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Unprecedented Jar Burial of a Dog Observed in Gohar Tepe
By Soudabeh Sadigh
Discovery of a jar containing the skeleton of a dog in a human grave for the first time in Gohar Tepe, northern Iran, has puzzled archaeologists. The two skeletons are dated to the 1st millennium BC.
Tehran, 15 November 2006 (CHN) — Archaeological excavations in Gohar Tepe, Iranian northern province of Mazandaran, led into discovery of the skeleton of a man belonging to the first millennium BC alongside a dog which was buried in a jar in the same grave.
Human burials in jars have commonly been observed in different historic sites of Iran. Similar examples of jar burials of humans have also been found in Gohar Tepe. However, this is the first time that the skeletons of a dog are found in a jar. This is why the new discovery has astounded the archaeologists.
Some ornaments have also been discovered with the skeleton of the man which shows the economic well being of the dead person during his own time.
“Discovery of the skeleton of a man alongside some pieces of jewelries including a ring and golden and bronze bracelets speaks of a unique burial method in Gohar Tepe never seen before anywhere else in Iran. The skeleton of this man was found next to a big jar. After the jar was opened, we were faced with the remaining skeleton of a dog, most probably owned by this wealthy man,” said Ali Mahforouzi, head of archaeology team in Gohar Tepe, to CHN.
Although evidence suggesting the coexistence of different social classes in Gohar Tepe had previously been identified in this historical site, this recent discovery further confirmed that 3000 years ago people with different social and economic strata used to live together at Gohar Tepe.
According to Mahforouzi, three daggers and eight arrowheads all set in an orderly fashion beside the skeleton can be taken as further indications to the man’s high social rank. Such evidence also speaks of a special ritual practiced when burying someone in Gohar Tepe back in the times.
The historic site of Gohar Tepe is located in the eastern parts of Mazandaran province between the cities of Neka and Behshahr, north of Iran. Evidence shows that from 7000 years ago to the first millenniums BC, a lot of people lived in the region, enjoying an urban life since the third millennium BC. Discovery of architectural structures as well as a large number of graves with different burial methods observed in this region all point to the existence of continual life in this region during different periods of history.