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Archaeologists Have Identified Three Different Burial Methods in Narges Tepe


25 July 2006




LONDON, (CAIS) -- An ancient cemetery date back to first millennium BCE was discovered during the first season of archeological excavations in Narges Tepe in the Iranian northern province of Golestan. Due to existence of various burial methods, this cemetery is considered a unique among all the discovered cemeteries.

Among the 40 skeletons discovered in this historical graveyard during the fist season of archeological excavations, nine went under anthropological studies for further identifications.

“What makes this cemetery unique compared to the other historical cemeteries discovered so far is the diversity seen in burial methods. Studies on these 9 skeletons show that three different burial methods were used in this cemetery which indicates the presence of various tribes and customs in Narges Tepe during the ancient times. Among these 9 skeletons, 6 belong to the first millennium BC, while the burial method used in the other three which were found buried on their right shoulder facing the holly city of Mecca (a method practiced by Muslims to this date) shows that they must have belonged to the Islamic period. There are also some skeletons buried in a foetal position with closed or half-closed legs,” said Farzad Forouzanfar, an archeoanthropologist who has studied these skeletons.

The skeleton of a 14 to 16 year old girl who was buried on her chest and a 10-11 month old infant buried in a frontal position have also been discovered in this cemetery.

Another interesting fact about this cemetery is that despite the usual conception that the pre-Islamic graves should have been located in a lower position compared to the ones that belonged to the post-Sasanioan period, all graves were almost at the same level.

Another major discovery in this historical hill was the existence of some clay baking ovens next to the graves. “The existence of these ovens belonging to both the Islamic period and the first millennium BCE near the graves indicate the continual existence of human beings in this area. However, more studies are still needed to determine the exact time when this place was used as a center for producing clays, and when it was used as a cemetery,” added Forouzanfar.

The first season of archeological studies has now ended in Narges Tepe during which a cemetery with 40 skeletons and some regular dishes were discovered by archeologists.






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Source: CHN

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