Human Mummy
Biographical Information
Current Location
Catalog #

The Saltmen were discovered in the Chehrabad salt mines, located on the southern part of the Hamzehlu village, on the west side of the city of Zanjan, in the Zanjan Province in Iran. By 2010 the remains of six men had been discovered, most of them accidentally killed by the collapse of galleries they were working in.[1] The head and left foot of Salt Man 1 are on display at the National Museum of Iran in Tehran.

In the winter of 1993, miners came across a body with long hair, a beard and some artifacts. These included the remains of a body, a lower leg inside a leather boot, three iron knives, a woollen half trouser, a silver needle, a sling, parts of a leather rope, a grindstone, a walnut, some pottery sherds, some patterned textile fragments, and finally a few broken bones. The body had been buried in the middle of a tunnel approximately 45 metres in length.

In 2004 another salt miner found the remains of a second man. During archaeological excavations in 2005, the remains of another two, well-preserved, men were found. In 2006 the Iranian Cultural Heritage News Agency partnered with German Mining Museum in Bochum (Germany), in 2007 with University of Oxfordand the Swiss University of Zurich for thorough investigations. A scientific long-term project was started supported by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and British funds.[1] Four corpses, including a teenager and a woman are kept at the Rakhtshuikhaneh Museum in Zanjan. A sixth corpse found in the excavation campaign 2010 was left in place at the salt mine. Three hundred pieces of fabric were found, some of which retained designs and dyes. In 2008 the Ministry of Industries and Mines canceled the mining permit.[2]


After archeological studies which included C14 dating of different samples of bones and textiles, the Salt Man was dated to about 1,700 years ago. By testing a sample of hair, the blood group B+ was determined.

Three-dimensional pictures (scans) show fractures around the eye and other damage that occurred before death as result of a hard blow. Visual characteristics included long hair and a beard, and a golden earring on the left ear indicated that he was a person of rank or influence. The reason for his presence and death in the salt mine of Chehrabad remains a mystery.

Three bodies are dated to the Parthian (247 BCE–224 CE) and Sassanid (224–651 CE) eras, and the remainder to the Achaemenid Dynasty (550–330 BCE).[2]


In a 2012 research,[3] it turned out that the 2200-year-old mummy of Chehrabad had Tapeworm eggs from the genus Taenia sp in his intestine. This brings new information on ancient diet, indicating the consumption of raw or undercooked meat and it also constitutes the earliest evidence of ancient intestinal parasites in Iran and contributes to the knowledge of gastro-intestinal pathogens in the Near East.[3]Pathology It was revealed in 2009 by a CAT scan that Lady Rai had died in her early 30's as a result of a diseased aortic arch. She is the oldest known mummy with evidence of atherosclerosis.

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