& CULTURAL NEWS
excavations in Gohar Tepe, in Mazandaran province
in Iran, led to the discovery of the remains of
the statues of some cows which were most probably
used in religious ceremonies.
The discovery of these sculptures indicates that
the people of the region worshiped cows 3000 years
Mazandaran is one of the most ancient provinces in
Iran. Archaeological excavations indicate that the
province has been inhabited by human beings since
400,000 years ago until the present time, and that
around 5000 years ago, urbanization flourished in
the area. Gohar Tepe is a proof to this claim.
“Some cow statues have been discovered in the
archaeological excavations of Gohar Tepe, one of
which is left almost intact. These sculptures
which are in shape of rhytons were being used in
religious ceremonies,” says Ali Mahforouzi, head
of the excavation team of Gohar Tepe, Mazandaran,
who is undertaking the forth season of excavations
in the historical site.
According to Mahforouzi, the discovered rhytons
are broken but the one that is left intact and is
bigger than the rest reveals artistic mastery.
Rhytons were mostly used in religious places, but
the ones discovered in Gohar Tepe of Mazandaran
were found inside a dustbin in part of an ancient
Discovery of cultural evidence such as clay pieces
around the structure indicates that the rhytons
belong to the Iron Age (the first millennium BC),
but more studies are still needed to determine
their exact period.
Mahforouzi believes that rhytons reflect the
beliefs of the ancient people of the region. These
statues are evidence that the people of the region
worshiped oxen and humped cows 3000 years ago.
“Even today we can see some kind of respect
towards the animals in the region,” added
Mahforouzi, referring to kinds of cows being
regarded as symbols of hard work and fertility.
The biggest intact rhyton discovered is about 30
cm long, 12 cm high and 15 cm wide. Archaeologists
consider it as a unique discovery in Mazandaran
province, and believe that with the discovery of
the main worship place, more rhytons and statues
could be found.
The archaeological excavations in Gohar Tepe
continues for 2 months, and the team of
archeologists are to determine forms of urban life
5000 years ago, remains of which are evident in