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4800-year-old artificial eye discovered in Burnt City

TEHRAN, Dec. 10 (Mehr News Agency) -- A team of archaeologists working at the Burnt City recently discovered an artificial eye at the 5200-year-old site in Sistan-Baluchestan Province, southeastern Iran.

"The eye belonged to a large woman who died when she was 25 to 30 year old and was buried in Grave 6705," team director Mansur Sajjadi said on Sunday.

"Initial studies show traces of an abscess in the upper arch of the eye, and tracks made by the eyelid are visible on the lower part of the artificial eye," he added.

"It is still not clear what material was used to construct the eye, but it seems that it has been made of natural tar mixed with animal fat.

"The thinnest capillaries on the eyeball have been made with golden wires with a thickness of less than one millimeter.

"The pupil of the eye has been placed in the center of the eyeball and some parallel lines forming an almond pattern are seen around the pupil. The eyeball has two holes in its two sides, which were used for fixing the eye to the eye socket."

Some pottery works, ornamental beads, a leather bag, and a bronze mirror were also found in the grave of the woman, who was of mixed race.

Studies are currently underway to glean more information about the woman.

Nine seasons of excavations have been carried out at the Burnt City, which is located 57 kilometers from the city of Zabol in Iran's Sistan-Baluchestan Province.

Archaeologists have discovered many artifacts including a 10-centimeter ruler with an accuracy of half a millimeter in the ruins of the ancient city. They have also unearthed an earthenware bowl at the Burnt City which bears images of what experts believe is the world's oldest "animated" picture drawn around it.

Covering an area of 150 hectares, the site was one of the world's largest cities at the dawn of the urban era. It was built circa 3200 BC and destroyed some time around 2100 BC.

The city had four stages of civilization and was burnt down three times. Since it was not rebuilt after the last time it was burnt down, it has been named the Burnt City.

... Payvand News - 12/10/06 ... --

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