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German Archaeologists to Excavate Salt Men's Burial Ground


21 June 2006




LONDON, (CAIS) -- Following the visit of two Iranian archaeologists to Germany and Austria, the condition for a joint cooperation between Iranian and German archaeologists was prepared and a team of archaeologists of Bochum Mining Museum of Germany is to come to Iran to carry out excavations in Chehr-Abad historical salt mine, the burial ground of the discovered famous salt men in Zanjan province.

“After signing a memorandum of understanding between Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) and Germany’s Bochum Mining Museum and defining the budget for this project by ICHTO, this project will officially start,” said Roustaee, an archaeologist from Iran’s Archaeology Research Centre who went to Germany on behalf of Iran to discuss the criteria for a joint archaeological cooperation Iran and Germany.

According to Roustaee, considering that the German team is consisted of a number of skilled archaeologists whose area of specialty include those branches of archaeology in which few experts are involved, this cooperation is very important for Iran and would result in some great achievements.

“Based on the initial agreements, in addition to three German archaeologists who will come to cooperate with the Iranian experts in excavations of Chehr-Abad salt mine, a group of experts consisting of physical anthropologists, molecular archaeologists, plant archaeologists, and a restoration expert will also be dispatched to Iran who will join other experts in Chehr-Abad salt mine later,” added Roustaee.

During their visit to Germany and Austria, Roustaee, accompanied by another archaeologist, Abolfazl Aali, visited many archaeological sites and research centres and got familiar with the research methods of archaeologists in Hallstatt historical mine in Austria, which according to them is very similar to Chehr-Abad salt mine in Zanjan in many aspects. “Although there are some differences between them, we can use the experiences of its archaeologists greatly in Chehr-Abad mine,” said Roustaee.

The news of discovery of four salt men in Chehr-Abad mine was widely spread around the world and attracted the attention of archaeologists and cultural heritage experts. The first discovery of salt men and their belongings in Chehr-Abad mine of Zanjan province goes back to some ten years ago. They are among rare mummies discovered around the world that are mummified as a result of natural conditions. Samples of these salt men have been sent to Oxford and Cambridge universities to implement genetics studies, DNA analysis and dating. The results showed that the first two salt men date back to the Parthian dynastic era (248 BCE-224 CE) while the other two are believed to have belonged to the Achaemenid dynastic period (550-330 BCE).




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Source/Extracted From: CHN



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