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14 April 2006
Engraved image discovered at 5000-year-old cemetery

A team of Iranian archaeologists recently discovered a pottery work bearing an engraved image of a naked man at the 5000-year-old Espidej cemetery. "The pottery work was made of red earth, and the potter engraved the shape with a tool similar to a thin reed while it was still wet," said Mohammad Heydari, the director of the team working at the site.
     This is the second time that archaeologists working at the site have discovered an artifact bearing a human motif. The first one was a bas-relief of a dancing man and woman unearthed in 2003. All of the other artifacts found at the site bear animal or geometrical shapes. "The images of the man and the woman are bas-reliefs, but the naked man has been created through chasing on the pottery," Heydari explained.
     Located 25 kilometers from Zabol in Iranís southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan, the Espidej cemetery is regularly looted by smugglers. The region is somewhat inaccessible, thus no security measures have been taken for the Espidej site. Experts say every two days, five graves on average are looted by smugglers.
     In October 2005, a team of Iranian archaeologists excavating the 3000-year-old site of Rabat near the town of Sardasht in Iran's West Azarbaijan Province unearthed two bricks bearing bas-reliefs of naked winged goddesses.
It was the first time such motifs were discovered at an archaeological site in Iran.

Source: Tehran Times (11 April 2006)

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