|1- PhD student in Historical Archeology, Islamic Azad University, Science and Research Branch, Tehran, Iran
2- Professor, Department of Archeology, University of Mazandaran, Babolsar, Iran , Reza.email@example.com
3- Research Associate, Research Institute for Research and Development of Humanities, Study and Development Organization, Tehran, Iran.
4- Assistant Professor, Department of Prehistory, Archaeological Research Institute, Cultural Heritage and Tourism Research Institute (RICHT), Tehran, Iran.
Sarakhs plain is located in northeastern Iran and adjacent to Turkmenistan. Regarding Parthian pottery studies in Sarakhs plain, no special components have been considered for it so far. Identification and classification of Parthian pottery in this region can be a good tool to better understand the pottery traditions, study the cultural and economic interactions of the population centers of that period. The research method is based on library and field studies (descriptive and analytical) during a field survey (survey) stage. Based on the surface findings of the field survey, a total of 91 flagship pottery pieces from 14 settlements belonging to the Parthian period were selected for the survey. In fact, this study seeks to answer the question of what were the intra-regional and extra-regional relations of Sarakhs plain during the Parthian period with contemporaries? According to the studies on pottery attributed to the Parthian period in Sarakhs plain, this period can be divided into two periods in the mentioned plain. In the first period (formation of Parthian rule before the reign of Mehrdad I) Sarakhs is influenced by the culture of the Sarakhs oasis of Turkmenistan, and in the second period, until the end of the Parthian period, they are influenced by the well-known cultures of southern Turkmenistan, namely the cultures of Nessa and Merv. The purpose of this study is to identify and introduce Parthian pottery in Sarakhs plain, classification and typology of Parthian pottery in the region. The necessity of the present study is that the pottery cultures of the Parthian settlement of Sarakhs plain are unknown and the present study can provide a better understanding for further research.
Keywords: Archaeology of Northeast Iran, Sarakhs Plain, Parthian Period, Classification of Pottery.
Sarakhs plain as a study point due to its natural potentials and optimal environmental conditions such as altitudes, suitable soil and relatively favorable weather conditions, has been a desirable habitat for the formation of various human communities (Ebrahimi, 1384: 2). Scholars in historical texts have stated the origin of the Parthians in northeastern Iran, especially Khorasan (Asak near present-day Quchan) and their primary capital was Nessa in Turkmenistan (Altheim, 2010: 20). Based on the field surface findings, a total of 91 flagship pottery pieces from 14 settlements belonging to the Parthian period were examined. The method of this research is based on library and field studies (descriptive and analytical) during a field survey (survey) chapter. Documentation of human handicrafts is necessary in terms of studying the background and type of community culture at any point in history.
Research Questions and Hypotheses: In fact, this study seeks to answer the question of what were the intra-regional and extra regional relations of Sarakhs plain during the Parthian period with contemporaneous areas? Therefore, in the present study, surface cultural materials have been interpreted by preparing a statistically citation able and scientific population through archeological study. Analyzes obtained from classification, typology and methodological analysis of this statistical population as well as comparative comparison of pottery species with similar examples of contemporaneous settlements show the formation of sequences of some settlements in the Parthian period and continuous continuity before and after the Parthian period in this Has an area.
Aims of Research: The purpose of this study is to identify and introduce Parthian pottery in Sarakhs plain, classification and typology of Parthian pottery in the region.
Materials and Methods
The present research is based on the purpose of basic research and based on the nature and method of descriptive-analytical research. The basis of the research is the study of Parthian pottery along with library studies. Methods and tools of data collection in this research have been done in two ways: documentation and field activities. In the documentary stage, all written sources, images and maps were first collected and analyzed. In field studies, while surveying the plains in the region and identifying the settlements, the required archaeological information and evidence (pottery) were collected from the mentioned areas and recorded in the database. In order to compare the chronology of the settlements and analyze the pottery of the Parthian settlements, the total pottery collected from 14 Parthian sites was examined and compared with other sites of the Parthian period such as Nessa, Merv and Sarakhs oasis of Turkmenistan. It was not possible to identify more Parthian sites through surface surveys. 91 index pottery were selected for photography, design, classification, typology and comparison with other Parthian sites. The index samples were selected as research materials based on classification and typology. In archeology, when classifying, the differences and similarities of the pottery in question must be clearly evident in the various groups that are distinguished; In such a way that no further explanation is needed for easy identification of one group from another. It is logical to expect that no two groups of objects classified in the main and important criteria are common to each other (Azarnoosh 1377: 76). In the present study, first, in a general division, pottery pieces are divided into five general categories, including: 1- edge 2- body 3- floor 4- base 5- handle, and then edge pieces that can be recognized in the form of a container.
Discussion and Results
In this study, 91 Parthian pottery pieces were identified from 14 ancient settlements related to the Parthian period, many of which have chronological sequences and in addition to the works of the Parthian period, also have the works of other periods. Settlements were classified based on pottery typology, comparative studies of pottery find, and archaeological excavations in southern Turkmenistan, northeastern Iran, eastern Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other regions within and outside the region. A total of 26 sites in 11 areas for this study in the order in which it is presented has the most references. Based on this, a table was designed for each cultural region and settlements of each basin in which the amount and percentage of comparison is clearly significant (Table 2).
Archaeological study of Sarakhs plain and 91 surface pottery pieces from 14 Parthian settlements were considered as the main foundation for relative chronology, classification and typology of the research. In order to obtain a scientific answer to show the cultural interactions, the method of comparative analysis was used and the findings of the archaeological study of Sarakhs plain were compared with the findings of intra-regional and extra-regional contemporaneous areas. These similarities, taxonomy, morphology, typology, and cultural connections were evident and analyzed. What results from the study of Parthian pottery findings obtained from the Sarakhs plain; According to the studies carried out on pottery attributed to the Parthian period in Sarakhs plain, this period can be divided into two periods in the mentioned plain, in the first period (formation of the Parthian government before The accession of Mehrdad I) to the Sarakhs plain is influenced by the Sarakhs oasis culture of Turkmenistan, and in the second period, until the end of the Parthian period, they are influenced by the well-known cultures of southern Turkmenistan, namely the cultures of Nessa and Merv. The presence of these pottery indicates a two-way and dynamic relationship.