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:: year 5, Issue 18 (3-2022) ::
Parseh J Archaeol Stud 2022, 5(18): 7-29 Back to browse issues page
“Coba” Bowls in Kermanshah Plain: Traces of the Late Chalcolithic Pottery Tradition of Northern Mesopotamia in the Central Zagros
Mandana Sadafi1, Sajjad Alibaigi 2, Francois Desset3
1- M.A. Student of Archeology, Department of Archeology, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran.
2- Assistant Professor, Department of Archeology, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, Razi University, Kermanshah, Iran. , sadjadalibaigi@gmail.com
3- PhD in Archeology, Sorbonne University, Paris, France; Postdoctoral Researcher of Archeology, Department of Archeology, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.
Abstract:   (756 Views)
Abstract
Considering the importance of the Late Chalcolithic Period, especially at the end of the period, we see the emergence of the first cities and early state formation; therefore identifying the types of sites and cultural materials of this period can add important information to our knowledge about it. Among the most noteworthy tendencies of this period are the population growth, the expansion of exchange, and growing craft specialization. Despite our knowledge of different types of cultural materials, especially the pottery traditions of the Late Chalcolithic Period of the Central Zagros region, our knowledge of “Coba” pottery in Iran is limited. which were mass-produced in the northern Mesopotamia, Syria and Turkey in different forms during the “Post-Ubaid” and from the LC1 period onwards. So far, there has been little discussion about the presence of this type of vessel in Iran. This study examines Coba bowls in western Iran, especially the Kermanshah plain, and tries to answer the questions by a descriptive andanalytical method, while discussing the technological characteristics and the time span of Coba bowls in the prehistoric site of Taq-e Bustan? Also, what view do these new findings give us in terms of the distribution of these wares? The abundance of these bowls in the excavation of Taq-e Bustan in 2015 and other discovered samples from Kermanshah province and western Iran provide new evidence that this pottery tradition covered a wide area in western Iran. These samples show that we are facing a significant abundance of type 3 and 4 of Coba bowls and the bold presence of these types indicates the spread of this ware to western parts of Iran such as the Central Zagros in the Early Uruk period.
Keywords: Kermanshah, Taq-e Bustan, Late Chalcolithic, Post-Ubaid, Coba Bowls.

Introduction
Given that the fourth millenium B.C coincides with major structural changes, including the emergence of social hierarchy, technological innovations and economic reorganization, and finally the emergence early states and cities, the presence and distribution of Coba bowls, also known as mass-produced, represents a wider range of communication and interaction in the early fourth mill B.C between Mesopotamia and the Central Zagros than previously thought. Here, we aim to answer the two following questions: What are the technological characteristics of the prehistoric Taq-e Bustan place bowls? Which time period does this type of ware cover? Also, what image do these new findings provide of the distributional pattern? Therefore, the authors in this article will try to evaluate the presence of these findings in relation to the origin of this pottery and the main area of its development.
The area of Taq-e Bustan West Park, which is also known as Parthian Cemetery, is located in the northeast of Kermanshah city and the foothills of the mountains and in the west of Taq-e Bustan historical place next to a spring full of water at an altitude of 1395 meters above sea level. During the excavations of this area in 1394, a new collection of finds associated with the fourth millennium BC (traces of the Late Chalcolithic Period settlement beneath the layers containing the Parthian Cemetery) was revealed. During the initial studies, this area was considered to be on the same horizon as the Godin IV3 period.

Discussion
During the classification, typology and comparison of the pottery collection, one of the special types of pottery forms called Coba bowl was revealed in this area. The Coba bowls are the hallmark of the Post-Ubaid ceramic horizon, which has been present in four different types from the LC1 to LC3, in a wide range, including northern Mesopotamia, Anatolia and Syria. Samples of bowls from the Taq-e Bustan site are found in large numbers, upside down on the bottom floor and inside the jar. The presence of these bowls along with spherical body bowls (also know as curved bowl) -with simple rim and grooved body-, beaded-rim bowls, bowls similar to Hammerhead bowl, painted pottery comparable to pottery from Godin Tapeh of the VI3 period and other forms of pottery, are important. Based on the comparisons made, and considering the samples with absolute chronology of the Central Plateau, Central Zagros and areas outside the borders of Iran, as well as according to the radiocarbon samples obtained from the Godin period VI1, a date of about 3800 or 3700 (LC2-3) can be suggested for the settlement of Late Chalcolithic period of the Taq-e Bustan and its pottery. Samples of bowls from the Taq-e-Bostan prehistoric place are comparable to Coba bowls, such as Wide-Flower pots, conical, or V-shaped bowls. These bowls, which are considered as a relatively unknown types of this period in Iran, have not been noticed so far, if in addition to the Taq-e Bustan site, they have been obtained from Ja-baq site in Doroud Faraman of Kermanshah, Tepe Kheibar of Rawansar, Tapeh Morad Weis 2 in Sar Pol-e Zahab, Godin Tapeh period VI3, Shahzade Abdollah site in Khorramabad, Garmesi Site in Deh Luran, Tepe Badamyar of Rabat and Qale Nane in Marivan. The presence of this type of pottery in areas far from its already known areas of distribution, especially in the Central Zagros, can provide a new perspective for transregional interactions and further our understanding of the nature of society in the early fourth millennium BC in the Zagros.

Conclusion
Among the cultural finds of this site, the Wide-Flower pots with a relatively rough and uneven surface, straw temper and generally with grey core have a strong presence in the studied assemblage. Its already known sphere of development includes the northern Mesopotamia, Syria and Anatolia. The Coba bowls are an important feature of the Post-Ubaid ceramic horizon which lasts until the LC3 period. According to the division that the researchers have considered for Coba bowls, the Coba bowls of the prehistoric site of Taq-e Bustan are comparable to the third and fourth types of this V-shaped bowl, which are mostly known in the eastern areas such as Keban, Habur and Iraqi Jezira. It is certain that with further excavations and surveys, there is a possibility of changing this zoning/sphere, because examples of these bowls (V shape) are also found in western areas such as Amuq, Cilicia and southern Anatolia. These bowls are generally referred to as mass-produced bowls due to the discovery of large quantities in archaeological contexts, and the function attributed to this type of bowl generally includes household activities. Excavation in the prehistoric site of Taq-e Bustan shows the expansion of the Coba bowl sphere to the western regions of Iran, such as the Kermanshah plain in the Central Zagros. Existence of these bowls along with other comparable pottery forms in different regions within the current borders of Iran and many comparable examples in the Mesopotamia, Anatolia and Syria and the use of the Flint-scrap Technique on the surface of vessels of these sites, especially the bowls which are one of the features of the Northern Mesopotamian pottery tradition (Chaff faced-ware or Post-Ubaid culture) during the late fifth and early fourth millennium BC, indicate the prevalence and continuity of the presence of Northern Mesopotamian pottery traditions, along with the early Uruk pottery culture in the Central Zagros. This reflects the extensive regional and trans-regional relations between these areas.
Keywords: Kermanshah, Taq-e Bustan, Late Chalcolithic, Post-Ubaid, Coba Bowls.
Full-Text [PDF 1609 kb]   (132 Downloads)    
Type of Study: Research | Subject: Special Archeology
Received: 2021/06/14 | Accepted: 2021/07/1 | Published: 2022/03/1
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Sadafi M, Alibaigi S, Desset F. “Coba” Bowls in Kermanshah Plain: Traces of the Late Chalcolithic Pottery Tradition of Northern Mesopotamia in the Central Zagros. Parseh J Archaeol Stud. 2022; 5 (18) :7-29
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