Iran’s Salt Men Saved!

Salt man's head, Iran Bastan Museum
Image via Wikipedia

On the periphery of our purview, sort of, semi- …

The ancient Iranian “salt men” have been saved from decomposition.

“The salt men are currently kept in special showcases under controlled conditions at the Zolfaqari Museum,” the Zanjan Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department (ZCHTHD) director said in a press conference on Wednesday.

“Without hesitation, I can say that the salt men kept here are in better condition than the one at the National Museum of Iran in Tehran,” Amir Elahi stated.

Three showcases, each at a cost of 250,000,000 rials (about $25,000), have been specially designed for the salt men, he explained.

The showcases have been equipped with devices, which enable experts to monitor conditions inside and keep them under full control, Elahi added.

All six salt men, known as Iranian mummies, were discovered at the Chehrabad Salt Mine in the Hamzehlu region near Zanjan over the past 13 years.

In February 2009, a number of Iranian media reported that four of the salt men kept at the Zolfaqari Museum, were in a critical condition due to loose plexiglass cases that had been designed for storing these mummies.

The media explained that the cases were not hermetically sealed and changes in air temperature and pressure had created cracks in them, allowing bacteria and insects to enter and do damage to the mummies.

Studies on the Fourth Salt Man indicate that the body is 2000 years old and that he was 15 or 16 years old at the time of his death.

It is still not clear when the other salt men lived, but archaeologists estimate that the First Salt Man, kept at the National Museum of Iran, lived about 1700 years ago and died sometime between the ages of 35 and 40.

The Sixth Salt Man was left in-situ due to the dearth of equipment in Iran necessary for its preservation.

We’ve mentioned Iran’s salt men before, and Adrienne Mayor’s interesting idea that they may have been the inspiration for satyrs … (the image from Wikipedia there is not one of the salt men from the article, I don’t think).

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