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Tombs of Median Priests Found in Qom Province


29 May 2005


Iran under the Median Dynasty



Two tombs of the Median dynasty priests have been discovered 500 meters from a religious site in Qom province known as Zarbolagh.


Evidence found in the tombs has made the experts relate them to Median priests, either Zoroastrian or Mihtraist.

The two discovered tombs apparently date back to the Iron Age. Usually these are filled with ritual offerings buried alongside the dead, but no burial objects or pottery remains, except for two unique bronze bracelets with snake heads at each end on the corpse’s left hands, have been found in the tombs.

The stone graveyard of Zarbolagh, where the tombs have been uncovered, is located 75 kilometers out of Tehran toward Qom and is one of the interesting archaeological sites of Iran. Excavations carried out so far on the site have helped discover a religious stony-monument dating back to the first Iranian dynasty, the Medes (728-550 BCE).

According to head of the excavation team of Zarbolagh, Mehrdad Malekzadeh, smugglers had previously looted some of the tombs of the site, but had left no potsherds around the tombs. Amazed, the archaeologists dug another rocky area of the site to carry out their own studies.

In a depth of 2 meters, the two tomb stones dating to the Iron Age were discovered, but several differences were identified between these two and others of the era. 


“Unlike other Iron Age tombs, no free space or remains of soil have been found in between the skeleton and the tomb stone,” explained Malekzadeh, adding that just a thin layer of ashes remaining of plants have been found there most probably put there to prevent the direct contact of the stone with the corpse.

According to Malekzadeh, the location of the tombs inside rocks is proof of the importance of the tomb owners because their people had gone through so much trouble to give them such a burial place, and the fact that nothing was buried alongside the dead has led the experts to identify their owners of unworldly people.

The Medes were an Iranian people who by the 8th century BCE led the nation to form their first government and empire, which was included most of modern-Iran, Arran province (the modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan), Armenia, Northern Iraq, Eastern Turkey, and parts of Central Asia and Afghanistan and centered at Ecbatana (present day Hamadan).



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