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14 December 2008
Grave of Kurgan warrior discovered in Iran

Iranian archaeological teams working at the reservoir area of the Khoda-Afarin Dam have recently discovered a burial site of a Kurgan warrior during their rescue excavations. A bull statuette, a number of ancient weapons, dishes, and bronze artefacts have also been found in the warrior's grave, Archaeological Research Centre of Iran (ARCI) Director Mohammad-Hassan Fazeli Nashli said. "According to the archaeologists, the warrior enjoyed a special status among his people," he added.
     The Kurgans were an Indo-European culture living in northern Europe, from Russia across Germany during the fifth, fourth, and third millennia BCE. A number of the people also immigrated to northwestern Iran and lived there around 1500 to 2000 BCE, when the Bronze Age was ending in Iran.
     So far, a total of 20 graves of Kurgans have been dug out at the site, nine of which were discovered during the recent excavations, Fazeli Nashli said. "Along with the bull, a number of grey pottery dishes bearing geometrical shapes and weapons such as a dagger, sword, and bayonet have been presented to the warrior in the grave," he explained.
     The archaeologists had previously discovered Kurgan graves containing skeletons of a horse, sheep and other animals during the previous season of excavations last year. The warrior's grave, which measures about 6 x 1.5 meters, has been constructed by mud and stones. The stones are larger in lower part of the grave and become smaller in upper part. "This is the first time the Kurgan people are being studied in Iran, however we don't know much about their architecture and residential areas in Iran," Fazeli Nashli noted.
     Five teams of experts are currently working at the reservoir area of the Khoda-Afarin Dam, which is home to many archaeological sites. The dam has been completed one year ago and its filling was postponed following an ARCI's appeal for rescue excavations. However, it is not clear how the team can continue working at the site, because the dam was officially launched by the Islamic Republic's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, during his tour of East Azarbaijan Province last week. 

Source: CAIS (8 December 2008)

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