:: year 4, Issue 14 (2-2021) ::
Parseh J Archaeol Stud 2021, 4(14): 85-99 Back to browse issues page
The Study of Islamic Potteries Discovered from the Historical City of Natel
Hanie Hossein-Nia Amirkolaei1, Seyed Rasool Mousavi Haji 2, Morteza Ataie3, Abdolreza Mohajeri-Nejhd4
1- Ph.D. Student in Archeology, Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Art and Architecture, University of Mazandaran, Mazandaran, Iran.
2- Professor, Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Art and Architecture, University of Mazandaran, Mazandaran, Iran. , seyyed_rasool@yahoo.com
3- Assistant Professor, Department of Archeology, Faculty of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism, University of Mazandaran, Mazandaran, Iran.
4- Assistant Professor of Archaeological Research Institute, Cultural Heritage and Tourism Research Institute (RICHT), Tehran, Iran.
Abstract:   (2580 Views)
Abstract
The ancient site of Natel is located in the village of Natel Kenar-e Olia, a district of the city of Nour, which is 6 kilometers southwest of this city in the west of Mazandaran province. According to historical written sources, this city was considered as one of the important cities in Tabaristan during the Abbasid period and had a military garrison. Due to the importance of this historical site, in addition to archaeological surveys, three excavations have been carried out in this site so far in 2008, 2010, and 2016 under the supervision of Abdolreza Mohajerinejad. The present study focuses on some pottery findings of the first and second seasons of these excavations, during which 2166 pieces of glazed and non-glazed pottery were obtained among other findings. Chronology of the aforementioned samples and consequently more detailed and precise knowledge of the settlement periods, better and greater recognition of the pottery of this site, in particular, and pottery of the Islamic period in the southern margin of the Mazandaran Sea, in general, awareness of the similarity and differences of the pottery obtained from this site with the major pottery centers of the Islamic era required a thorough and in-depth study of these samples in the form of classification, typology, and a typological comparison that was carried out in this research. The results of this study show that most of the studied samples belong to the early (3 and 4 AH) and mid-Islamic (5 and 9 AH) centuries, while the samples of the Ilkhanid and Timurid period in this collection are much lower in number than those of the previous centuries. Also, the results of statistical studies on pottery of the historical town of Natel indicate that these pottery wares have relatively good production quality and strength, but they have a lower level in terms of manufacturing technique and diversity of motifs. 
Keywords: Natel, Islamic Pottery, Classification, Typology, Typological Comparison.

Introduction
The ancient site of Natel is located in the village of Natel Kenar-e Olia, a district of the city of Nour, which is 6 kilometers southwest of this city in the west of Mazandaran province. Given the importance of this site in the Islamic period of Iran, especially the southern margin of the Mazandaran Sea, the first scientific studies to identify and determine the location of this town were carried out by Abdolreza Mohajerinejad in 2006 during a season of a survey (Mohajerinejad et al., 2017: 247) and then these studies were continued under his supervision during three seasons of excavation in 2008, 2010, 2016 (Mohajerinejad, 2008; ibid, 2010; ibid, 2016). During the first and second seasons of the excavation, along with other findings, 2166 pieces of pottery were discovered which were provided to the authors for further investigations. Therefore, during the classification and typology stages, 235 indicative pottery types were selected and excluded from the collection. To advance the research, the authors selected and studied 50 pieces from among the indicative samples selected from among the collection based on the non-repetitive variable. Due to the diversity and multiplicity of the pottery types and for better identification of the pottery of this site in particular and the pottery of the southern coastal areas of the Mazandaran Sea in general, the similarity and differences of pottery obtained from this site with those of the major pottery centers of the Islamic era, and also to gain more accurate knowledge of the settlement periods of the site, it was necessary to study the pottery samples very carefully. Accordingly, the present study seeks to answer the research questions through recording, registering, classifying, typology, and typological comparison of these pottery collections (2149 fragments belonged to the first season and 67 fragments belonged to the second season). The most important questions this research seeks to answer through scientific and systematic studies are: 1: to which period or periods do the pottery samples discovered in the historic town of Natel belong? 2: how is the status of the pottery samples discovered from the historic town of Natel, in terms of production quality and decorations compared to the major pottery centers of Iran during the Islamic era? In answer to the first question, it should be noted that the pottery discovered from the first and second seasons of excavation in the Natel historical site belongs to a time period extending from the early Islamic centuries to the Timurid era. And the answer to the second question is as follows: the production quality of the Natel pottery as well as the decorative quality of Sgraffito pottery are similar to those of the major Iranian pottery centers, but other pottery samples obtained from Natel are in a lower level in terms of their decorative quality, especially in color painting. 

