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Is "Persia mummy" real? Collection of articles and views
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posted April 30, 2001 11:56
'Persia mummy' is body of recent murder victim
April 29, 2001
A MUMMIFIED "2,600-year-old princess" that became the subject of a frenzied tussle for ownership between Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan last year is believed to be the body of a murdered 21-year-old woman, according to archaeologists. Asma Ibrahim, the curator of the National Museum in Karachi, in an 11-page report, said: "After detailed studies, it is quite evident that this object is modern and a fake. A cut on the body over the region of the stomach looked like a wound. Dislocation or damage of the lower vertebrae could be the cause of death." The jaw of the woman is also believed to be broken.
The "mummy", encased in a gilded wooden coffin set in a stone sarcophagus, was found during a police raid on the home of a Baluchistan chieftain in Kharan, a town in the Pakistan desert bordering Iran, after a tip-off that antiquities were stored in his house. For several weeks the mummy had been stored in the basement, while a buyer on the black market was located.
Sardar Wali Reeki, the chieftain who had been trying to sell the mummy for 35 million, claimed that it was uncovered near Quetta after an earthquake in Baluchistan. He and his family have now been arrested and police are considering launching a murder investigation.
Police moved the "mummy" to the National Museum in Karachi, where curators were convinced that they had come across one of the most exciting archaeological finds ever made in Pakistan. On the mummy's head was an exquisite gold crown embossed with seven cypress trees, the emblems of the ancient Persian capital of Hamadan. Gold ornaments in the coffin also suggested that the mummified body was of royal blood.
The find provoked a tug-of-war between Iran, Afghanistan's ruling Taliban and Pakistan, all of whom laid claim to it. Experts from all over the world congregated by the "princess's" bedside to argue their case for ownership.
One of those not convinced despite the excitement over the "mummy" was Prof Ahmad Dani, the director of the Institute of Asian Civilisations in Islamabad. He said: "It was quite clear from the beginning that she was fake. The inscription on her chest read: 'I am the King of this Land', in ancient hieroglyphics. Yet she was a woman."
Prof Dani said that the wooden coffin was "not as old as her body" and, while the gold crown on her head looked genuine, her mask was relatively modern, "perhaps 100 years old". Most revealing was the mat on which the body was resting. He said: "I would guess that the mat was five years old."
He reported his findings to Ms Ibrahim. "She is a former student of mine. I reminded her that no mummy has ever been found in Afghanistan, Pakistan or Iran. It is not part of our tradition. Only the Egyptians preserved their dead in bandages." He added that the words on the breastplate were copied from a statue of King Darius at Persepolis in central Iran that dated back to 486bc.
After visiting Karachi, Prof Dani flew back to Islamabad. "I believed that the mummy was of no historical importance. If it was real, it could only be Egyptian. If it was fake, then it wasn't terribly well put together."
His words disappointed the police chief who raided the chieftain's house and took the mummy to Karachi. Prof Dani said: "This man flew me to Karachi, hoping I would say the mummy was of archaeological importance. He wanted to be paid for his find."
Meanwhile, the mystery 21-year-old "mummy" has been shifted from museum to morgue. In the process, she has had to suffer the humiliation of being demoted from "princess" to "object" in the words of museum officials.
The scandale raised about the discovery of the Persian mummy's smuggling took the Islamic republic regime's officials by surprise.
Several delegations were sent to Pakistan in order to bring some Pakistani officials to adopt the Islamic regime's version of the story in order to avoid more shame for it.
Rumors are stating that the Islamic regime had to pay several Controversial people, such as, the famous Professor Dani who suddenly changed his position and even statements.
The latest, as seen above, is his statement about the inscription on the coffin of the mummy, but we can see in the OBSERVER article (Part 2) published several monhs ago the following: " The coffin had inscriptions in Makhi cuneiform, a language prevalent in Persia in 600BC. The inscriptions read: 'I am the daughter of Xerxes, the great King. I am Ruduamna.' ..."
By: Behnaz Hosseingholipour
Tehran, Jan 16, IRNA -- Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization (CHO) here Tuesday stressed that based on evidence, the mummy, believed to be a member of Iran's Achaemenid royal family, was `fake' and did not at all conform with Iranian culture, costumes and tradition.
Mirabedin Kaboli, an Iranian archaeologist and member of an expert delegation recently dispatched to Pakistan to identify its origin, told a press conference that mummification was not a common practice in ancient Iran.
