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Skeleton with Knife to its Throat Discovered in Bolaghi Gorge


17 May 2005



Iranian and French archaeologists cooperating to save the heritage behind the soon-to-be-flooded Sivand Dam in Bolaghi Gorge have got their hands on a skeleton that has an iron bracelet in hand, an iron awl and an arrowhead next to it, and a bronze knife with a broken tip to its throat.

The 18-kilometer Bolaghi Gorge is located 4 kilometers from the world heritage site of Pasargadae and is considered as part of its landscape. The Gorge is known to be the location of the most important ancient road of Iran built by order of Darius the Great, the Achaemenid King.

During the recent months, foreign experts have given their Iranian counterparts a hand to save the ancient relics of the Gorge, and right not beside the French, the German and Polish archaeologists are working on the site. So far, more than 120 historical sites, including prehistoric hills, metal kilns, prehistoric caves and settlements, and two collective cemeteries dating to the Parthian times, have been identified in the area.

According to the Iranian head of the joint team of Iranian and French experts, Mohammad Taghi Atayi, the skeleton discovered in one of the stone cemeteries of the site is buried in a contracted position along with some ancient objects, and is believed to date back to the Sasanid era.

While removing the skeleton from the grave, the archaeologists found that it was not covered with any soil. Apparently, the residents of the area buried their dead in contracted positions over the earth and then surrounded them with stones. The burial method has never before been seen in any historical site of Iran.

Due to the popularity of Zoroastrianism in the Sasanid era and burying the dead in ossuaries, studies on these graves and burial methods is of great importance for a better understating of the era.

The skeleton and objects buried next to it have now been transferred to the research center of the site for further studies.




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