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Iranian-British Experts to Study Ancient Children’s Growth Rates at Burnt City


News Category: Prehistory

 30 November 2005



 In 2006, a joint team from the Archaeological Research Center of Iran (ARCI) and Britain’s University of Newcastle plans to begin a study to determine the reasons for the variations in the growth rates of children in ancient times at the 5200-year-old Burnt City in Sistan-Baluchestan Province.


Archaeologists have discovered over 400 graves during the eight phases of excavations at the ancient city. Most of the children’s skeletons indicate a fluctuation in their physical growth rate which experts have not been able to explain.


“The skeletons show positive and negative growth in children’s bodies, and it is very important for experts to find a reason for this fact,” ARCI anthropologist Farzad Foruzanfar told the Persian service of the Cultural Heritage News (CHN) agency on Tuesday.


Sometimes, changes in growth occur suddenly, with causes other than genetic and cultural factors, and the joint team aims to study this subject, he added.


The British team is led by Dr. Kirsi Lorentz, who is an expert in environmental archaeology. She joined Iranian experts working at the 3000-year-old cemetery of the ancient site of Kharand in Semnan Province in early November to determine the process of maturation of the region’s children during ancient times and to study the impact of the environment on this process.


The Burnt City covers an area of 150 hectares and was one of the world’s largest cities at the dawn of the urban era. It was built circa 3200 BC and destroyed some time around 2100 BC. The city had four stages of civilization and was burnt down three times. Since it was not rebuilt after the last time it was burnt down, it has been named the Burnt City.


Although many studies have been carried out on the Burnt City, so far experts have not been able to determine the ethnicity and language of the city’s inhabitants.





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