A Summary of the Paper
Initially, the samples were classified according to two variables, i.e. their coating type and being simple or painted, which are divided into four groups: non-glazed simple pottery, non-glazed painted pottery, glazed simple pottery, and glazed painted pottery. Then, at the typology stage within the classification framework, each group of pottery was classified into several types and sub-types according to one or more variables. The investigations were carried out with great sensitivity and accuracy and finally, this resulted in the typology of the pottery in the form of 45 types and sub-types. Statistical studies on the ceramics of this collection indicated that the glazed simple pottery was the most frequent type among all the groups with a frequency of 46.53%. Overall, these ceramics have relatively good production quality and strength, but the glazed painted ceramics are at a lower level in terms of production technique and variety of motifs. The non-glazed painted pottery pieces in this collection have geometric motifs and the dominant motif type in this group is ripple motif in terms of motif design variable. At the typological comparison stage of classification which has been carried out according to the classification and typology of pottery collection, it was attempted to compare a large number of fragments with pottery found in Islamic sites. Therefore, in addition to reviewing various reports of excavations carried out in Islamic sites (generally, the northern sites of the country are considered), we have carefully studied the authentic sources of Islamic pottery prepared and organized by the efforts of foreign and domestic scholars and accordingly the pottery types, which were compared with similar example or examples, were dated and the comparisons are presented in the form of tables in the main text of the paper. From among the regions or sites whose ceramics are comparable to those of the Islamic period of Natel, Bamiyan, Nishabur, Jorjan, Poinak castle of Varamin, Imam Zadeh Ali Lafourak in Savadkouh, Sarqala of Lavasan, Sheikh Safieddin Ardebil’s tomb, Sistan, Golkhandan fortress, Kaseh al-Mout, Gaskar site of Gilan, Haft Daghnan of Gilan, northwest of Iran, Osbou Kola Lofer, and Jahan Nama site can be mentioned. 

Conclusion 
According to the contents of the present study as well as the classification, typology, and typological comparison of the pottery discovered from the historic town of Natel, it can be stated that there are a total of 45 different ceramic types and subtypes in this collection. The results of typological comparisons of the pottery of the Islamic period of Natel showed this collection had the highest rate of similarity and relationship with the pottery obtained from the sites of the Islamic period in the north of the country; this cultural and artistic similarity supports the existence of a wide cultural and connection network between Natel and its neighboring regions and indicates the production and expansion of formal and standard pottery types during different Islamic times that were produced in specific centers and exported to other regions. Their production techniques were imitated in local workshops with a lower quality. In general, the results of this study suggest that most of the studied samples belong to the early (3 and 4 AH) and mid-Islamic (5 and 9 AH) centuries. The results of the statistical studies on the pottery of Natel also indicate that these pottery findings have a relatively good production quality, but they are at a lower level in terms of production technique and diversity of motifs.  
Keywords: Natel, Islamic Pottery, Classification, Typology, Typological Comparison.
Full-Text [PDF 1207 kb]   (344 Downloads)    
Type of Study: Research | Subject: Special Archeology
Received: 2020/04/3 | Accepted: 2020/08/1 | Published: 2021/02/27
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