Mummies from the S alt Mountain
First the earth shook, then the s alt mine gave way and buried the miners. 2400 years later they come to light again - mummified in the Persian s alt mountain Douzlākh. We now know quite a bit about the ancient miners: how they once worked, how they dressed and what parasites plagued them.
An unmistakable smell hung in the gloom of the mine. A strange mixture, young Farshid thought: the sweat of the miners, the smoke of the oil lamps, the earthy haze of clay and the raw charm of s alt. The 15-year-old looked around. In the glow of the lights, three dozen miners broke pieces of s alt from the wall. Their monotonous pounding echoed off the craggy walls. Men had been hammering the crystals out of the mountain for three generations. That's how Farshid's workmates told it, the slightly older Navib and the more experienced Aaram. In the meantime, the miners had carved a large hall into the mighty layer of s alt, measuring about 25 to 30 meters from side to side.
Navib grabbed a spherical pot and poured oil into one hand. After handing the vessel to Farshid, he rubbed the oil between his hands. Aaram also creamed himself. Without the shiny layer, the s alt would crack the skin. As Navib began breaking white crystals from the wall with his hammer, Aaram opened his goatskin sack. Farshid did the same. The older man instructed the newcomer to pick up the broken goods together. Safely packed, they carried the sparkling crystals for days and returned to refill their sacks. In between, they swept up the clay and gypsum chunks that were running through the s alt dome in the wall with hand brooms and shoved them onto the overburden in the s alt cavern.
Then it cracked…