Iran’s South Khorasan Province is home to a unique village with a long history. The name of it is Makhunik. This strange settlement, also called the country of Lilliputians, is one of the seven most amazing places in the world because of its amazing architecture.
When you read about Makhunik, you might think of “Liliput City (Court of Lilliput)” from Jonathan Swift’s famous book Gulliver’s Travels or the planet where Hobbits live in J. R. R. Tolkien’s book and movie The Lord of the Rings.
This is not a dream, though. It is a really amazing archaeological find. In Shahdad, Kerman province, an Iranian village called Makhunik that is 5,000 years old and was once home to dwarfs was found. It is called Shahr-e Kotouleha (City of Dwarfs).
There are shops, places to live, and cemeteries in the city. Archaeological research in the residential area of the City of Dwarfs showed that there were subdistricts where jewelers, artists, and farmers lived. During the digging phases, about 800 graves from the past were found.
Archaeological studies in the City of Dwarfs show that the people who lived there left because of a drought 5,000 years ago and never came back. Mir-Abedin Kaboli, who is in charge of the archeological digs in Shahdad, said, “After the most recent digs, we saw that the people of Shahdad had left a lot of their belongings in their homes and covered the doors with mud.” He also said, “This shows that they thought they would come back someday.” Kaboli says that the drought is the reason why the Shahdad people left.
The strange buildings, streets, and tools that were found at the site are an important part of Shahdad.
The walls, ceiling, furnaces, shelves, and all the other tools could only be used by dwarfs. After the City of Dwarfs in Shahdad was found, along with stories about the people who lived there, there were rumors that dwarf bones had been found.
The most recent example was the discovery of a small mummy that was only 25 cm tall. The drug smugglers planned to sell it for 80 billion rials in Germany. The news that two smugglers had been caught and that a strange mummy had been found quickly spread through Kerman province.
After that, people from the Kerman Cultural Heritage Department and the police met to talk about the condition of the mummy, which is said to be that of a 17-year-old person.
Archaeologists are careful and even deny that ancient dwarfs used to live in the city of Makhunik. “Since forensic studies couldn’t figure out the gender of the body, we can’t use them to talk about its height and age, and more anthropological studies are still needed to find out more about the discovery,” says Javadi, an archeologist with the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Kerman province.
“Even if it can be proven that the body is that of a dwarf, we can’t be sure that the area where it was found in Kerman province was the city of dwarfs. This area is very old, but it has been buried by changes in the land. Also, technology wasn’t as advanced back then, so people might not have been able to build houses with high walls,” he says.
“Iran has never had mummies in its history, so the idea that this body is one is not accepted at all.
If it turns out that this body was from Iran, then the story was made up.
Due to the minerals in the soil, all of the bones in this area have broken down, and no whole skeleton has yet been found. On the other hand, despite 38 years of archeological digging in Shahdad, no dwarf cities have been found in the area.
The walls of the homes that are still standing are now 80 cm high, but they used to be 190 cm high. Should we say that the people who lived in these houses were 5 cm tall because some of the remaining walls are 5 cm high? Mirabedin Kaboli, who is in charge of archaeological digs in Shahdad City, says.
But in many places, stories about the Little People have been told for a long time. The bodies of small people have been found in many places, including the western United States, especially in Montana and Wyoming. So, why couldn’t these beings have lived in Iran before Islam?
A local study found that people in Makhunik were rarely taller than 150 cm even just a few years ago, but that they are now about average size.
Since the dwarfs left the city 5,000 years ago, a big part of this ancient area has been covered with dirt, and no one knows where they went.