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