prostrate figure burial of a young man were unearthed for
the first time during the archeological excavations in the
historical site of Burnt City (Shahr-e Sukhteh) which has
surprised archaeologists who were faced with such a
strange burial method. It seems that the young man died
when he was lying prostrate on the floor some 5,000 years
ago in the Burnt City and was buried in the same position.
Burnt City is one of the key historical sites of Iran.
Some unique relics such as the animated figure of a goat
on a clay barrel, which is believed to be the first
animation work in the history of the world, and a very
unique backgammon, which is also believed to be the oldest
one in the world, have been discovered in this historical
site during the archeological excavation.
Burnt City, situated in Sistan va Baluchistan province in
southeast of Iran, is one of the most important
pre-historic sites of the country. Eight seasons of
archaeological excavations in the site indicate that Burnt
City was an important center of civilization and trade
some 5,000 years ago. Burnt City is regarded as a crucial
historical site in the eastern Iranian plateau.
Different methods of burial were one of the issues which
have attracted the special attention of archaeologists
during the 9 seasons of excavations.
“During the archaeological excavations, we were faced
with a grave and in a surprise we noticed that the corpse
was buried in a prostrate position,” said Farzad
Forouzanfar, director of the Anthropological Research
Center of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization
According to Forouzanfar, it is the first time such method
of burial has been observed in a cemetery of a historical
Squad, supine and side positions were the most common
burial methods found in pre-historic cemeteries belonging
to the first millennium BC. Thus, this is the first time
archaeologists have faced such kind of burial.
“This skeleton belongs to a 35-year-old man, which died
for a reason still unknown to us. A clay dish and a
whetstone were buried alongside him which most probably
were his work instruments,” explained Forouzanfar.
Since such a method of burial had never been seen before,
either in the Burnt City or in any historical site, we can
not yet determine the reason for such kind of burial.
However, the evidence indicates that this 35-year-old man
must have been died in this position while suffering a
severe pain, and since the corpse was dried its shape
could not have been changed and was buried in the same
position,” added Forouzanfar about the reason for the
prostrate form of burying.
Burnt City is regarded as the “Mother City” of the
eastern half of Iran’s Plateau. The archaeological
excavations in this historical site indicate that this
city was a main cultural route between the west and east
of Asia, a crucial historical site of the eastern Iran
The Burnt City was one of the world’s largest cities at
the dawn of the urban era. The city had four stages of
civilization and was burnt down three times. Since it was
not rebuilt after the last time it was set on fire, it got
the name “The Burnt City”.