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Mystery of Jar Burial in Gohar Tepe


News Category: Prehistory

 06 November 2005



The discovery of the burial place of an adult in a jar in Gohar Tepe of Mazandaran, has faced the archaeologists active in this area with new questions.

Gohar Tepe in Mazandaran province is one of the most important historical sites of Iran. Evidence shows that from 7000 years ago to the first millennium before Christ, a lot of people lived in the region, enjoying urban life structures since 5000 years ago; the discovery of architectural structures and graves in this region are evidence of continual life during the later centuries there.

“Previous to this a kind of jar burial was discovered in the region, with an infant in it. Due to the discovery we came to the conclusion that the children might have been buried in jars within the Iron Age (3450 to 2550 years ago). Now the recent discovery of the skeleton of an adult man in the jar faced us with new questions,” says Ali Mahforouzi, head of excavation team of Gohar Tepe in Mazandaran.

“The clay remains which have been discovered in the vicinity of this jar burial indicates that they should have belonged to the Iron Age, but we have not discovered any kind of adult jar burial during this period so far,” added Mahforouzi.

Referring to the discovery of Parthian evidence in the historical site of Gohar Tepe, Mahforouzi explains that since such method of burial was common during Parthian era, it is supposed that adult jar burial dates back to this historical period but the issue has remained a mystery due to the remains of clays belonging to Iron Age in the region.

Regarding the anthropological studies on jar burial, Farzad Forouzanfar, an anthropologist of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Iran says, “This way of burial goes back to the Iron Age, but since no adult jar burial was discovered until now, we can not say for sure.”

Previous to this archaeologists discovered a 3000-year-old skeleton with a bronze strap and a semicircle bronze horseshoe from under its head, which raised a lot of questions for archaeologist about such an unknown burial method.

A pair of skeletons belonging to a man and a woman, who were buried in a joint grave, in Gohar Tepe was another discovery which brought some questions to the archaeologists.

Discovery of the cow statuettes in the historical site of Gohar Tepe proved that the people of the region regarded cows as holy creatures 3000 years ago.

The excavations in the site started 2 months ago. The region entered the urbanization phase about 5000 years ago during which it had close trade relations with the inhabitants of Mazandaran and Golestan provinces.





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