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5000 years ago women were in control in Burnt City


Source: Mehr News Agency, Tehran

Recent studies of a team of archeologists have shown that 5000 years ago (3200 BC) women had the economic control of the Burnt City. Some paleo-anthropologists believe that mothers in the Burnt City had social and financial prominence, director of the team working at the Burnt City in Sistan-Baluchestan Province, southeastern Iran said recently.


Addressing the archaeology students at Zabol University, Seyed Mansour Seyed Sajjadi said that 5000 year-old insignias, made of river pebbles and believed to belong only to distinguished inhabitants of the city, were found in the graves of some female citizens.


"Some believe the female owners of the insignias used them to place their seal on valuable documents. Others believe the owners may have used the seal to indicate their lofty status in society", he added.


In December 2006, archaeologists discovered the world's earliest artificial eyeball in the city's necropolis, thought to have been worn by a female resident of the Burnt City. The artificial eye is a hemisphere with a diameter of just over 2.5 cm (1 inch). It consists of very light material, probably bitumen paste. The surface of the artificial eye is covered with a thin layer of gilding and is engraved with a circle at its center to represent the iris. The eye includes gold lines patterned like the rays of the sun. A hole has been drilled through the eyeball, through which a golden thread is thought to have held the eyeball in place.


Microscopic research has revealed that the eye socket of the female remains bear clear imprints of the golden thread, suggesting that the woman must have worn the eyeball during her lifetime. With her shining golden eye she must have been a striking figure, perhaps a soothsayer or an oracle. The woman with the artificial eye was 1.82 m tall (6 feet), much taller than the average women of her time. She was aged between 25 and 30 and had dark, exotic skin. Her Africanoid cranial structure suggests her origins were the Arabian Peninsula.


Experts say that her skeleton dates to between 2900 and 2800 BC, when the Burnt City was a bustling, wealthy city and trading post at the crossroads of the East and the West. It is thought that the woman may have arrived at the city on a caravan from Arabia. Archeologists have not yet revealed the cause of the woman's death.


Paleopathological studies on 40 teeth unearthed in the Burnt City's cemetery show that the inhabitants of the city used their teeth as a tool for weaving to make baskets and other handmade products.


"More than 40 teeth lesions have been identified, the most prominent of which belongs to a young woman who used her teeth as a tool for weaving baskets and similar products," said Farzad Foruzanfar, director of the Anthropology Department of Iran's Archeology Research Center (ICAR) in an interview with CHN.


The use of teeth as a tool in the Burnt City is seen in both males and females of different age groups. Evidence shows that weaving was more than a hobby in the prehistoric city. It was one of the most common professions in the city which required a special skill. Residents made a variety of weaved products such as carpets, baskets and other household items.


The city, called Shahr-e-Sookhteh, sits on the banks of the Helmand River along the Zahedan-Zabol road in the southeast province of Sistan.


The excavations at the Burnt City also suggest that the inhabitants were a race of civilized people who were both farmers and craftsmen. No weapon has ever been discovered at the site, suggesting the peaceful nature of the residents.


The Burnt City has been continually excavated since the 1970s by Iranian and Italian archaeological teams, with new discoveries periodically reported.


Covering an area of 151 hectares, the city was built around 3200 BC and abandoned over a millennium later in 2100 BC.


The city experienced four stages of civilization and was burnt down three times. It took its eventual named because it was never rebuilt after the last fire.


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Historically significant women in Iran and the neighboring areas

1350 - 1300 BC. Politically Influential Queen Napir Asu, Elam, Khuzistan

Wife of King Untash-Napirasha who built many great buildings and temples in the area including, the Choga Zanbil near Sush (Susa). Her well preserved and headless status was discovered at Susa and is currently at the Louvre Museum in Paris. She is dressed in the same outfit as the Elamite goddess Pinikir and very likely served and represented this divinity at the temple of Ninhursag where she was discovered.



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