Kaboli said the wooden box as well as the engraved designs on four corners of the box, which depict `Farehvar', water lily and two altars, all point to the fact that the work was not genuine.
The symbols are not in conformity with ancient Iranian inscriptions, he said. Given its high spiritual status, Farehvar always appears above, the water lily symbolizes monarchy and is a earthly symbol while the altar is a symbol of Ahuramazda.
He said that molding substances had been used in the configuration of the corpse. Of course, skillful use of molding substances make experts suspicious at first glance that it might be made of stone, he added.
He said that the body had not been under any laboratory test yet so as to convince experts about the kind of petrochemical substance used in the production process. It can be firmly believed that the substances used in the mummy had been petrochemical, he further said. ``It (the substance) is synthetic,'' said the expert.
The coffin is placed in a wooden box, apparently lithic but actually petrochemically-processed lid, he said, adding that bundles of mats protect the dead body.
Fortunately, archaeological findings gained from many ancient Iranian excavation sites such as `Shahr-e Sukhte' (the burnt city), Shahr-e Rey and Cheshmeh Ali, all point to the fact that mats were used in Iran, he said, adding that there are mat works now in Iran, dating back to 7,000 years.
Comparing the mat inside the coffin, which protects the mummy, with Iranian mat dating back to 7,000 years, experts reached the conclusion that the product was recent.
Those creating the product had not been well familiar with the craft and just sought to present a work which would seem to be ancient, he further said.
As for the dead body, Kaboli rejected the claim that it was genuine. He, however, confirmed that the corpse was of Iranian origin.
Designs on the head of the mummy do not at all belong to the Achaemenid era.
It's worth bearing in mind that no one except the king used to wear a crown, while the case is that the `princess' does so, he noted.
There had been rare cases of women wearing crowns, he said. He added that the crown, or rather a coronet, did not bear any design.
He said the dead body had been draped in detergent fabrics covered by waxes -- possibly paraffin.
``Certainly, the finding is not a mummy,'' the expert confidently said.
He quoted the CHO archaeologists as saying that the stomach and other decayable parts of the body, including the brain, had been removed and filled by powder instead.
``Given the inferiority with which women were looked upon and the minor role they played in ancient period, how it would be possible for a princess to leave a will and order mummification after death in defiance of the norms of her age?'' questioned the expert. He said the CT Scan tests on the mummy shows that the corpse belonged to a 21-year-old woman, and was purchased a maximum of 15 months ago or removed from a cemetery.
The designers had tried to shape the coffin in a tooth-like pattern so as to attribute it to the Achaemenid era.
Despite efforts by Pakistan authorities to keep the room temperature constant to prevent the corpse from decomposing, it is nevertheless decaying fast.
In sum, neither the corpse nor the coffin are genuine and old, said Kaboli, adding that what can be said with certainty is that maximum of two years have elapsed since the so-called mummy was created.
He concluded that the wood, mat, box, fresh petrochemical substances and the corpse, which simply rolled as mummy, all point to its inauthenticity.
Meanwhile, another CHO expert Rasul Bashash said the person employed for presentation of the cuneiform inscriptions on the mummy had not been well familiar with ancient Iranian script and languages.
Bashash said the coffin bore inscriptions in ancient Persian script, which presented the identity of the body and specified date of her death as well as some prayers to Ahuramazada.
He said research on inscriptions found in Iran revealed that they bore no name of a woman, except that of the goddess Anahita.
He added that furthermore, there are cases which showed the inscription placed in the box were not genuine and did not conform with Iran's Persian script.
The syllables used in the script are completely different from those of ancient Persian script, said Bashash, adding that the product also was not in line with the morphological system of ancient Persian script.
He cited wrong application of consonants and vowels yet as another evidence that the find was not authentic.
Diphthongs are not juxtaposed in ancient Iranian script, he added, as is the case which appear in the `inscription''. There are also instances of syllable omission or wrong application, he added.
Besides phonological and morphological errors, there are also cases of syntax, inflectional, semantic, pragmatic and etymological digression in the inscription, added Bashash.
He cited genitive problem as an example of inflectional errors. ``I think these cannot stand as a `new dialect' or be unintentional errors,'' the expert said emphatically.
