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Archeological Finds in Semnan Cemeteries


04 May 2004



Recent excavations in the cemetery of Gandab in the central province of Semnan give archeologists evidence of burial methods different from those found and studied before, of burying the dead in a supine position in graves with stone works.

Immigrants to Iranian lands used methods of their own, different from the locals, to bury their dead in graveyards far from their residences.

Previous studies had shown residents of the area at the end of the 2nd millennium B.C. buried their loved ones in the form of fetus in graves made with stone works, and later on, in the beginning of the 1st millennium B.C. lay them supinely in rocky graves.

According to the head of the excavation team of Gandab and Kharand, Abdol Motaleb Sharifi, the two are big cemeteries located in a land of 150 hectares where immigrants, inhabiting in northern parts of Iran and living by keeping farm animals, moved during the warm seasons in the late second and early first millennium B.C.

Discovery of pottery similar to those of Semnan cemeteries, next to the Caspian Sea, north of Iran, confirms the idea that people moved their houses between the two regions in warm and cold seasons of the year.

According to Sharifi, numerous items including pottery, metal objects, accessories and stamps of possession have been discovered in the tombs of Gandab and Kharand.

The Gandab cemetery is made of two sectors; the northern one in which the dead were buried in a fetal position in graves made with stone works, and the southern one in which the graves are dug with hand and the dead buried while lying on their back. However, the discovery of a corpse lying on his back in the northern side has challenged the archeologists’ previous hypotheses about the burials of the region.

Sharifi and his team of archeologists, surveyors, geologists, and experts of studying bones and humans aim to solve that burial mystery, and also since samples of clays recovered from smugglers belong to an era earlier than the Second Iron Age, they want to see whether they can find clues of life from the First Iron Age in the area.



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