Based on expert decisions, the sixth salt man of Chehr Abad mine will rest under the huge stone just like what happened to him some 1800 years ago.
Tehran, 10 June 2007 (CHN) -Hassan Fazeli Nashli, head of Iran's Archeology Research Center has strongly expressed his opposition with unearthing the sixth mummified salt man, which has been discovered accidentally in Chehr-Abad salt mine in Iranian Zanjan province. This opposition has been made in an attempt to protect the salt man against possible damages until the appropriate condition for well preserving of these salt men is provided completely.
Pointing out that in addition to salvation activities, what is important in trend of archeological excavations is how to preserve the unearthed historical discoveries, Fazeli Nashli said that while there is no guarantee for best preservation of discovered historical evidence, it would be better to let them remain under soil until the suitable condition is provided for keeping them.
"This is a wrong conception to think that the parts of the sixth discovered salt man should be unearthed for further studies, while we have still a lot of problems for preserving the other 5 ones which have already been discovered in Chehr-Abad salt mine. They are enough for conducting further archeological studies," added Fazeli Nashli.
According to head of Iran's Archeology Research Center, Iran has not much experience in this regard yet and when there is not a clear definition, it would be better to deposit discovered historical items under soil which has been proven to be the best safe keeper for historical relics.
Recent heavy rains in Zanjan resulted in appearing the sixth salt man in 20 centimeters depth of the earth which was buried in the corner of one of the trenches. Currently the rescuing operations for preserving the salt man have been started and the canal through which water was running has been closed and the mummy and the trench have been covered.
Fazeli believes that the best way for preserving the sixth salt man would be to rebury it under a pile of soil and salt. "We would be responsible in front of next generations if we do not protect historical discoveries correctly. Today, experts are not in favor of unearthing salt men and would prefer to keep them buried in salt mines," explained Fazeli.
The first discovery of salt men and their belongings in Chehr Abad mine of Zanjan province dates 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 and their belongings including their clothes had previously been sent to Oxford and Cambridge universities to be dated by implementing genetics studies and DNA analysis. The results showed that the first two discovered salt men belong to the Sassanid dynastic period (224-651 AD) while the last three are dated to the Achaemenid dynastic era 9550-330 BC).
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