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Iranian Orthopaedic Assembles 3000 Year Old Skeleton


22 March 2005


A 3000 year old skeleton discovered in a tomb in the historical site of Izeh, before the area went under water after the flooding of Karoon 3 Dam, was assembled by an orthoped doctor, introducing new horizons for cooperation of archaeologists and medical doctors.

The story all began when the head of the restoration workshop of Izeh, passed out due to overwork and continuous contact with chemical materials. The only doctor at hand was Dr. Shah Ahmadi, an orthoped responsible for the workers of the dam.

Later on, as a thank you gesture, Dr. Shah Ahmadi was invited to the workshop, and it was then that head of the excavation team, Jafar Mehr Kian, and his colleagues thought of using the doctor’s experiences in restoring the only skeleton retrieved safely from a single-person tomb in the site.

Dr. Shah Ahmadi was taught some preliminary stuff about bone restoration, and he started for the first time ever to touch and save a skeleton dating to 3000 years ago.

The doctor, who accepted the job with great enthusiam, spent all his free time, from 7 pm to midnight to work on the skeleton. “The left side of the head and the face were completely ruined due to contact with earth, which we restored by molding the other side,” explained Dr. Shah Ahmadi, adding that other parts such as the thigh bones and the ribs were also badly hurt, “fortunately, restoration of all parts were completed with success.”

The archaeologists working in the Izeh area identified there two kind of tombs. Some were collective ones, in which 12 to 14 members of a family were buried on top of each other with a considerable amount of items buried alongside them, making some sort of a family resting place. The other few ones were private ones, some of which had stone walls all around. The second type tombs all had a stone covering their top and their size and the number of items found inside them depended on the social status of the deceased, explained Mehr Kian.

According to Mehr Kian, the skeletons found in the collective tombs were in no condition to be seperated and retrieved, and the ones in the single ones, except for the one restored by Dr. Shah Ahmadi, were nearly ruined due to the moisture caused by Karoon River and the seasonal rains of the area.

The unusual tombs found in the area were another part of the team’s discoveries. “During excavation we found a private grave with just a skull inside, surrounded with valuable pottery and objects. This shows that the cut off head belongs to a person really dear to his family,” said Mehr Kian.

The archaeologists alos found out that that children were buried with their favorite possesions, such as shells from Persian Gulf, and also small dishes and cups supposed to be used in their afterlives.

The size of the restored skeleton has made the archaeologists think of it as belonging to a woman. As Mehr Kian says, the tomb is right now drown in a depth of 200 meters behind the recently inaugurated dam of Karoon 3.



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