December 01, 2004

DNA Tests to Detect Iron Age Dwellers' Race, Skin Color

A group Iranian heritage and academic experts plan to conduct DNA tests on bones of people dating back to the Iron Age to discern their race, complexion color and endemic diseases at that time, in the most daunting project for local archeology in recent memory.

Studies show the Iron Age people used to dwell in Persia from 2,500 BC to 500 BC, leaving behind a telltale sign in the form of grey potteries. The funerary artifacts unearthed in Iran's ancient cemeteries indicated those people took pride in their multifaceted and diversified culture and religious beliefs, though the dearth of knowledge on their settlements has frustrated archeologists.

A relatively young scientific approach among local archeologists, DNA tests would hopefully unravel mysteries of one the most intriguing epoch of human history.
Now a team archeologists in Tarbiat Modarres University (TMU) in Tehran and Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (CHTO) plan to embark on a fact-finding mission, on the orders of CHTO's president Hussein Marashi.

Dr. Alireza Hozhabri Nobari, an archeologist in TMU who pioneered DNA tests on skeletons dug out from graves in the northwestern city of Tabriz, believes the approach could lead to solving some Iron Age mysteries.


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