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Burnt City Mothers Suffered from Malnutrition


News Category: Prehistory (from 8000 - 3400 BCE)

 30 December 2005



LONDON, (CAIS) -- A team of archaeologists working at the 5,200-year-old Burnt City in Sistan-Baluchestan Province believes that mothers of the ancient city suffered from malnutrition at one period of time due to the skeletons of stillborn fetuses recently discovered in the site’s cemetery, the director of the team said on Thursday.


“The archaeologists unearthed the skeletons of the fetuses during the ninth phase of excavations. They believe that all of the fetuses were stillborn,” Farzad Foruzanfar added.


The archaeologists have several theories, with malnutrition of the mothers being the most important.


Malnutrition is one of the most important factors which causes problems in the growth of fetuses and consequently causes stillbirths, Foruzanfar explained.


The archaeologists have found no more evidence to prove their theory about the malnutrition of Burnt City mothers, and therefore further study of the matter is necessary.


A number of Italian paleontologists were to accompany the team in the ninth phase of excavations in order to study the diseases common in the city, but the plan was not materialized due to some bureaucratic problems in Iran.


Over 400 graves had previously been discovered during the eight phases of excavations at the city-state.


A joint team from the Archaeological Research Center of Iran and Britain’s University of Newcastle are to begin a study in early 2006 to determine the reasons for the variations in the growth rates of children in ancient times at the Burnt City.


The Burnt City covers an area of 150 hectares and was one of the world’s largest cities at the dawn of the urban era. It was built circa 3200 BC and destroyed some time around 2100 BC. The city had four stages of civilization and was burnt down three times. Since it was not rebuilt after the last time it was burnt down, it has been named the Burnt City.


Although many studies have been carried out on the Burnt City, so far experts have not been able to determine the ethnicity and language of the city’s inhabitants.  




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