X-ray and X-ray CT of Iranian auto mummies

Salt man Fractures diagnosed after 2000 years by X-ray and X-ray CT  “non-medical X-ray use in Archeology”


1-Jalal Jalal Shokouhi – M.D.- Radiologist and consultant for historical objects, handmade, and archeological imaging. Jamejam center ,Tehran, Iran ” ISR”: speaker
2-Abdol-rasoul Vatandoost, PHD – conservation scientist – Research center for conservation of cultural relics, Tehran – Iran.
3-Manigheh Hadian – M.S. – conservation scientist – Research center for conservation of cultural relics, Tehran – Iran.
4-Abolfazl Aali – M.S. – Head of archeological excavation, Zanjan IRAN
5-Ali Akbar Khadem – M.S. Digital image processing and CAD – CAM – Sapco – Tehran, IRAN.
6-Morteza Fattahi – PhD. Geophysics, Oxford University, London – UK.

Very good penetrance of X- ray make it useful in radiography and CT – Scanning of paintings, artifacts, glasses, ceramics and even metallic objects especially in archeology.
They are 3 types of auto-mummies, Ice MAN, Soup Man and salt man.  There are 6 bodies of salt man is Iran, Rare in the world. They saved in salt mine from 1800 to 2000 years before.
Salt man historical ages are 1800-2000 years measured by Radio active carbon 14 from years of powerful world emperor Sasanian “about 200 – 300 years before Islam”.
I managed imaging of salt man No: 1 and 4 by Radiographies, 2D CT and 3D CT.
-There are multiple Fractures in bodies of salt man from an earthquake occurred 1800-2000 years before. These fractures are waited so many years for X-ray of Roentgen and CT SCAN of Hansfield to assessment.
There are multiple skulls, long bones, Rib and other bones fractures demonstrated by images.

Materials and Methods

The first mummy was found in Hamzeloo village of Zanjan province (North west of Iran) in 1993 at a salt mine near Chehrabad River, that contained Lt. shoulder, neck, skull, left leg and a foot sole inside a precious boot.
At history of cultural anthropology there are three kinds of mummies:
1- Ice man who was found at Alpine mountain, and melted gradually after discovery “needs conservation in low temperature”.
2- Soap men which were fatty, and when they had contact with clay there was a combination of fat and clay “kind of soap” that covered the corps, and made it a mummy.
3- Salt men which were salty and dry, like smoked fish, because salt stone mine is sterile, and dehydrated.
As X-Ray penetrates painting canvas, Ceramic, wooden things, metal things, it can help us for knowing about ancient human beings.
we can pass X- ray from bodies, and even graves. ( special portable X- ray unit).
Scientific actions on salt men include :
Plain  X-ray, X-ray – CT Scan, Sectional Scan and secondary tridimensional  reconstruction, spectroscopy with high energy, hair DNA research for diagnosing of blood group type, and genetic, using calculation of radioactive carbon No 14 half life for finding historical age, DNA printing, chromatography of thin layer of cloth color, microbiology, determining of rare elements, knowing about cloth pattern, and shoes cut, archeological procedures, tools metallurgy, sexology with finding beard and mustache and in cases without any hairs(Salt man number 4) we had to do pelvic X-ray result, and finally it was a 15.5 – 16 years – old boy.(Age from wrist and palm and thumb bones).

1- First salt man complete investigation has done on it, and we have to use CAD-CAM method and SLA machine to build polymer similar of its head and neck bones.

2- Second salt man:
It is a complete skeleton of body without meat, skin and hair.

3- Third salt man
contained some skeleton and some skin and hair.
Pelvic parts of case No 2, and case No 3 were deficient, and they have to go for X- ray after rebuilding.

4- The fourth salt man who was though a woman was mummified spontaneously completely with clothes, jars, knife and shoes.
Distance of elbows and hands were longer than Gantry of CT “65cm”. Therefore it was studied in CT with Gantry 70 cm.
Mummy position looks like he was escaping and ceiling has fallen on him and he was killed with a pitiful condition.

5- pelvic X- ray, DNA investigation, and genetic investigation showed its sexuality, and he was 15.5 -16 year old ” epiphysis of thumb finger” and it was a man.
“Acute angle under pubis symphisis at pelvic bone which is under 60ْ   in men and above 110ْ   in women”.

6- the first salt man had earrings and seemed rich and like a chief officer or general but the forth salt man had silver earrings and looked like a worker.

7-  the fifth and sixth  salt man are found but they are not investigated. They are complete, and the sixth salt man is still inside mine.

Findings and result

There were nothing found at the first salt man X- ray at legal-medicine, but at two dimensional and three dimensional X- ray CT showed obvious orbital fractures, and shrank brain tissue showed the position of his long sleep. Gold earrings and his precious hand made boot with tall body told us maybe he had been senior officer. There were lots of stones and sands in the boot and because of shrinking the leather the length of sole was reduced and bones were compressed and over-rided.
It’s skin changed and reached to a density like a bone or sand. It was from 1800 – 2000 years ago that belonged to Sasanian period, and before coming Islam to Iran. Real age was 40 year – old ” teeth investigation”.
Apparent from of corpus, Geographic topography, and radiological actions are at booklet of Iran cultural heritage.
Nowadays the first salt man is keeping at Iran Ancient Museum in Tehran, the second, the third, the forth salt men are keeping at Rakhtshoykhane museum in Zanjan.
The sixth salt man is in mine and the mine is under discovering.


1- Personal work on the samples at CT Scan department in “Chamran – Baghiatollah Azam – Athari – Jamejam” in Tehran  Iran

2- International symphasioms of salt men, Tehran Iran 1988 and  2007

3- Booklet of research center of keeping and repairing cultural and historical relic.
4- Booklet of salt men at archeological research center 2005.

5- many magazines of  Electronedica, medical solutions, magnetom flash, GMBH – Erlongen, Siemens – Germany

6- Europian Radiology supplements: Vol 15- supple 4/ Novemler 5005springs verlog.