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Smugglers of Ancient Relics Causing Irrevocable Damage to Zahak Castle




28 September 2005


A team of archaeologists recently discovered the Parthian cemetery of the Zahak Castle, an expert of the team announced on Wednesday.

“We conducted several excavations of separate parts of the castle last year,” Javad Qandgar said.


“However, we noticed that some parts of the site had been destroyed by smugglers, who found the cemetery earlier,” he added.


Located in the Hashtrud region of East Azarbaijan Province, Zahak Castle is considered one of the few extremely important Parthian sites and has been excavated several times by experts of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (CHTO) in recent years.


Qandgar stated that the archaeologists would not excavate the entire site due to the lack of proper security.


“If the cemetery is left unguarded after the entire excavation is finished, the site will be plundered again by smugglers,” he warned.


There are plans to establish a permanent research facility and guard house in order to protect the cemetery after the excavations are completed, he explained.


Parthian cemeteries are important sites since they are not discovered frequently.


During the most recent studies, archaeologists also discovered some mud brick ruins decorated with colored plaster at the Zahak Castle.  




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