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3rd Century Sasanian Woman Diagnosed with Syphilis


15 January 2007




LONDON, (CAIS) -- While studying skeletal remains belonging to a woman from the Sasanian dynastic era (224–651 CE), anthropologists identified evidence of syphilis in the woman. The skeleton was found near Kangelou Fortress, located in the Iranian northern province of Mazandaran.


Announcing this news, Farzad Forouzanfar, director of the anthropology department of Iran’s Archaeology Research Centre, said: “Anthropological studies on the remaining skeleton of a woman from the Sasanian dynastic period revealed that she was 35 to 40 years of age at the time of death with a syphilis infection and severe bone protuberance over right arm which point to the existence of syphilis in the woman.”


Last spring, archaeologists directed by Saman Surtiji discovered three graves while studying the path leading to the Sasanian Kangelou Fortress. Among the discovered graves, one belonged to the Sasanian era while the other two were from the post-Sasanian period. A earthenware vase in green glaze, a metal bowl and six rings with agate gems bearing engravings as burial offerings were found in the grave of the Sasanian woman, buried on her left side in a squat position.


Covering an area of 50 square meters, Kangelou is an oval-shaped monument with Sasanian architectural style constructed in three stories with rubbles, plaster, and mortar. The ruins also indicate that it had arches, transept-like extensions, and a tower protecting it against landslides.


According to Forouzanfar, the new finding proves that chronic or inherited syphilis existed in Europe and Asia in the early first millennium BCe, thereby disproving the theory that suggests the disease was spread across the world after crews of Christopher Columbus returning home from their expedition to the Americas.




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, transparent, accurate and suitable for academics and cultural enthusiasts who visit the CAIS website.



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