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A Sepulchral pit from Late Iron Age in Balkh. The site of Tepe Zargaran (Afghanistan)

Abstract : In southern Central Asia, the Iron Age saw the almost-complete disappearance of burial (Sine Sepulchro period covering the Yaz I-III sequence, ca. 1500-330 BCE), a fact generally interpreted as an evidence of excarnation. This paper intends to present an exceptional discovery of a set of human bones made by the DAFA (Délégation archéologique française en Afghanistan) at the site of Tepe Zargaran, Bactra, in Afghanistan. It groups human bones -including calvaria, elements of the torso and long bones- belonging to several individuals of different ages and both sexes. This discovery is well dated in the second half of the 4th c. BCE, at the end of the Achaemenid period. It is compared to similar atypical burial pits of the Iron Age, which indicates a very long socio-cultural tradition of nearly a millennium, involving handling of the corpses, shifting of part of the bodies from a first deposit, and reoccupation of ancient storage structures.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01958035
Contributor : Johanna Lhuillier <>
Submitted on : Friday, January 18, 2019 - 12:33:38 PM
Last modification on : Monday, May 11, 2020 - 11:56:15 AM

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  • HAL Id : halshs-01958035, version 1

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Bendezu-Sarmiento Julio, Philippe Marquis, Johanna Lhuillier, Hervé Monchot. A Sepulchral pit from Late Iron Age in Balkh. The site of Tepe Zargaran (Afghanistan). Lhuillier, J., Boroffka, N. A millennium of history: The Iron Age in southern Central Asia (2nd and 1st millennia BC), Proceedings of the conference held in Berlin (June 23-25, 2014), Archäologie in Iran und Turan 17 & Mémoires de la DAFA XXXV, Dietrich Reimer Verlag, pp.319-331, 2018. ⟨halshs-01958035⟩

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