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Discovery of Kingly Residence in the Parthian Zahak Castle


News Category: Arsacid/Parthian Dynasty (248 BCE - 224 CE)

 25 December 2005



By: Ashkdokht Suren-Pahlav, Tehran


LONDON, (CAIS) - The sixth season of archaeological excavation and restoration in Zahak castle has ended with the discovery of a kingly residence. 


"This sixth season concentrated on the eastern part of the castle in an area conversing 600 sq.m., which consists of six trenches 10x10 meters in diameter", Javad Qandgar, the director of archaeological team told news reporters.


“In this season, we have continued last years’ research in which we have discovered remains of various rooms, hallways and architectural elements and murals belonging to the Arsacid dynastic era”, Qandschi announced.


“After the removal of debris from the rooms and hallways we start recording the archaeological remains and drew a main plan for the newly discovered site. Though, the architectural materials, backed clay and stone which were used to construct this section of the fort are the same as the rest of the monument, the material, building style and the stucco decorations are different”, he stated.


“The gypsums that were used are of microlithic quality. The decorations are refined and very detailed and have been painted over in various colours, in contrast to the rest of currently discovered stuccos in the castle” said Qandgar.


He continued, “we have also discovered mosaics covering floors of the rooms, that require special recovery procedure and repair, and due to the ending of this season and harsh winter ahead we have postponed it for the next archaeological season. At the moment we have covered them with sifted sand, quoted over with a layer of cob (a mixture of clay and straw) for protection”.


The themes of the discovered murals and stuccos are geometrical forms including the wheels of the Sun (Swastika), plants and vegetation. Two of the stuccos showing the Wheel of the Sun have been transferred to the East Azarbaijan museum for restoration. At the same time the restoration team have managed to restore a collapsed stonewall located in the southern part of the castle known as the Dokhtar fort.


“The plan and style of the building as well as the decorations and the plasterworks indicate that at the time of the Arsacid dynasty it was occupied by the master of the castle or was reserved for the imperial visit”, he concluded.


Zahak castle was one of the most important Parthian fortified structures located in Hashtrud, in the East Azarbaijan province.



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