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German Archeologists to Excavate Salt Men's Burial Ground in Iran

A team of German archeologists will come to Iran to carry out joint excavations with Iranian experts in Chehr Abad historical mine where the four salt men had been discovered.

Tehran, 20 June 2006 (CHN Foreign Desk) -- Following the visit of two Iranian archeologists to Germany and Austria, the condition for a joint cooperation between Iranian and German archeologists was prepared and a team of archeologists of Bochum Mining Museum of Germany is to come to Iran to carry out excavations in Chehr Abad historical salt mine, the burial ground of the discovered famous salt men in Zanjan province.

"After signing a memorandum of understanding between Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) and Germany's Bochum Mining Museum and defining the budget for this project by ICHTO, this project will officially start," said Roustayi, an archeologist from Iran's Archeology Research Center who went to Germany on behalf of Iran to discuss the criteria for a joint archeological cooperation Iran and Germany.

According to Roustayi, considering that the German team is consisted of a number of skilled archeologists whose area of specialty include those branches of archeology in which few experts are involved, this cooperation is very important for Iran and would result in some great achievements.

"Based on the initial agreements, in addition to three German archeologists who will come to cooperate with the Iranian experts in excavations of Chehr Abad salt mine, a group of experts consisting of physical anthropologists, molecular archeologists, plant archeologists, and a restoration expert will also be dispatched to Iran who will join other experts in Chehr Abad salt mine later," added Roustayi.

During their visit to Germany and Austria, Roustayi, accompanied by another archeologist, Abolfazl Aali, visited many archeological sites and research centers and got familiar with the research methods of archeologists in Hallstatt historical mine in Austria, which according to them is very similar to Chehr Abad salt mine in Zanjan in many aspects. "Although there are some differences between them, we can use the experiences of its archeologists greatly in Chehr Abad mine," said Roustayi.

The news of discovery of four salt men in Chehr Abad mine was widely spread around the world and attracted the attention of archeologists and cultural heritage experts. The first discovery of salt men and their belongings in Chehr Abad mine of Zanjan province goes back to some ten years ago. They are among rare mummies discovered around the world that are mummified as a result of natural conditions. Samples of these salt men have been sent to Oxford and Cambridge universities to implement genetics studies and DNA analysis. The results showed that the first two salt men date back to the Parthian era (150 BC-226 AD) while the other two are believed to have belonged to the Achaemenid period (648-330 BC).

... Payvand News - 6/20/06 ... --

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