Mohammad Haj Seyed Javadi another member of the Iranian expert team, which was recently dispatched to Pakistan to identify the mummy, said that experts had found signs in pencil sketched while designing the box in which the corpse was placed. The traces are visible with a magnifying glass, he added.
Pakistan government had asked German experts to investigate but they refused to make any comment, said Haj Seyed Javadi, adding that definitely, representatives of foreign museums had already realized that the mummy is fake.
CHO legal expert, Younes Samadi said the argument about the mummy being fake or not would not deprive the claimant countries of its right to ownership.
Samadi said that Iranian experts have concluded that the fake work belongs to Iran and can be restored based on the 1979 UNESCO Convention.
Since the beginning, Iran reserved the right to own the `fake' or 'genuine' mummy and take it back through legal means in case sufficient evidence were obtained, concluded Samadi.
Sunday November 26, 2000
Her name is Ruduamna, she is around 2,600 years old, and she is soon to be the star exhibit in Pakistan's crumbling, little-visited national museum. But the mummified corpse of the 20-year-old Persian princess is now the subject of a row between Iran and Pakistan as to which country is her true owner.
The Iranians claim Ruduamna is a member of Iran's ancient royal family and should be returned as soon as possible. They also insist she is not a princess but a prince.
Pakistani experts say the mummy's origins are not clear and are carrying out tests to try to resolve the mystery.
An initial scan has revealed that the mummy has no teeth and suffered 'severe trauma' to her spine, which probably killed her.
Pakistani detectives recovered the ancient mummy in October when they raided a house in Quetta and arrested a local tribal chieftain, Sardar Wali Reeki. They had earlier received a tip-off that he owned several valuable antiques.
Reeki confessed he had tried to sell the mummy on the international black market for $50 million, but had only been offered $1.1 million. He said the mummy had been found 'some years ago' in Kharan, in Pakistan's Balochistan province, after an earthquake.
The princess, swathed in decaying muslin, was lying in an ornate wooden sarcophagus. Her hands were crossed over a gold plate on her chest, decorated with royal symbols, and she had a gold crown on her head. The coffin had inscriptions in Makhi cuneiform, a language prevalent in Persia in 600BC.
The inscriptions read: 'I am the daughter of Xerxes, the great King. I am Ruduamna.'
Iran said the mummy had been stolen from Iran and asked for Interpol's help in getting it back. But Pakistan's Foreign Minister Abdus Sattar said Pakistani officials were investigating the mummy's provenance.
Meanwhile, Pakistani officials have approached British experts from Manchester Museum's Egyptology department for advice on how best to display the mummy.
REUTERS ARTICLE: Afghanistan Joins Tug-Of-War Over Ancient Mummy
By Sayed Salahuddin
KABUL, Nov. 25 (Reuters) - Some 2,500 years after she died, a member of ancient Iran's aristocracy is at the center of a three-nation tug-of-war. Afghanistan's ruling Taliban movement on Saturday added its claim to a mummy seized by Pakistani authorities during a police raid on a house in the southwestern Pakistani town of Quetta, near the Afghanistan border last month.
Iran has already asked Pakistan to return the crowned mummy, which might have been an ancient Iranian queen.
Taliban Information and Culture Minister Qudratullah Jamal said smugglers had confessed to finding the mummy in the southwestern Afghan province of Nimroz, bordering Iran, before taking it to Pakistan. ``The confession of the smugglers is a good document and evidence. This property of Afghanistan should be returned to its people,'' Jamal told a press conference.
He said the Taliban would raise the issue with Islamabad.
The mummy, estimated to be 2,500 years old, was in a sealed box and was laden with jewelry, including a crown and a golden plate on her chest, the police said.
There was no initial information on where the mummy came from or whether it had been found during a mad rush of local people in the late 1960s and early 70s to dig up old graves in the Kharan border district of Pakistan's Baluchistan province.
Once part of Iran, Baluchistan now borders Iran and Afghanistan and it was believed the jewelry of the old Iranian families was buried there. The Taliban's interest in getting the mummy was part of a new interest Jamal has shown in protecting Afghanistan's rich archaeological heritage. Jamal said the Taliban was thinking of relocating artifacts from Kabul's war-damaged museum to prevent damage from rain and snow.
The museum was pillaged and largely destroyed in factional fighting in Kabul between 1992 and 1995 before the Taliban took power. ``We want to move those items which are at risk in the museum,'' he said.
