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Sexuality of the 2,000-Years-Old Salt Mummy Determined


News Category: Arsacid/Parthian Dynasty (248 BCE - 224 CE)

 31 December 2005



LONDON, (CAIS) -- X-ray and CT scan test results of the fourth salt mummy indicate that the body belongs to a 16-year-old male. Prior to this, archaeologists were not sure about the sexuality of this mummy, which was the fourth salt corpse discovered in the salt mine of Chehr-Abad (Chehr-Âbâd) in Zanjan province.

This corpse, which is the most intact salt mummy found so far, was discovered last January in Chehr-Abad mine in Zanjan province. Parts of the body have been sent to Oxford University to be dated.

Although the corpse had been called “salt man no. 4”, the sexuality of the discovered body had not been distinguished until recently. All other corpses were certainly male wearing similar cloths, but the last one was dressed more likely as a woman; and since it was much shorter than the rest, experts had supposed that it might have been a woman.

“Radiographic tests on the pelvis of the corpse indicate that the body should have belonged to a man,” said Dr. Jalal Jalal Shokuhi, radiologist and expert of ancient artifacts.

“Considering the bone joints and the result of three dimensional CT scans, the age of this salt boy is estimated to be 16 years,” added Dr. Shokouhi.

“Many bones were broken due to the high pressure on the corpse. These fractures are less on the chest and ribs and more on the head and skull which have resulted in the change in the form of the skull,” he added.

These tests will help to reconstruct the face of the fourth mummy corpse. After the reconstruction of the face, a polymer statue of the salt man can be produced.

“Tests done on the salty body are useful in its pathology,” said Manije Hadiyan, an expert of restoration of historical artifacts.

According to Hadiyan, being aware of the sensitive and delicate body parts of the corpse is very important in protecting it while it is being transferred.

The most intact salt body found in Chehr-Abad salt mine was discovered in the part of the mine with the least amount of salt. Archaeologists believe that the fact that this body was mummified in a place with the least amount of salt, and also that it has remained intact over centuries, have made this body special in compare to the three other salt men found earlier.

A belt, a leather cover containing a bone and a pair of shoes were also found along with the forth salt man in Chehr-Abad salt mine.

The first discovery of salt men and their belongings in Chehr-Abad mine of Zanjan province dates back to some ten years ago. They are among rare mummies discovered around the world that are mummified as a result of natural conditions.

The fourth salt man, which is the most complete one of all discovered, is now kept in one of the museums of Zanjan city, preserved and kept under proper conditions.


Source: CHN

Relevant News: 

23 Dec: New Studies Show Fourth Salt Man is 2000-Years-Old




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