under the Median Dynasty
tombs of the Median dynasty priests have been discovered
500 meters from a religious site in Qom
province known as Zarbolagh.
found in the tombs has made the experts relate
them to Median priests, either Zoroastrian or
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
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).