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Three Large Iron-Age Clay Statuettes Discovered in Gohar Tappeh


News Category: Prehistory

 09 November 2005



The recent archaeological excavations in Gohar Tappeh in Mazandaran province have led to the discovery of 3 clay animal statuettes belonging to the Iron Age.

Such a discovery which has been made for the first time faced archaeologists with new questions in regard to the cultural context of the people in the north and northeast of Iran. Archaeologists believe that these statuettes give them the key source to identify the social classes in this historical site.

Mazandaran is one of the most ancient provinces in Iran. Archaeological excavations indicate that the province has been inhabited by humans since 400,000 years ago until the present time, and that around 5000 years ago, urbanization flourished in the area. Gohar Tappeh is a proof to this claim.

“Following the archaeological excavations in Gohar Tappeh, the remains of some horses, humped cows, and buffalo clay statuettes were unearthed. These statuettes were almost built in big size. Since none of the discovered statuettes were that big, the question is that whether the statuettes with such a big size indicate the social class of the people of Gohar Tappeh or not. Most probably the statuettes belonged to the rulers and the high class people of the society,” says Ali Mahforouzi, director of the excavation team of Gohar Tappeh.

Regarding the topography of the region, the archaeological excavations and the development of urbanization in this historical site, archaeologists are looking for a temple to find out the relation of these statuettes to a religious place.

Previous to this the archaeological excavations in Gohar Tappeh, resulted in the discovery of the remains of the statuettes of some cows, one of them was almost intact, which were most probably used in religious ceremonies. The discovery of these sculptures indicates that the people of the region considered cow as sacred 5000 yeas ago.

“These statuettes are quiet realistic. The horse statuettes were built with saddle, riding equipments, and in a running position. The lengths of statuettes are 25 to 36 cm. with 15 to 23 cm. high. The big size of the statuette indicates the importance of this animal to the people of the region during the ancient times,” added Mahforouzi.

The artistic style of the discovered statuettes in Gohar Tappeh indicate a kind of realistic attitude in the artistic style during the first millennium before the Christ in the hand works of the artists.

Archaeologists believe that the efficiency, fertility, transporting, and the use of these animals in the farms and agricultural works made them so important for human beings in north parts of Iran.

According to Mahforouzi, the discovered statuettes are the biggest ones which have been discovered so far in Mazandaran province.

The archaeological excavations in Gohar Tappeh continues for 2 months, and the team of archaeologists are to determine forms of urban life 5000 years ago, remains of which are evident in Gohar Tappeh.




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