Chehrabad salt mine historical relics to be shown in Germany

TEHRAN, Jul. 20 (MNA) – Zanjan province’s tourism chief Amir Arjmand said on Monday that 200 relics discovered in Chehrabad salt mine are to be showcased in an exhibition in Germany.

As he informed Iran and a delegation of German scientists, experts in archeology, environmental studies, geomorphology, botany and zoology, from Bochum University are cooperating on the project.

Showcasing the relics, the exhibition seeks to introduce Iranian ancient objects to foreigners in a bid to attract toruists to the country, Arjmandi said.

In late May, a team of experts from Iran and Germany started a project for purifying, cleansing, and restoring garments and personal belongings of ancient salt mummies which were first found in Iran’s Chehrabad Salt Mine in 1993. 

As Arjmandi said at the time, the discovered objects and clothing of the Salt Men are being restored in collaboration with Iran’s Research Center for Conservation of Cultural Relics in close collaboration with the research institute for the protection and restoration of historical relics from the Ruhr-Universiat Bochum and the Archaeological Museum Frankfurt.

In 1993, miners in the Douzlakh Salt Mine, near Hamzehli and Chehrabad villages in Zanjan Province, accidentally came across a mummified head. The head was very well preserved, to the extent that his pierced ear was still holding the gold earring. The hair, beard, and the mustaches were reddish, and his impressive leather boot still contained parts of his leg and foot, according to the Ancient History Encyclopedia.

However, in 2004, the miners discovered yet another “saltman”, which was followed by further excavation unearthing remains of a human body along with a large number of artifacts made of wood, metal tools, clothing, and pottery. The archaeological investigation involved several international research organizations;  Iranian Centre for Archaeological Research (ICAR); Ruhr-Universität Bochum; Universitat Zürich; University of Oxford, (RLAHA Oxford), Research Laboratory for Archaeology & the History of Art; York University, Institute of Archaeology; Tehran University, The Institute of Parasitology and Mycology; Zanjan University, Institute of Geomorphology; and University of Franche-Comte, Faculty of Sciences & Techniques.

In 2005, a systematic excavation began, three more mummies were excavated, and a sixth remained in situ, due to lack of funds for its storage. The context of the remains suggested that a collapse in the mine had caused the death of the miners in question.

The first mummy, dubbed the “Saltman”, is on display in the National Museum of Iran in Tehran. He still looks very impressive.

This particular “saltman” was originally dated based on the archaeological material found with him. Later, the mummy was carbon dated, which placed him in 500 CE (1750 BP, that is, “before present” or 1750 years ago), the height of the Sasanian Empire. The second “saltman” was carbon-dated to 1554 BP, which placed him in the same era as the first “saltman”, the Sasanian era.

The third, fourth, and fifth “saltmen” were also carbon dated. The third body was dated and placed in 2337 BP, the fourth body in 2301 BP, and the fifth mummy was dated to 2286 BP, placing them all in the Achaemenid period.

The isotopic analysis of the human remains revealed where these miners were from. Some of them were from the Tehran-Qazvin plain, which is relatively local to the mine’s locality, while others were from north-eastern Iran and the coastal areas around the Caspian Sea, and a few from as far away as Central Asia.


News Code 161218


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