A 2,400-year-old tomb containing the skeletons of at least six people has been discovered in northern Iraq. Among the artifacts found in the tomb is a bracelet decorated with images of two snake heads peering at each other.
“The snake-headed bracelet was very popular in Achaemenid times,” and helped date the tomb, the team of archaeologists said.
The tomb was constructed near the end, or just after, the time of the Achaemenid Empire (550 to 330 B.C.), an empire in the Middle East that was conquered by Alexander the Great in a series of campaigns, according to the archaeologists, led by Michael Danti, a professor at Boston University. The excavation results were presented by Kyra Kaercher and Katie Downey, graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania and The Ohio State University.
Inside the tomb, the archaeologists also found a pair of bronze earrings and the remains of at least 48 pottery vessels, five of which were still intact.
“There were five complete vessels found in the tomb: one bridge-spouted jar, three pitchers and one miniature jar. They were all found near the heads of skeletons,” the archaeologists wrote.
This tomb probably didn’t belong to noblemen or wealthy individuals. “Based on the ceramics found and the limited amount of metal and other objects, these people were probably from a more modest background,” the archaeologists wrote. The archaeologists aren’t sure yet whether the people were related to one another.
Additionally, archaeologists found that sometime between 400 and 1,300 years ago, the tomb, originally the home of the six-plus skeletons found, was reused, and at least five more people (probably more) were buried there. The heads of those skeletons, which were separated from the older bones by a layer of soil, were found facing west.