IRNA ARTICLE: Iranian experts say the mummy found in Pakistan `fake'
Tehran, Jan 13, IRNA -- A delegation of Iranian experts, which is in Pakistan to conduct studies to identify the mummy, reportedly of an ancient Iranian princess, said the mummy was fake.
The mummy was recovered by Pakistani police from a gang of smugglers in Pakistan's western province of Baluchistan, bordering Iran. The smugglers had said they had found it in a ruined house in the Kharan Valley and had intended to transfer it either to Europe or to the United States. Later, the mummy was taken to Karachi and placed in the National Museum.
Immediately after news of the discovery of the mummy, the Cultural Heritage Organization, in cooperation with the Iranian Foreign Ministry, initiated efforts to bring back the mummy to Iran. Restitution of national cultural-historical objects smuggled out of the country and confiscated by other countries will be conducted through diplomatic channels as stipulated by the 1970 UNESCO Convention.
Following its discovery in October this year, the mummy was already pronounced by a majority of archaeological experts as being of Iranian origin.
Lorenzo Constantini, an Italian archaeologist who researched for many years in Iran, said in mid-November that the mummy is that of an Iranian princess.
Constantini, a professor at the University of Naples, told IRNA in Rome that it belongs to an Iranian princess who bore the name Rodomena and who died in the year 559 B.C.
He said the princess belonged to the Achaemenian royal dynasty. On her coffin is inscribed the following words: "I am the sister of Cyrus the Great, King of Iran."
The Italian professor said the words left no doubt that the mummy belongs to Iran with its ancient history, adding that the coffin is made of a certain type of glass and is decorated with pieces of jewelry and ornaments that were in vogue during the era that she lived.
The Italian archaeologist worked in the southeastern regions of Iran from 1972 to 1978.
Meanwhile, Pakistani archaeologist Sheikh Khurshid Hassan told the daily `The News' in late December, "The engravings on the wooden box, containing the mummy, depicting the figures of Ahura Mazda and fire altars give an indication that the deceased was a follower of Zoroaster."
In ancient Persia, two ruling dynasties--the Achaemenians and the Sassanids--were Zoroastrians.
IRNA ARTICLE: Pak archaeologist confirms views of Iranian experts on mummy
Islamabad, Jan 14, IRNA -- A top archaelogist of Pakistan on Sunday endorsed the views of an Iranian expert team, which announced that the mummy recently found in Pakistan was fake.
Professor Dr. Ahmad Hassan Dani said these findings have not only exposed the originality of the mummy but would also end the dispute over its origin.
An Iranian team visited Pakistan last week and examined the mummy, recently found in Pakistan's Baluchistan province, and after study and analyzing the situation, it observed that the mummy was fake and worthless.
The mummy, apparently of an ancient Iranian princesses, were recovered from a tribal smuggler in Quetta city of Baluchistan province and shifted to Karachi.
The mummy, apparently of an ancient Iranian princesses, were recovered from a tribal smuggler in Quetta city of Baluchistan province and shifted to Karachi.
In an interview with IRNA, he said, "I am satisfied with the findings of the Iranian team and support its views about the originality of the mummy."
Professor Dani had earlier said that the mummy might belong to Egypt as there had never been the culture of mummification in Iran. "I had seen the box of the mummy but did not open its door and my observations were based upon the study of the box of this mummy," he said.
Professor Dani said the Iranian experts had a deep study and observation of the mummy.
Radmona, the Iranian Princess, is the first known Persian Mummy.
The word Mummy comes from the Persian word "Mum" which was used to by Ancient Persians to seal from moist many things and to preserve them from decomposition.
The first attempts of artificial preservation of the dead occurred as early as 3000 BC. History gives us many examples of mummification which was practiced by many diverse people and cultures ranging from saints to lamas, Abraham to Christ, Jewish to Buddhist, Egyptian to Christian. It was practiced by people who at the time appeared to be at a height in their personal development.
We now know that mummies have been found all over the world -- in North, Central, and South America, Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, and even such places as the Canary Islands. The influence of Atlantis and Egypt held such sway over subsequent civilizations that mummification continued throughout the centuries. Although the forms may vary, basic procedures remain evident. The preserving and handling of the body with tact and exactness, and the ceremonies whose aim was to communicate to the soul and guide it along its journey, are found in all cases.
