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Archaeologists trying to unravel mystery of camouflaged Median monument


24 April 2005


A team of Iranian archaeologists is trying to solve the riddle of why a newly discovered Median monument had been deliberately concealed with material such as stones, bricks, and mud, the director of the team working at the site announced on Tuesday.

“The monument contains one large and one small room constructed in a circular plan. The rooms have been filled almost to the ceiling with stones and their outer section has been hidden with a wall made of stone and brick which is about two meters thick,” said Mehrdad Malekzadeh, head of archaeologists working in the ancient site of Zarbolagh near the central Iranian city of Qom.

“The arrangement of the stones and the high precision (used in their construction) indicate that the camouflage had been created deliberately. In fact, the inhabitants probably wanted to prevent any access to the monument in the future,” he said.

Such camouflage has only been observed at the Median sites of Nushijan Tepe in Malayer in Hamedan Province, Ozbaki Tepe near Savojbolagh in Tehran Province, and Vasun near Kahak in Markazi Province.

“Excavations carried out by British archaeologist David Stronach at Nushijan Tepe in the 1960s led to the discovery of a temple with a beautiful fire altar. The temple was the only example of a camouflaged Median monument for years, but another was unearthed at Ozbaki Tepe over the past few years. This one was a sacrifice altar,” Malekzadeh explained.

Archaeologists believe that there are architectural similarities between the camouflaged Median monument at Zarbolagh and the earlier examples at Nushijan Tepe, Ozbaki Tepe, and Vasun.




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