Shahr‐i Sokhta (Iran) was an important urban settlement in the Near East between the end of the fourth millennium and the beginning of the second millennium BC. It entertained trade and cultural relations with ancient sites and cultures on the Indus Plain, southern shores of the Persian Gulf and of the Oman Sea, Southwest Iran, and Central Asia. The recent discovery of a rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) burial in the cemetery of site shed new light on the exploitation of monkeys in antiquity. A young rhesus macaque—around 5 years old at death—was buried in the necropolis according to the same funerary practices used for human infants. The monkey was buried in a simple pit, together with an unpainted pear‐shaped beaker. Both its femurs were pathological, due to a sort of dystrophic calcification of the tendon or muscle insertion, that may suggest the macaque was kept in captivity and died due to physical stress. No non‐human primate species is native of Iran; rhesus macaques inhabit parts of southern and south‐eastern regions of Central Asia. A possible provenance from the Indus valley of the macaque found at Shahr‐i Sokhta can be hypothesized. Although findings of monkey remains are rare, iconographic and written sources widely testify that non‐human primates were imported to the Near East in the fourth‐to‐second millennium BC as luxury animals and symbols of power, often as gifts for the elite. This discovery represents one of the earliest examples of monkeys being kept as pets.

New data on non‐human primates from the ancient Near East: The recent discovery of a rhesus macaque burial at Shahr‐i Sokhta (Iran)

Minniti C.
Primo
;
2019

Abstract

Shahr‐i Sokhta (Iran) was an important urban settlement in the Near East between the end of the fourth millennium and the beginning of the second millennium BC. It entertained trade and cultural relations with ancient sites and cultures on the Indus Plain, southern shores of the Persian Gulf and of the Oman Sea, Southwest Iran, and Central Asia. The recent discovery of a rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) burial in the cemetery of site shed new light on the exploitation of monkeys in antiquity. A young rhesus macaque—around 5 years old at death—was buried in the necropolis according to the same funerary practices used for human infants. The monkey was buried in a simple pit, together with an unpainted pear‐shaped beaker. Both its femurs were pathological, due to a sort of dystrophic calcification of the tendon or muscle insertion, that may suggest the macaque was kept in captivity and died due to physical stress. No non‐human primate species is native of Iran; rhesus macaques inhabit parts of southern and south‐eastern regions of Central Asia. A possible provenance from the Indus valley of the macaque found at Shahr‐i Sokhta can be hypothesized. Although findings of monkey remains are rare, iconographic and written sources widely testify that non‐human primates were imported to the Near East in the fourth‐to‐second millennium BC as luxury animals and symbols of power, often as gifts for the elite. This discovery represents one of the earliest examples of monkeys being kept as pets.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11587/430151
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