Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Destruction of Hasanlu in northwest Iran

 The site of Hasanlu was extensively excavated from 1957–77 as part of a general investigation into the archaeology of the Ushnu-Solduz Valley in northwestern Iran, a joint venture of the Penn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City, and the Archaeological Service of Iran. The site has deposits dating back some 8,000 years to Neolithic times, however, the Iron Age levels, beginning around 1250 BCE, are the best understood.

The settlement portion of Hasanlu was dramatically destroyed (ca. 800 BCE) leaving a burned and body-strewn destruction level. The conflagration is thought to have happened in late summer based on plant remains. The people who remained in the buildings on the High Mound, including women and children, were completely wiped out by violence and fire. Most seem to have been left where they were killed in the streets and in buildings, which then collapsed on their bodies because of the fire. The people who remained at Hasanlu did have weapons and horses at their disposal. Large collections of various types of weapons were found in several of the buildings, possibly in storage areas. However, the bodies strewn all over the city indicate that the end was swift and violent.  This is the site where the famous Hasanlu Lovers, a pair of skeletons in a bin of plaster-covered mudbrick in 1972 were found. The two lie facing each other with one reaching out with its right hand to touch the face of the other.

Read more about this fascinating site here:


Image: Kohl box in the shape of an elongated figure wearing a helmet (?) and cape (?), Hasanlu Period IV Bronze (ca. 800 BCE). The body expands outward to a flat base supported by four human-shod feet although one is missing.  Image courtesy of the Penn Museum.

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