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Oxford University Carbon-14 Dating Iranian Salt Men


06 June 2005



Pieces of clothing and DNA samples from three of the four ancient salt men discovered in Iran were recently sent to Oxford University for carbon-14 dating.

Manijeh Hadian, an expert at Iran’s Research Center for the Protection and Renovation of Historical Relics, said on Monday that the Archaeological Department of Oxford University has special technology for the determination of the age of objects of organic origin by measurement of the radioactivity of their carbon content, which is known as radiocarbon dating.


“A piece of clothing worn by the Fourth Salt Man, part of the clothing and body tissue of the Second Salt Man, and a piece of the leather shoe of the Third Salt Man have been sent to the university,” she explained.


Hadian said that Iran also has the equipment necessary for radiocarbon dating, but the technique used at Oxford University requires few samples and is more precise.


The results will be announced by Oxford University within a month, she added.


The research center is planning to carry out studies on the metal objects and textiles discovered with the salt men to learn about their patterns, colors, and qualities.


The Second Salt Man and the Third Salt Man were discovered in the Hamzehlu Salt Mine which is located near Chehrabad village, about 75 kilometers from the northwestern city of Zanjan.


The First Salt Man, who lived about 1700 years ago, is currently on display in a glass case at the National Museum of Iran in Tehran.  



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