years-old history of the Burnt City 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.

Signs of civilization, first laid down in the Burnt City in 3200 B.C., remained intact up to the years 2100-2000 B.C. and during four successive periods in history. One of the prominent relics found in the Burnt City is a skull that according to the anthropological studies, is the first evidence of brain surgeries in prehistoric Persia.



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