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Latest Archaeological and Cultural News of Iran and the Iranian World


Grave of a Saka-Scythian  Warrior Discovered at Khoda-Afarin Dam Reservoir


08 December 2008



Khoda-Afarin Dam Warrior.jpg (138736 bytes)

Khoda-Afarin Dam Warrior1.jpg (153689 bytes)

  Pictures courtesy of Persian Service of Fars News Agency (Click to enlarge)


LONDON, (CAIS) -- Iranian archaeological teams working at the reservoir area of the Khoda-Afarin Dam have recently discovered a burial site of a Saka-Scythian (also known as Kurgan) warrior during their rescue excavations.

A bull statuette, a number of ancient weapons, dishes, and bronze artefacts have also been found in the warrior’s grave, Archaeological Research Centre of Iran (ARCI) Director Mohammad-Hassan Fazeli Nashli told the Persian service of CHN on Sunday.

“According to the archaeologists, the warrior enjoyed a special status among his people,” he added.

The Saka-Scythians were a group of Iranic people living in Central Asia across Eastern-Europe during Chalcolithic to Early Bronze Age (5th to 3rd millennia BCE). It seems, a number of these Iranic people also immigrated to this part of Iran around 1500 to 2000 BCE, when the Bronze Age was ending in Iran. This is the first time a site related to Saka-Scythina culture is being discovered - and it is expected Khoda-Farin sub-culture to be added to the list.

So far, a total of 20 graves of Kurgans have been dug out at the site, nine of which were discovered during the recent excavations, Fazeli Nashli said.

“Along with the bull, a number of grey pottery dishes bearing geometrical shapes and weapons such as a dagger, sword, and bayonet have been presented to the warrior in the grave,” he explained.

The archaeologists had previously discovered Kurgan graves containing skeletons of a horse, sheep and other animals during the previous season of excavations last year.

The warrior’s grave, which measures about 6 x 1.5 meters, has been constructed by mud and stones. The stones are larger in lower part of the grave and become smaller in upper part.

“This is the first time the Kurgan people are being studied in Iran, however we don’t know much about their architecture and residential areas in Iran,” Fazeli Nashli noted.

The teams have also discovered strata dating back to the Parthian and Achaemenid dynastic periods. They also hope to find signs of habitation by Kurgans in the strata.

Five teams of experts are currently working at the reservoir area of the Khoda-Afarin Dam, which is home to many archaeological sites.

The dam has been completed one year ago and its filling was postponed following an ARCI’s appeal for rescue excavations.

However, it is not clear how the team can continue working at the site, because the construction of the dam was officially launched by the Islamic Republic’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, during his tour of East Azarbaijan Province last week. 





Original news bulletin published by Mehr News rectified and edited by CAIS [*]




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