Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
& CULTURAL NEWS OF IRANIAN WORLD©
Cemetery Discovered in Minab
03 May 2006
(CAIS) -- An ancient cemetery belonging to the first
millennium BCE was discovered during archeological excavations in Minab Plain,
Hormozgan Province. All the corpses were buried in a horizontal position on the
surface of a cliff although the direction towards which they were buried varies.
Considering the large number of soil hills in the area, archeologists believe
that burying the corpse on the cliff surface indicates the people’s belief in
the holiness of soil in this area. Many of these graves had already been
destroyed by illegal diggers.
“This season of excavations resulted in the discovery of a 100 hectare
historical cemetery in the area. The graves of this cemetery have four layers
and the corpses were put into a rock surface. After the burial was finished the
graves were covered with a stone block on which a pile of rubbles were put in
the form of a hill. These kinds of graves were called Hill Grave. The unique
characteristic of this kind of cemetery is that the corpse was not buried in
soil and a stone grave was constructed to put the dead body in it. While the
surrounding area of this cemetery enjoyed a soft earth, the inhabitants of this
area preferred not to bury their dead in the soil. We are not sure about the
reason behind this but maybe it was because soil was a holly thing to them and
they didn’t want to ruin it,” said Siamak Sarlak, archeologists and head of
excavation team in Minab and Roudan.
According to Sarlak, during the illegal excavations by the smugglers it has been
revealed that the burial gifts were put above the heads of the dead.
“The graves are not in a specified direction and we still don’t know why
they were built so. However, some archeologists believe that during this period
the body was buried towards the sun, therefore the direction of the grave
depended on the location of the sun in the sky at the time of burial,”
Cliff burial was a common burial method during the Achaemenid era which lasted
to the Sassanid period as well. However, during the Parthian era, catacomb
burial was a prevalent burial method.
Minab Plain is one of the biggest plains in Hormozgan province, south of Iran,
which has a lot of historical sites, some of which have been identified so far.
Last year Iranian and British archeologists found a town dating back to Parthian
period while working on an archeological site in Minab Plain.
Having a history of more than a hundred thousand years, the Minab Plain was the
settlement of different groups of people in the course of history. The team of
archeologists in Minab is determined to identify the remaining historical sites
in order to and provide the archeological map of this city.
is the Light on the Path to Future"
British Institute of Persian Studies