Tehran, August 13 : Recent studies of a team of archeologists have shown that 5000 years ago (3200 BC) women had the economic control of the Burnt City in Iran.
The Burnt City has been continually excavated since the 1970s by Iranian and Italian archaeological teams, with new discoveries periodically reported.
Covering an area of 151 hectares, the city was built around 3200 BC and abandoned over a millennium later in 2100 BC.
The city experienced four stages of civilization and was burnt down three times. It took its eventual named because it was never rebuilt after the last fire.
According to Seyed Mansour Seyed Sajjadi, director of the team working at the Burnt City in Sistan-Baluchestan Province, southeastern Iran, some paleo-anthropologists believe that mothers in the Burnt City had social and financial prominence.
Sajjadi said that 5000 year-old insignias, made of river pebbles and believed to belong only to distinguished inhabitants of the city, were found in the graves of some female citizens.
Some believe that the female owners of the insignias used them to place their seal on valuable documents. Others believe the owners may have used the seal to indicate their lofty status in society.
In December 2006, archaeologists discovered the world's earliest artificial eyeball in the city's necropolis, thought to have been worn by a female resident of the Burnt City. he artificial eye is a hemisphere with a diameter of just over 2.5 cm (1 inch). It consists of very light material, probably bitumen paste.
The surface of the artificial eye is covered with a thin layer of gilding and is engraved with a circle at its center to represent the iris. The eye includes gold lines patterned like the rays of the sun.
A hole has been drilled through the eyeball, through which a golden thread is thought to have held the eyeball in place.
Microscopic research has revealed that the eye socket of the female remains bear clear imprints of the golden thread, suggesting that the woman must have worn the eyeball during her lifetime.
With her shining golden eye, she must have been a striking figure, perhaps a soothsayer or an oracle, thus signifying the importance of women in the city.