The cemetery of Khalid Nabi in north east Iran is a national heritage site protected by the Iranian government. It contains over 600 standing stones from the 17-19th centuries with forms that resemble human genitalia.
Type 1 is a cylindrical column type with a cap-like top which is considered a representation of a male phallic symbol. David Stronach, a Scottish archeologist of ancient Iran and Iraq, disputes this popular notion and interprets the stones to be depictions of men with helmets and in some cases with clearly visible turbans.
Type 2 stones with rectangular sections and two opposed high-set lobes supposedly represent the female reproductive organs. Stronach interprets these as human shapes with arms in akimbo position as visible in two elaborately carved stones on the site which clearly show the human shape.
A mother kisses her child for the last time as an angel looking toward heaven grasps the child’s feet.
A child, raising a blanket to cover his mother, leans toward her with a parting kiss. The monument celebrates Francesca Warzee, wife of a Belgian entrepreneur.
A young boy with hat in hand kisses the image of his sister.
A young woman lovingly kisses her sister.
Kisses between lovers always seemed to be entitled The Last Goodbye or the Eternal Kiss.
Cold in the earth—and the deep snow piled above thee, Far, far removed, cold in the dreary grave! Have I forgot, my only Love, to love thee, Severed at last by Time’s all-severing wave?”
…The first verse of a poem by Emily Bronte, “Remembrance”
These human remains were unearthed in 1972 at the Teppe Hasanlu archaeological site, located in the Solduz Valley in the West Azerbaijan Province of Iran. The site was burned after a military attack. People from both fighting sides were killed in the fire, which apparently spread quite unexpectedly and quickly through the town. The skeletons were found in a plaster grain bin, probably hiding from soldiers, and they almost certainly asphyxiated quickly. The “head wound” is actually from modern-day excavators.