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Archaeologists Discovered a Jar Burial of a Dog in Gohar Tappeh


16 November 2006




LONDON, (CAIS) -- Archeological excavations in Gohar Tappeh, Iranian northern province of Mazandaran, led to discovery of a jar burial containing skeleton of a dog dates back to the first millennium BCE.


Human burials in jars have commonly been observed in different historic sites of Iran. Similar examples of jar burials of humans have also been found in Gohar Tappeh. However, this is the first time that the skeletons of a dog are found in a jar. This is why the new discovery has amazed the archeologists. Some ornaments have also been discovered with the skeleton of the man which display his wealth.


“Discovery of the skeleton of a man alongside some pieces of jewelries including a ring and golden and bronze bracelets speaks of a unique burial method in Gohar Tappeh never seen before anywhere else in Iran-proper. The skeleton of this man was found next to a big jar. After the jar was opened, we were faced with the remaining skeleton of a dog, most probably owned by this wealthy man,” said Ali Mahforouzi, head of archeology team in Gohar Tappeh.


According to Mahforouzi, three daggers and eight arrowheads all set in an orderly fashion beside the skeleton can be taken as further indications to the man’s high social rank. Such evidence also speaks of a special ritual practiced observed by the ancient Gohar Tappeh inhabitants.


An Achaemenid cemetery in Fars province, dating to the 5th century bcE, contained thousands of dog skeletons. Their formal burial and the positioning of the dog remains reveal the esteem in which the ancient Iranians held their dogs. Emperor Xerxes I (489-65 BCE) reportedly took a large number of mastiffs with his army when he marched against Greece.


Dog in ancient Iranian traditions considered as the guardian of the land of the dead. In ancient Persian folk etymology the word sag (dog) was derived from seh-yak (one third) because one third of its essence is human.


The historic site of Gohar Tappeh is located in the eastern parts of Mazandaran province between the cities of Neka and Behshahr, north of Iran. Evidence shows that from 7000 years ago to the first millenniums BCE, large number of people lived in the region, enjoying an urban life since the third millennium BCE. Discovery of architectural structures as well as a large number of graves with different burial methods observed in this region all point to the existence of continual life in this region during different periods of history.




Extracted From/Source: Cultural Heritage News Agency (CHN)

Please note the above-news is NOT a "copy & paste" version from the mentioned-source. The news/article above has been modified with the following interventions by CAIS: Spelling corrections; -Rectification and correction of the historical facts and data; - Providing additional historical information within the text; -Removing any unnecessary, irrelevant & repetitive information.

     All these measures have been taken in order to ensure that the published news provided by CAIS is coherent, accurate and suitable for academics and cultural enthusiasts who visit the CAIS website.



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