Hamzehlu Salt Mine is located near Chehrabad village about 75 kilometers
from the northwestern city of Zanjan.
bodies of people dubbed “salt men” have been unearthed by mineworkers
over the past ten years. The second and third salt men were discovered
last November and January. The Fourth Salt Man was unearthed in early
March 2005. Shortly afterward, exploitation of the privately-owned mine
was halted by the CHTO. The owner of the mine has sued for damages.
CHTO is attempting to buy the mine so that it can legally begin
excavations in late September, Zanjan Cultural Heritage and Tourism
Department Director Yahya Rahmati told the Persian service of the Cultural
Heritage News (CHN) agency on Wednesday.
excavations also aim to determine the various ways the mine has been
exploited,” said Abolfazl Aali, the director of the team of
archaeologists that will be working on the project.
is still not clear when the salt men lived, but archaeologists estimate
that the First Salt Man lived about 1700 years ago and died sometime
between the ages of 35 and 40. He is currently on display in a glass case
at the National Museum of Iran in Tehran.
remains of the Second Salt Man are relatively intact, and include parts of
the skull, jaw, both arms, as well as the left and right legs and feet.
pieces of wool cloth and a piece of a straw mat with a unique style of
weaving were also discovered beside the Second Salt Man. The remains are
currently being kept at the Zanjan Cultural Heritage and Tourism
Third Salt Man’s body was buried under a two-ton rock, which severely
damaged the skeleton. Several items such as a leather sack full of salt, a
clay tallow burner, two pairs of leather shoes, and two cow horns were
also discovered near the skeleton.
Fourth Salt Man is the most intact of the salt men discovered in the mine.
The most recent studies have determined that he died young.
upper part of the outer covering of the Fourth Salt Man stretched to his
knees and his pants are short and did not completely cover his legs. In
his belt, the Fourth Salt Man also had a sheathed dagger, probably made of
addition, he wore two earrings, which experts are studying to determine
their quality. Two jugs were discovered near the Fourth Salt Man, which
experts surmise were used as containers for oil that was burned to
illuminate the mine.
of clothing and DNA samples from three of the four ancient salt men were
recently sent to Oxford University for carbon-14 dating.