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3,200 Years-Old Fingerprints Identified at Mamourin Tepe


15 June 2005



Fingerprints of residents of Memourin Tepe, dating to the Iron Age, are still identifiable on the plaster covered walls of their houses which date back to some 1,200 BCE.

Mamourin Tepe was discovered in 1989 during road construction of the newly-launched International airport near Tehran. According to head of the excavation team of the site, Jafar Mehr Kian, Mamourin Tepe and its surrounding areas cover a 13-hectare land and have undergone excavations for some 10 years, during which historical remains and artifacts have been unearthed, and the site has been studied from anthropology, zoolo-archaeology, and history points of view.

One of the key discoveries of archaeologists working in Mamourin Tepe has been the discovery of architectural structures dating to 3200 years ago. These structures are not only considerable due to their being ancient, but also to their belonging to the Iron Age humans, whose architecture has so far been unknown. Moreover, remains of gray ceramics were unearthed from residential structures of the Iron Age. Other samples of such ceramics were previously found in historical graveyards.

The houses found in Mamourin Tepe enjoy specific features, for example the walls are covered with several, sometimes up to 24, layers, which according to Mehr Kian, are evidence of the social changes and events such as birthdays, New Year, and other happy ceremonies celebrated by people of the time.

“The numerous white plaster layers of the walls are proof of a high birth and marriage rate, and the significance of cleanliness and decorations for the people. The plaster covering layers moreover helped protect the house and its clay materials from termites and other harmful insects. They also show that people had a prosperous comfortable life,” explained Mehr Kian.

Since the Iron Age people covered the walls with plaster using their hands and some bushes, their fingerprints are still visible on remains of walls discovered in Mamourin site.

The architectural remains also prove that residents of the area had an ecological knowledge. The doors that open toward the strong winds of the area are located at the end of roofless hallways or short alleys that decreased the pressure of the wind.

Experts are hoping to help save the ancient site that has stood the test of time and reveal more of its secret with launching proper preservation programs.



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