Friday, October 07, 2005

Did Iranian warriors surrender in Kharand cemetery?

The ancient cemetery of Kharand is the burial place of the people who were living in the Semnan Plain 3000 years ago. Archaeological evidence shows its residents were nomads who repeatedly migrated between the Caspian Sea coast and Semnan Plain.

"This season, we found 5 graves which contain 5 warriors with their daggers and spearheads. The graves are juxtaposed so we think their deaths were simultaneous," said Abdolmotaleb Sharifi, head of Kharand ancient graveyard excavation team.

"The five men who must have been warriors," he added, "as each were buried with a dagger and spearhead on their right side, while their heads are leaned on their right shoulders. This indicates that they must have been buried with a ritual that is unknown to us."

Among the issues Kharand archaeologists are still surveying are the squatting graves. These kinds of graves which were excavated in an exploration 2 years ago in Gandab region, located in a 3-km distance from Kharand, suggest the outbreak of a war in the region. Archaeologists hope to find other examples of those kinds of graves in Kharand.

According to Sharifi, the buried corpses in squatting graves in Gandab were completely armed, and this implies that in the second Iron Age (1250- 850 B.C), Semnan valley was the realm of wars and struggles which gradually ended in peace in the third Iron Age (850-550 B.C).

The corpses in the 5 newly found graves in Kharand lie in a supine position, however, their military tools indicate that some local struggles still existed in the region in which these men were killed, believes Sharifi.

It is worth noting that the five daggers found are different in style from the other daggers which have been previoulsy found in Kharand. This kind of burial is also rare in other archaeological sites.

The inhabitants of Kharand were using special vessels as gifts buried inside the tombs. Some sheep meat was also found in the ceramic vessels in the graves which prove that the inhabitants believed in life after death. The different kinds of burial styles depict the existence of different cultures in the region."