Skip to comments.Unusual Bronze Coffin Unearthed In Lorestan (Iran)
Posted on 05/16/2005 3:17:34 PM PDT by blam
Unusual bronze coffin unearthed in Lorestan
Tehran Times Culture Desk
TEHRAN -- A bronze coffin containing a skeleton with a golden blindfold and a golden gag on its face were unearthed in farmland near the provincial capital city of Khorramabad in Lorestan Province, the director of an archaeological team working in the region said on Friday.
It was an exciting discovery. The golden items and bronze coffin show that the casket was for a person from a prominent family, Jalal Adeli added.
With four handles, the coffin is like a bathtub, and has been broken into four pieces. Its length and width is 180x87 centimeters and it is 55 centimeters in height. The bronze plate is 2 to 5 millimeters thick. The golden blindfold and gag were discovered on the face of the skeleton.
The items have been sent to the historical Falakolaflak Castle in Khorramabad for further study, and the team hopes to find other ancient artifacts at the site.
This was the first discovery in Iran of a body buried with a golden blindfold and gag. The archaeologists believe that the find could provide new information on the lifestyles of people living in the region over the past millennia.
Due to the shards discovered around the casket, we surmise that the items date back to the Parthian era, Adeli said.
The bronze coffin has been sulfated and its surface is covered with sediment.
Archaeologists may find an inscription or bas-reliefs on the coffin if the sulfates and sediment can be removed, Adeli added.
The coffin was unearthed in winter when the owner of the farmland reported sighting some smugglers searching with a metal detector in the area.
A team of archaeologists were sent to the farm to make excavations and they unearthed the coffin and its contents during their operation, said Sirus Ebrahimi, the director of the Lorestan Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department.
Provincial officials were informed of the discovery and they agreed to not reveal the news in order to give them time to arrange security measures in the area, he added.
The coffin is to be put on display at the Falakolaflak Castle during Irans Cultural Heritage Week, which begins on May 18.
The only other bronze coffin with golden artifacts ever found in Iran was discovered in 1983 in Arjan, 10 kilometers north of Behbahan in eastern Khuzestan Province. The U-shaped coffin contained a large, inscribed golden ring, 98 bracteate coins, a dagger, some textile fragments, and a silver rod, which came from the treasury of the Elamite king Kidin-Hutran.
My guess is, P.O.W., or a hostage. Since hostages were typically children of conquered tributary rulers, they'd be killed, but given a decent burial. Elam went through at least three capitals, struggled for control over Mesopotamia (Kudur-Laghamar being the high king "Chedolaomer" mentioned in Genesis), and eventually vanished under more or less foreign control.
A gig with comedy
Could the gag have been to keep the mouth closed, sort of the way a headcloth was used to keep the mouth from hanging open?
"Could the gag have been to keep the mouth closed, sort of the way a headcloth was used to keep the mouth from hanging open?"
Good point. A few thousand years ago, in Central Asia, the dead were given a sort of old-movie-toothache wrapping to keep the mouth closed after death but before rigor mortis set in. These newly discovered objects could have been for that purpose.
I'm not optimistic about more finds, as the article said that the amount spent to do these digs ahead of the dam completion is miniscule. Too bad, not enough is known of Elam, and much of that comes from foreign sources (the Babylonian Chronicle, the Synchronistic Chronicle).
Gag; a female burial?
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