Saturday, June 23, 2007

Third Century man preserved in salt

During the Roman Empire period, just after the fall of Parthia, a salt mine worker from northwestern Iran lost his life following a catastrophic rock collapse. Approximately 1,800 years later, the man's body — preserved in salt — was discovered in the very spot where he died, according to ecent Iranian news service accounts and to a report issued by the Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies.
Since salt prevents bacterial growth and acts as a drying agent, the unfortunate accident victim became a rare natural mummy. He is the sixth "salt man" to be found at the Chehr Abad mine in Zanjan province. Removal of the body from its salty environs could damage it, so archaeologists hope to keep the mummy on site for now. Hassan Fazeli Nashli, director of Iran's Archaeology Research Center, explained that he and his colleagues still face "a lot of problems for preserving the other five ones" that have been unearthed over the past 14 years.

Two-page article with a photograph of the poor man.