The Salt Men
Photo credit: Nasser-sadeghi
A functioning salt mine in Northwestern Iran has produced six naturally preserved mummies. Chehrabad Salt Mine’s “salt men” range in date from 539 BC to AD 640. Their beards, hair, and even clothing are often nearly perfectly preserved. In some cases, stomachs, colons, and last meals are intact.
The most recent discovery was made in 2007. Experts have identified this mummy as a Roman-era miner killed by falling rocks or an earthquake. The first five salt men discovered were given to scientists for research. However, the newly discovered mummy will remain underground. There is concern about the Iranian government’s lack of equipment and facilities to help preserve the salt man.
A Stanford folklorist believes the salt men might be connected with satyr legends. Their protruding jaws, snub noses, and hair bear uncanny resemblance to depictions of satyrs in ancient accounts, including St. Jerome’s tale of a satyr head on display in Antioch.
While I am all for the quest for knowledge in most cases, I can't help but wonder just what we can really hope to learn from these individual mummies. Why not let them rest in peace?
Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Raining outside.