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:: year 4, Issue 12 (8-2020) ::
Parseh J Archaeol Stud 2020, 4(12): 121-135 Back to browse issues page
Ancient Mining and Metallurgy Activities in Mazayjan District, Fars Province
Morteza Kkanipour1, Hosseinali Kavosh 2, Reza Naseri3
1- Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.
2- Assistant Professor, Department of Archeology, Faculty of Art and Architecture, Zabol University, Sistan and Baluchestan, Iran. , h.kavosh@uoz.ac.ir
3- Assistant Professor, Department of Archeology, Faculty of Art and Architecture, Zabol University, Sistan and Baluchestan, Iran.
Abstract:   (2228 Views)
Bavanat county, in Fars province, is very important in terms of mining activities, most of the active mines of Fars region are located in this county. Although various studies have been done by geologists in recent years in order to develop new mines as well as the role of mines in sustainable development, but in terms of archeology and ancient mining has been neglected, the only exception is the work of Emami and Bamshad in introducing only two mines. In 2015, an archaeological survey was conducted on Mazayjan and Markazi district which resulted in the identification of 200 sites from Neolithic to late Islamic period, in which 4 mines and 4 slag sites were identified. Since the survey of Bavanat county has not been fully done, more sites can be recognized by a comprehensive survey in this county by focusing on the identification of mines and sites related to ancient metalworking. The role of the ancient mining in the formation of settlements during different periods can also be investigated. The study of the relationship between natural resources and how they are extracted, used, exchanged and traded by ancient peoples will be fundamental and vital in archaeological studies. Recognizing the process of the metalworking industry will lead to clarification of the relationship between different stages in this cycle and a better understanding of the socio-economic effects of this industry in the context of cultural and historical developments in the Bavanat region. The current study tries to identify the evidence related to the cycle of metalworking industry by focusing on the results of the archaeological fieldworks in the Mazayjan district. What are the extracted metals and how was the extraction cycle? It seems that most of these mines were used to extract copper and iron metals. In this regard, the questions are about the background of the metalworking and mining industry in this area, what kinds of metal were extracted in this area, and how was the cycle of extraction and smelting process in the region, that appears the most of the mines have been exploited for copper and iron ore. Although little surface evidence has been found to date, a few pottery finds indicate the history of the Islamic and possibly Sassanid period.
Keywords: Fars, Mazayjan, Mining and Ancient Metallurgy, Smelting Technology.

Bavanat county is located in the northeast of Fars province and consists of two Districts: central and Mazayjan. From the north and east, Bavanat is bordered by Abarkouh and Marvast in Yazd Province, by Sarchahan County in the south, by Safashahr County in the northwest. Khataban Mountain, with a height of 3482 m above sea level, has the highest altitude in the region, while the lowest altitude location is in the Marvast Plain with a height of 1670 m above sea level. Overall, the region has high altitudes and several water resources and drainage basins, such as rivers, springs, and streams. The most important water source in this region is the Bavanat River, which has a main role in the formation of the settlements. The Bavanat River flows from the northwest to the southeast. Two mountain ranges are located along other sides of the basin, and their arête is the water division line of this and other adjacent basins. The width of the valley is narrow, around 5 km, in the northwest, but widens to more than 10 kilometers in the southeast near Monj Village. In terms of geographical location, as this region is the border between the mountainous regions of Fars and desert regions of Yazd, the border separates two landscapes, making it particularly important. The first season of the survey was conducted in April and May 2015. It is attempted to determine the studied region according to natural geographical range without considering new political borders. To this end, Bavanat River Basin which is located in two central and Mazayjan parts of this county was fully investigated. Archeological research was carried out in a survey and intensive way to identify all sites and relics that reflect the activities of past human societies in the region.Four ancient mines and several places that the existence of metal slag indicates metallurgy extraction were identified as well. 
The study of the relationship between land resources and how they are extracted, used, exchanged and traded by ancient peoples will be essential in archaeological studies. In this regard, the study of metal exploration, extraction of ore in different periods is of particular importance. The increasing development of new mining activities will lead to the destruction of a large part of the ancient mines, in this instance; almost the ancient mines of Jian are destroyed and the Rubang mine is being destroyed, in this case, with proper documentation and introduction of mines, this ancient heritage can be protected as much as possible. Due to the importance of paying attention to ancient mines, the present study was conducted in order to identify and understand the production cycle of ancient mining and metalworking in the Mazajan district of Bavanat county.

Identified Traces
Stein conducted brief surveys and exploration in Bavanat (Stein, 1936). Furthermore, Helwing and Askari investigated a number of sites in Monj as part of the ICAR survey in the Marvsat Dam basin (Helwing, 2007). The importance of this issue motivated us to conduct archaeological surveys in the central district and Mazayjan Rural District of Bavanat in 2015. During the research for this survey, 200 sites that dated from the Neolithic period to the late Islamic era were registered. These sites include mounds and ancient sites, historical castles, historical places of worship, mosque, bridge, cemetery, mill, petroglyph, ancient mines, and slag site. Four ancient mines and several places that the existence of metal slag indicates metallurgy extraction were identified as well. 
Today, economically, mining-related activities in the Bavanat region have given it a privilege to be considered as a center in the country. Archaeological studies show that in the past, mining and metal mining have played a significant role in the economic and social structures and the formation of settlements.

Bavanat county has always been considered in terms of mining due to its geographical location, but so far it has not received much attention in terms of archeology and ancient mining. Archaeological survey conducted in 2015 and led to the identification of four mines and four slag sites, the main identified mines are related to copper and iron.
Extraction from mines includes two methods of underground extraction through tunnel digging and surface extraction through tracking of mineral lode in the ground. In Bavanat region, we only see surface extraction, so that miners have found natural lode on the ground and followed in a mine like Rubang, it has become a tunnel or the volume and width of the veins, such as Kan Gohar cave, are high, and by extracting them, today we are witnessing a change in the topography of this part of the mountain.
At the end, it should be noted that archaeological surveys in this area have not been completed in full, certainly with a comprehensive and targeted survey can identify many more mines and industrial sites in this area.
Keywords: Fars, Mazayjan, Mining and Ancient Metallurgy, Smelting Technology.
Full-Text [PDF 2203 kb]   (598 Downloads)    
Type of Study: Research | Subject: Special Archeology
Received: 2020/04/29 | Accepted: 2020/07/15 | Published: 2020/08/31
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Kkanipour M, Kavosh H, Naseri R. Ancient Mining and Metallurgy Activities in Mazayjan District, Fars Province. Parseh J Archaeol Stud. 2020; 4 (12) :121-135
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