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Parseh J Archaeol Stud 2021, 5(16): 201-226 Back to browse issues page
Archaeobotanical Researches in Bampur Castel, Iranshar, Baluchestān
Zohreh Shirazi 1, Nozar Hedari2
1- Archaeologist, Botanical World Heritage Site, Sistan and Baluchestan, Iran. , zohrehshirazi2003@yahoo.com
2- Archaeologist, Head of Bampur Castle Archaeological Survey, Sistan and Baluchestan, Iran
Abstract:   (1122 Views)
Bampur historical complex is located in Makran – Jazmourian Basin in a flat plain in the Northwest of Bampur city, the capital of the region and 4 km to the North of Bampur River (20 km to the east of Iranshar). Extensive firing and burnt vestiges are one of the most characteristics phenomena at Bampur Castel. The evidence of firing is scattered nearly all over the site and it is not limited just to spaces like pits or kitchens. The diversity and abundance of brunt materials (seed of cereals, fruit remains, woods, charcoals and mat-made shoes) allowed us to use them for archaeobotanical studies. Due to the limited archaeological excavations especially in prehistoric sites, Iranian Baluchestān has so far been less-known from archaeobotanical and history of vegetation point of view. This research present the results of studies on the plant remains obtained from some pits and firing debris belonged to the Qajar period’s layers. The purpose of the study was to recognize the vegetation around the site and the type of plants used by the inhabitants during that period. Microscopic observations and analyze of 2301 charcoal fragments, woods, seeds, rachis segments and fruit remains showed that the vegetation cover around the Castel included trees such as tamaris, willow, acacia, musquit bean and date palm. They used the wood of these trees to meet their fuel needs (especially tamaris) or as construction materials (willow, acacaia and mesquites). Given the current ecology and geographical distribution of these species, it is reasonable to assume that the identified trees are native to the area and have grown around the Castel. Also the remains of Cereals (wheat and barley), fruits (date palm) and Cucurbits (Watermelon and melon) found in the firing debris testify agricultural activities. In addition, further evidence is attested by the presence of burnt seeds of the wild plants or weedy such as rye, bermuda grass, brome, wild grass, vetch milk, vetch, medic, goosefoot family, knotweed, seepweed, cowherb, asphodel and sedge family (present in the fields along with agricultural products).
Keywords: Archaeobotany, Bampur Castle, Wood utilization, Qajar Period, Southeastern Iran.

The study of vegetal remains is not solely limited to climate change that occurs normaly over a long period of time. It could be used for reconstruction of vegetal cover, cultivation patterns or the introduction of non – native species compatible with the environment of a specific region. 
Bampur castel is located, in a flat plain on the northwest side of Bampur city, 4 km north of Bampur River and 20 km east of Iranshahr. The castel have a rectangular – oval shape in the northeast- southwest axis. Due to the best state of conservation at the site, large quantity of vegetal remains including seeds, fruit remains, woods, charcoals and reed mat and other artefcats were found in archaeological contexts. 
The present research will study plant data obtained from the excavated layers in the second season of excavations at Bampur castel conducted by Nozar Heydari in 2018 (heydari 2018). Here, we will try to answer to the following questions: 1. What was the vegetal cover around Bampur in the late Islamic period (Qajar period)? 2. Which kind of woods were used by the inhabitants of the region during that period? 3. What plants species were cultivated by the inhabitants as food resources?
Unfortunately archaeobotanical studies have not been realized in Iranian Baluchestān. Henece, for the first time archaeobotanical studies have been applied to identify the vegetation history of the area, the plant resources and the possible existence of non – native species. The Information on the agriculture and plant economy of Pakistani Baluchestān during the prehistoric times has been available (Tengberg, 1998; 1999; Tengberg & Thiebault, 2003; Costantini, 1981; 1990). However in the Iranian Baluchestān, no specialized study has been conducted in this field. In the southeasten part of the Iranian Plateau and in the Indo-Iranian Borderlands (Sistan, Baluchestān and Kerman) several long-term environmental studies have been carried out in some prehistoric sites by iranian and foreign experts resulted in obtaining valuable information on the history of agriculture and vegetal cover of the area (Costantini & Costantini-Biasini, 1985; Costantini, 1977a-b;  Costantini, 1979; Meadow, 1986; Shirazi & Shirazi, 2012; Tengberg, 2008; Mashkour et al., 2013 ; Vaezi et al., 2019; Hamzeh et al., 2016; Gurjazkaite et al., 2018; Shirazi 2019; Kavosh et al., 2020).

Material and Method
In the second season of excavations a total of six trenches were excavated including:  W1.T2, W1.T3, W1.T4, W1.T5, W1.T6, W1.T7. The archaeobotanical data were obtained from W1.T2, W1.T3, W1.T4, W1.T5. Extensive traces of fire and ashe were scattered all around the castel. Considering the diversity and large quantities of plant remains (grains, fruitstones, charcoals, woods and artefacts) it was decided to select them for archaeobotanical studies. In total, 10 samples from contexts such as pits and fire debris have been collected. From 153 litres of collected debris by water sieving, about 5690 ml. plant remains including seeds, fruitstones and rachis segments were obtainted. Laboratory studies of these data have been done in the Archaeobotanical Laboratory of the World Heritage Site of Shahr-i Sokhta.

A total of 310 fragments of charcoal and woods and 1991 seeds, fruit stones and rachis segments were studies. Anthracological digramme indicates the presence of various trees and shrubs such as tamaris (Tamarix spp.), willow (Salix sp.), date palm (Phoenix dactylifera), acacia (Acacia sp.) and mesquites (Prosopis sp.). The relative abundance of tamaris and willow is higher (79%) than other plants. Tropical plants such as acacia and mesquites (15%) and fruits like date palm (6%) are in the second and third ranks respectively. This evidence shows that the inhabitants used the wood of tamaris as fule and willow, acacia and mesquites as construction materials. Given the habitat and geopraphical distribution of the actual vegetation, it is quite reasonable to assume that the identified trees are native to the area.
In addition to the identified trees, carpological digramme indicates the existence of various crops like cultivated cereals  (emmer wheat/Triticum dicoccum), bread wheat /T. aestivum, club wheat /T. compacteum and barley/Hordeum vulgare), fruits and cucurbits (date palm, melon and watermelon), wild grasses (rye, bermuda grass, brome), wild pulses (vetch milk, vetch, medic), and wild plant or weedy (goosefoot family, knotweed, seepweed, cowherb, asphodel and sedge family) that were present in the fields along with agricultural products.

According to our study, plant resources around Bampur includs trees such as tamaris, willow, acacia, date palm and mesquites. Tamaris is the main source of fuel in the region and willow, acacia and mesquites have been used as construction materials (beams for building strengthen). The remains of charcoal and wood of these trees in the explored contexts show that the inhabitants of the castel did not need to import wood from other areas to meet their needs and were completely self-sufficient in this regard. In addition to these tree, which grew naturally in the past as they do today, Baluchestān also enjoyed favorable conditions for cultivation of cereals (emmer wheat, bread wheat, club wheat and barley), cucurbits (melon and water melon) and other fruits especially date palm. 
Keywords: Archaeobotany, Bampur Castle, Wood utilization, Qajar Period, Southeastern Iran.
Full-Text [PDF 2737 kb]   (113 Downloads)    
Type of Study: Research | Subject: Interdisciplinary
Received: 2021/02/4 | Accepted: 2021/04/19 | Published: 2021/09/1
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Shirazi Z, Hedari N. Archaeobotanical Researches in Bampur Castel, Iranshar, Baluchestān. Parseh J Archaeol Stud. 2021; 5 (16) :201-226
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