In the Jewish holy book, "Torah" (Genesis 49; 50), a commentary tells the story of Jacob's burial as "When Jacob finished his instructions to his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and, breathing his last, he was gathered to his people. Joseph flung himself upon his father's face and wept over him and kissed him. Then Joseph ordered the physicians in his service to embalm his father, and the physicians embalmed Israel"
Another religious holy book, "The Tibetan Book of the Dead", depicts the inhumation of the Dalai and Tashi Lamas, holy men of the Buddhist faith, as again a form of mummification, rich and complete in the rituals and ceremonies surrounding it. Further examples include the Peking Woman, a mummified body of a woman buried two thousand years ago in a pyramid tomb in Beijing, China. Scientists were amazed at how the hair and skin remained in remarkable condition for such a long period of time.
Then there are the popes of the Catholic Church who were mummified, and the American Indians who practiced the same.
A detailed reading of the above articles can show the panic which has sized the Islamic republic regime by the prospect of scandal in the Mummy affair. The denunciation of such actions is spreading to most Social categories and many are accusing the clerics to have tried to sell the "Iranians Grand Mother" .
Radmona's mummified body, along with 4 others, were found during excavations made by the Governmental "Sazman e Mirass e Farhangui" (Office of Cultural Heritage) near the city of Hamedan in 1991.
Managers of "Mirass e Farhangui" tried to keep the news secret based on instructions received from Mr. Yaser Rafsandjani, son of the notorious Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsandjani, who decided selling the "Impious heritage deluded of any kind of moral value for the Islamic society" to rich collectors outside Iran. But several employees of "Mirass e Farhangui" rang the alarm, by contacting different sources abroad, in order to stop this criminal action.
The managers of this Governmental entity are known for several other looting, such as those happened in "Shahr e Kabood" (near Tabriz), where, several vases and other treasures disappeared after the accidental finding of this vanished city last year.
The looting of the Iranian Cultural heritage considered as symbol of a Impious culture, by many clerics, is not something new and observers are aware of many sales of the treasures of the Ancient Iran in Official auctions in places, such as, Sotheby's and Christie's or to anonymous collectors across Europe and Japan.
Thousands of items such as Coin, Statue, Vase, Rugs and pieces of Worked stone have been sold in the last 21 years in Auctions across Europe, Japan and the US.
Observers remember the clerics statements on the necessity to destroy all symbols of the Ancient Iran and the fact that Ayatollah Khalkhali tried to erase the ruins of "Persepolis" at the beginning of the Islamic revolution. This Open animosity seemed having stopped with the raise of the National feelings among the Iranians who pushed the current Islamic administration to show some respect for Iran's past.
A detailled reading of the above articles will show the lack of knowledge, or better to say, the sided position of the so-called experts of the regime's linked Experts sent to Pakistan.
1- These so-called experts are claiming that Women were considered as inferior in Ancient Iran but everyone know that Women were having much more value or power during those times contrary to what happened to them during the last 14 centuries.
Historians know that Arthemis was the victorious Commander of the Iranian Navy defeating the Greeks under Khashayar Shah of the Achemenid dynasty and the fact that Iran had Ruling Empresses such as Pourandokht and Azarmindokht during the Sassanide dynasty.
In addition, sculptures on the columns of "Persepolis" show the Managerial and Architectural roles of women in this fabulous construction.
Pakistanis went, even, to create a Display area for the Mummy in their Karachi Museum and tried all kind of version to keep it there by telling the story that the GENUINE Mummy is Egyptian.
They claimed, first, that the mummy is the body of a Egyptian princess married to a Persian prince and sent to Egypt for Mummification at her death and returned to Iran. But such claim was easily possible to be rejected for several reasons such as: - The Mummy has a Golden "Sarv Tree" (Cedar Tree), cherished by Ancient Persians of Zoroastrian culture, on her chest while Ancient Persian rulers are known for their respect of others Religious believes. - If the body was sent to Egypt from Iran to be mummified, it should have been affected by some gradual decomposition due to the travel link of time from Iran to Egypt by the ways of Ancient times.
A report on CNN showed, precisely the open coffin, which was originally sealed (see the above article s) and Jewels showing the Zaraostrian belief and the Aryan origin of the mummy named RADMONA.
In addition, several INDEPENDENT Archeologists, such as, Lorenzo Constantini or Pouran Eslami confirmed the genuinety of the mummy.
All times are PT (US)
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