Monday, November 21, 2005

Women and Marriage in Sassanid Era

CHN | News: "Women from the lower classes of society were deprived of many rights during the Sassanid era, a deprivation that can be traced in the rules of marriage and divorce at the time.

Sassanids wedded their daughters when they reached the age of 9 and their sons when they reached 15. Those ages were considered the perfect time of life, and it was believed that people would live at those when they were resurrected in heavens.

Noble women could reach the highest governmental positions.? As such were Denak, mother of Yazdgerd II and mother of Hormoz III, Pouran and Azarmidokht, daughters of Khosro Parviz, were all among women who ruled as Queen of the Queens (lady of the ladies).

Traditionally, however, women from lower social classes were considered as some kind of possession, worth as much as a slave. Even that amount is believed to have been paid as a marriage payment.

There was no obligation for women to receive religious teachings. Women who opposed getting married were sentenced to death, a fate never considered for men in the same situation.

Divorce had its own regulations at the time: if a woman carried out sorcery rituals, her husband could divorce her; the same was true if the woman was infertile, had sexual relations with another man, did not carry out her responsibilities properly, or did not wish to sleep with her husband. If the girl just reached her puberty and left her husband, she deserved nothing but death. "

Friday, November 18, 2005

Archaeologists Uncover Evidence of Female Brewers in Ancient Peru


Science & Technology at Scientific American.com: "The remains of a brewery in the southernmost settlement of an ancient Peruvian empire appears to provide proof that women of high rank crafted chicha, a beerlike beverage made from corn and spicy berries that was treasured by the Wari people of old as well as their modern day descendants. Decorative shawl pins, worn exclusively by high caste women, littered the floor of the brewery, which was capable of producing more than 475 gallons of the potent brew a week.

'The brewers were not only women, but elite women,' says Donna Nash of the Field Museum in Chicago, a member of the archaeology team studying the Cerro Ba?l site where the ruins were found. 'They weren't slaves and they weren't people of low status. So the fact that they made the beer probably made it even more special.'

More than a decade of research into Cerro Baúl led to this finding, which supports Spanish accounts of Incan women--a successor culture of the Wari--as master brewers and weavers. The team's analysis is being published online this week by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."

Iran's Kerman dwarf turned out premature baby

Iran News: "Anthropological studies of a 25 cm mummy discovered in Shahdad city of Kerman province have proved it to belong to a premature infant mummified under natural processes instead of a dwarf adult as had been previously claimed.

"The skeleton was found next to a cemetery belonging to the Seljuk era (900 years ago), but archaeologists believe that it should date back to the late Islamic period. People lived in the region up to the Safavid era, but as there is no article or inscription alongside the mummy, determining the exact date of his burial is impossible," said Nader Alidadi Soliemani, archaeologist of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Kerman province.

Mass murder mystery of Maya kingdom


United Press International: "Archaeologists have been unearthing the ancient city of Cancu?n and while draining a sacred pool that led to the elaborate channels of the city, found about 50 dismembered skeletons, The New York Times reports.

This murder mystery is believed to have happened around 800 A.D., around the time of the drastic decline of the Maya civilization. The reason behind the fall of that empire is still not known.

What archaeologists believe in this discovery is that the entire royal court was rounded up and killed, their bones buried in the pool.

This led to the inhabitants of the city leaving, as did others in the area.

The king and queen were found about 80 yards from the rest of the bones, buried with royal garb.

Despite the violent deaths -- researchers believe they were speared or hit in the neck with an axe -- the bodies were all buried with fine robes and other nice clothes as a sign of respect."

Monday, November 07, 2005

3000-year-old warrior still fighting at Gohar-Tappeh


A team of archaeologists working at the 3000-year-old site of Gohar-Tappeh in Iran's northern province of Mazandaran have recently unearthed a skeleton of a warrior buried in an attacking pose with a dagger in his hands.


"He is holding a 26-centimeter dagger and appears to be making a forward thrust. The evidence shows that he was originally buried in this pose," the director of the team, Ali Mahforuzi, said.

This is the first burial of this kind to be discovered in Iran. The archaeologists have not yet been able to determine why the man was buried in this exact position.

"Beside the skeleton, a number of dishes have also been found which seem to have been presented to the warrior. One of the dishes has some holes in it containing the remains of coal. Archaeologists had discovered such dishes before, but they could not determine the practical application, but the traces of coal indicate that the dish has been used for burning agalloch or other types of incense. The skeleton was also wearing a beautiful coiled shell necklace,"