In 1994, salt mining operations in the Chehrabad Salt Mine in Iran, recovered the remains of the salt man. Several artifacts, including iron knives, a gold earring, and a walnut, were also uncovered near the site. Ultimately the remains were determined to be an ancient salt miner. It is believed that the Salt Man lost his life in the mine as a result of a mining accident caused by falling rocks. Carbon dating has placed him in the time of the Sasanian Empire (AD 224-651) .
After archeological studies, which included C14 dating of different samples of bones and textiles, the Salt Man was dated to about 1,700 years ago. By testing a sample of hair, the blood group B+ was determined.
3D imaging of his skull revealed fractures around his eye and other damage that occurred before death, indicating a hard blow to the head. His clothing, including leather boots, and gold earring, may indicate a person of some rank; the reason for his presence in the mine still remains a mystery.
For a certain period, it was deemed that the mummy was in danger of becoming damaged by bacteria due to the display cases not being sealed properly. This has resulted in some damages to the internal organs before being remedied.
Studies have helped archaeologists to gain a better insight into ancient mining practices. By studying the various artifacts in their stratigraphic layers, three different mining phases, Achaemenid, Sasanian, and Islamic, have been distinguished.
His hair, flesh and bone were all preserved by the dry salinity of the salt cave. Salt absorbs water from organisms, making the environment too dry to support harmful mold or bacteria, and as a result preservation.
Five other "salt men" have been found in the mine in recent years (from 1993 to 2005). They range in date from the Achaemenid period (539 to 333 B.C.) to the Sasanian era (A.D. 240 to 640). After the second discovery, mining operations were stopped in the areas of the mines considered useful to archaeologists.
Aali, A. (2016). Ancient salt mining and salt men: the interdisciplinary Chehrabad Douzlakh project in north-western Iran. [Online] retrieved from http://antiquity.ac.uk/projgall/aali333/
Brooks, H. (2014). Ancient Iranian Salt Mine Mummies. Ancient History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/article/747/
Hearn, K. (2007). Ancient "Salt Cured" Man Found in Iranian Mine. [Online] retrieved from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/07/070703-salt-man.html