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3,000-year-old warrior Still Fighting at Gohar-Tappeh


News Category: Prehistory

 30 October 2005



A team of archaeologists working at the 3,000-year-old site of Gohar-Tappeh in Iran’s northern province of Mazandaran have recently unearthed a skeleton of a warrior buried in an attacking pose with a dagger in his hands, the Persian service of the Cultural Heritage News (CHN) agency reported on Saturday.


“He is holding a 26-centimeter dagger and appears to be making a forward thrust. The evidence shows that he was originally buried in this pose,” the director of the team, Ali Mahforuzi, said.


This is the first burial in this style ever discovered in mainland-Iran. The archaeologists have not yet been able to determine why the man was buried in such a position.


“Beside the skeleton, a number of dishes have also been found which seem to have been presented to the warrior. One of the dishes has some holes in it containing the remains of coal. Archaeologists had discovered such dishes before, but they could not determine their practical application; but the traces of coal indicate that the dish has been used for burning agalloch or other types of incense. The skeleton was also wearing a beautiful coiled shell necklace,” Mahforuzi explained.


Covering an area of 40 hectares, Gohar-Tappeh is located near the town of Behshahr. Ruins and other artifacts unearthed in the region indicate that the site dates back to the Iron Age, but further study is required to determine its specific period during the Iron Age.


Archaeologists believe that the large extent of the site implies that the region had been very developed in trade and competed with neighboring areas.


On September 27, Mahforuzi announced that his team had discovered a number of bull statuettes, although most were broken into pieces. Afterwards they unearthed a skeleton of a child and a bronze pendant with a bull-horn motif at Gohar-Tappeh.


The team has recently discovered an unidentified artifact in a grave beside a skeleton, which some prominent musicians of Mazandaran believe looks like a clarinet. If the archaeologists can prove that the artifact is a musical instrument, the 3,000-year-old relic would be the oldest musical instrument ever discovered in the region.


Mazandaran is one of Iran’s archaeological poles. Studies show that the region has been inhabited for over 400,000 years. Urbanization is thought to have developed in the region some time around 3,000 BC, and the new findings at Gohar-Tappeh provide further evidence for this theory. The excavations, which aim to determine the style of urbanization of the site, will continue until late November.