Interesting 3,000 Year Old Iranian Skeleton

Via Anthropology in the News comes this interesting story.
What is so interesting about it you ask?
Note his posture, in particular the posture of the arm holding the dagger – raised as if attacking or defending. From the article:

“He is holding a 26-centimeter dagger and appears to be making a forward thrust,” said archaeologist Ali Mahforuzi, who led the excavation at Gohar Tepe, where the skeleton was found.
Gohar Tepe is located in northeastern Iran near the town of Behshahr and the Caspian Sea.
“Beside the skeleton, a number of dishes have also been found which seem to have been presented to the warrior,” Mahforuzi said. “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 their practical application; but the traces of coal indicate that the dish has been used for burning agalloch (a soft, fragrant wood) or other types of incense.”

There are other interesting aspects to the story:

Stronach mentioned that 200 miles to the west of Gohar Tepe, another skeleton previously was found “laid to rest on a veritable bed of weapons, including seven spearheads and five large daggers.”
The warlike appearance of the burials coincides with the history of the region at the time, around 1100 to 800 B.C. Until 550 B.C., most of the people in the area were divided amongst themselves. They also were under frequent attack from outside groups, such as the Assyrians.

There are, however, some peaceful aspects to the find:

Not everyone at Gohar Tepe was a warrior. The Iranian team of archaeologists also found the remains of an apparent musician who was buried next to an instrument that resembles a clarinet.
Researchers are still studying the artifact, but they believe the approximately 3,000-year-old object could be the oldest instrument ever to have been found in Iran and possibly the entire Arab world.

The article also mentions that the site may have been occupied for approximately 400,000 years but does not elaborate…

4 Responses

  1. “3,000-year-old object could be the oldest instrument ever to have been found in Iran and possibly the entire Arab world.”
    Er…Iran is not part of the Arab world….

  2. Don’t know how I missed that…

  3. As a former fencer, I see this posture as a flourish or salute rather than an attack. It might be a defensive posture. But an attack with a short, straight blade pointing upward would likely require a straight wrist, leaving the blade further from the skull.
    (If the blade were held point downward a la cartoon villainery, the warrier could make a stealth attack by swinging it out from concealment; but it isn’t.)

  4. Yeah, I think it’s a salute. It’s too high up to be a parry four and not high enough to be a parry three

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