About Salt and Iran

A conversation about excavations in Iran and the Salt Men.



Two employees of the German Mining Museum Bochum, Nicolas Schimerl and Pia Weber, were guests of Dr. Natascha Bagherpour Kashani, curator for Classical Archaeology and the Ancient Near East at the Archaeological Museum Frankfurt.  


Our host has been working in archaeology for many years and early in her career she focused on a country that is fascinating not only from a specialist perspective: Iran. She tells us how she came to archaeology and to work in Iran.

We are talking about archaeological research in Iran, in particular about the Chehrabad salt mine in the north-western Iranian province of Zanjan. This salt mine is a very special site: here archaeologists found human remains of miners who died in mining accidents 2500 and 1500 years ago. Research on these Salt Men of Zanjan - the only salt mummies preserved worldwide to this day - allows us extensive insights into past realities of life. 

IR Zanjan 2011 Salzmann 4 gesamt fg Hintergrund

But how do you organise an excavation in Iran? What preparations have to be made in Germany, what is the procedure before starting an excavation in Iran? What opportunities and possibilities are there in this country that would be unimaginable here? Garnished with a few anecdotes, we shed light on all these questions.The upcoming special exhibition "Death by Salt. An Archaeological Investigation in Persia" is also on the agenda. What makes the exhibition special? What are the personal highlights of our panelists? What made it possible to realise the special exhibition in the first place? And what are the individual challenges of realising such a project in the current situation?


If you want to learn more about the Salt Men of Zanjan, their living environment and the research around the Chehrābād salt mine, you can also follow us on Instagram Instagram (@unterirdis.ch) and Twitter (@unterirdis_ch).

© Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum, Leibniz-Forschungsmuseum für Georessourcen

LogoDBM neu

Mit freundlicher Unterstützung der Kunstsammlungen der Ruhr-Universität Bochum