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Oxford University to Carbon Date Iranian Salt Men


07 June 2005




Samples of the body tissues and clothes of the Iranian salt men discovered in Zanjan province have been sent for carbon dating to Oxford University.

Modern techniques used by Oxford Archaeology Department prompted the Iranian officials at the Restoration and Research Center of the Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) to send samples of the salt men discovered in the central province of Zanjan there for further studies to determine their exact age.

Parts of the clothes of the salt man no 4 which is made of animal skin, parts of the clothes and body tissues of salt man no 2 and parts of the leather shoe of salt man no 3 have been sent to Oxford for carbon dating.

According to chemist of the ICHTO restoration research center, Manizheh Hadian, Iran has the ability to carbon date the samples, but the technique used in the archaeology department of Oxford needs less samples and is more exact. Therefore, considering the condition of the salt men it is more appropriate not to separate great deals of their body or clothes.

Complementary studies is also carrying out by Zanjan ICTHO of the potsherds and metal objects found alongside the men, and the texture, design, colors, and the material of their clothes.

“The approximate age of the salt men has been estimated by means of medical and biological examines. We now know that the first salt man is between 20-40 years old, but the age of others is not yet identified,” explains Hadian to CHN.

The results of the new rounds of carbon datings should be sent back to Iran by end of the month.

Samples of the clothing of the first discovered salt man were sent to Oxford last year and studies proved that the man lived some 2000 years ago, at the end of the Parthian era.



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