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Iranian, foreign experts to excavate salt men's necropolis

TEHRAN, June 30 (Mehr News Agency) -- A joint team of Iranian and foreign experts will collaborate on a project planned to excavate the Chehrabad Salt Mine, where all six of the "salt men" were discovered.

Archaeologists and experts on other related fields from Germany, England, and Austria will participated in the project, which is expected to begin in spring 2009 in the salt mine located in the Hamzehlu region near Zanjan, northern Iran, the Persian service of CHN reported on Monday.

"The Chehrabad Salt Mine is one of important Iranian ancient sites, on which archaeological studies should regularly be continued," the Archaeology Research Center of Iran Director Mohammad-Hassan Fazeli Nashli said.

The results of the studies carried out in UK University of York and Oxford University on the salt men, which were offered during a two-day international conference on the Iranian mummies in Zanjan in October 2007, showed how much the interdisciplinary fields have progressed and can contribute to the development of the archaeological sciences, he explained.

The researches partially shed light on the salt men's diet. Based on the studies, the experts surmise that the Fourth Salt Man had come from Mazandaran, a region in northern Iran, to Zanjan, Fazeli Nashli added.

Some of the salt men have been damaged over the past 14 years as a large area of the privately-owned salt mine has been bulldozed.

Studies on the Fourth Salt Man indicate that the body is 2000 years old and he was 15 or 16 years old at the time of death.

It is still not clear when the other salt men lived, but archaeologists estimate that the First Salt Man lived about 1700 years ago and died sometime between the ages of 35 and 40. He is currently on display in a glass case at the National Museum of Iran in Tehran.

Four of the salt men are kept at the Rakhtshuikhaneh Museum in Zanjan and the Sixth Salt Man was left in-situ due to the dearth of equipment necessary for its preservation.

... Payvand News - 06/30/08 ... --

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