Samen, the Buried Piece of History

One more time we got amazed by seeing another piece of our mysterious and ancient planet.

In the city of Malayer in western part of Iran, when the workers were tunneling a new way for the fiber-optic network, to their amusement and definitely to ours too, they found prehistoric chambers of an ancient city buried under the ground.  The discovered tunnels belong to a town called Samen that dates back to Arsacid Dynsty (Ashkani Period) 247 B.C. The town has been hand-carved in granite rocks.

In this discovery twenty five rooms were found containing human skeleton from different historic eras. There were some gifts and presents found next to the skeletons as well. The archeologists believe that still more parts of this ancient town are buried under the city of Malayer, because they believe it must be in a three-acre area.

As the first sites of the prehistoric town was seen by the workers a lot of researchers, scientists, archeologists, and anthropologists headed to Malayer to study it. The diggings show this place is a catacomb and it was built before the Ashkani era. The first use of this structure was for death celebrations and practicing Mithraism underground. Mithraism is a Zoroastrian and angelic Divinity and was practiced by Romans too. The structure was used for special occasions or as a shelter in Islamic era.

A catacomb is a structure that its different areas are connected by chambers and it was used as a burial place. The manner of keeping a dead in a catacomb is by open burial which means the dead body would not be buried. The idea was to not combine the dead person’s body parts with the four sacred elements of nature water, wind, soil and fire. Religious feasts and memorial of the dead would be held in the tomb too.

Samen is located about 3-6 meters under the ground and during different times in the history more chambers were dogged and added to the structure. The skeletons of humans and animals found in this city are from different time periods. There were about sixty skeletons found in nine rooms of this structure. The rooms of the Samen catacomb were used to re-bury the remaining bones of the dead people too.

The city of samen was discovered in 2005 and since then the scientists are still digging to find the rest of the city. They have built about eight workshops on the site to be able to study all the evidences they find as quickly as possible. Close to the workshop No.5 two different architectural spaces were found with two complete human skeletons. There are four rocky staircases on four different parts of the catacomb plus some rocky beds that are carved out of a one-piece rock.

Along with the presents found next to the skeletons there were coins, beads, and some clay. The clay seems like the ones from Ashkani era but the exact assumption will be made after the scientific testing. There are some huge areas in the town that couldn’t be used for burial usage and archeologists are trying to figure out what their real purpose was.

The Samen structure is a phenomenon piece of work and there is no other structure like it in Iran, which makes it so valuable for us and the world. Such discoveries help the scientists to find the missing parts of the puzzles in history and science. It is exciting to witness these prehistoric findings that help us know more about the human ancestors and our journey through the history.

Are you planning to travel to Iran and looking for an Iran travel agency? Check out our Iran Historical tour.