Musical instrument found at Gohar-Tappeh

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Experts have proved that the artefact, which was unearthed at the Gohar-Tappeh prehistoric mound in Mazandaran Province in 2005, is a clarinet. 

Part of a cemetery is shown at the Gohar-Tappeh prehistoric mound in the northern Iranian province of Mazandaran [Credit: Tehran Times]

In addition, a team of archaeologists has recently discovered dice for playing the game of craps at the site, team director Ali Mahforuzi told the Persian service of CHN last week. 

The musical instrument, which was very common in Mazandaran, had been discovered in a grave beside a skeleton that belonged to a woman, he said. 

This is the oldest musical instrument ever discovered in the Mazandaran region. 

The dice were also unearthed from a grave of another woman at the Gohar-Tappeh cemetery. 

“About 300 pairs of dice of a kind used for playing craps, which is common among the Iranian Turkmens, were discovered in the grave of the woman, who seems to have been a crapshooter,” Mahforuzi said. 

Based on the carbon-14 dating tests carried out on the oldest archaeological stratum of the mound, it dates back to about 3500 BC, he added. 

He said that the mound comprises the ruins of a city, a cemetery and an industrial part, but based on the artefacts discovered in the ruins of the city, there apparently was no connection between the city and the cemetery. 

The burials were carried out in fetal or face-up positions. The team has also found some jar burials, which mostly pertain to children, Mahforuzi explained. 

“Jar burials were common mostly among the Parthians. Thus, this find strengthens the theory that they had lived in this region for a period,” he stated. 

“The Parthians ruled part of Mazandaran and the northeast of Iran, but Gohar-Tappeh dates back from third millennium BC to the Iron Age, afterwards people migrated to other regions nearby,” he added. 

The team has also discovered some skeletons buried with jars containing animal bones. 

“The archaeologists surmise that the ancient people buried the bodies with animal meat and water. This fact shows their belief in the afterlife,” Mahforuzi said. 

The archaeologists have also found skeletons of a couple buried in a single grave. They are currently studying this case to unravel the mysteries surrounding this type of burial. 

Mahforuzi’s team has also collaborated with some German experts on the city divisions of Gohar-Tappeh in 2009. However, nothing has been published about their studies so far.  

The team had previously unearthed a cobble-stoned lane at Gohar-Tappeh during the fifth season of excavations in 2006. 

In addition, a skeleton of a warrior buried in an attacking pose with a dagger in his hands in one grave, a skeleton of a child and a bronze pendant with a bullhorn motif in another grave, and a number of bull statuettes have been found at the site during previous phases of excavations in 2005. 

Source: Tehran Times [September 11, 2011]

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