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year 1, Issue 1 (12-2017)
The site, Gand-Ab was archaeologically excavated during three seasons in 2002, 2003, 2006. During the first season, more than 25 graves were discovered, some of which were illegally excavated. In this excavation, we tried to use the excavated graves for completing our information about the funeral customs and architectural features of Gand-Ab Graves. The second season continued archaeological, anthropological studies; in addition to geological, topographical and networking studies of Gand-Ab Site. Seventeen graves were excavated during this season. In the third season in 1385, settlement sites were excavated as well as the graves, and this was an excavation of Gand-Ab settlements for the first time. During the first season, two hypotheses were proposed about the non-proportionality of architectural remnants and the settlements in Gand-Ab compared to the extent of the grave. This site is about 51 km northern Semnan City, 26 km northern Shahmirzad City, and 3 km west of Shahmirzad-Sari Road. This site is located 53/28/23 eastern longitude and 35/54/21 northern latitude. The Gand-Ab Site is about 2280 m above the sea level (Image 1 & 2).
Keywords: Semnan Archaeology, Graveyard, Iron Age, Gand-Ab, Kharand.
A: Body positioning
Burials placed in a number of different positions:
1. Supine burying (Image 4); 2. Squatting burying (Image 5).
In supine, the dead were buried straight, on their back, head on their right shoulder or their left shoulder. Their hands were sometimes straight at the sides of their bodies and sometimes they were placed on their stomach or on their chests. Any special direction for dead bodies were not observed. In squatting, the dead body were on sides of their bodies without considering any directions. The direction of the graves had been selected based on geographical conditions, so that the head had been placed in contrary to the slopes of the mountain, while their feet had been on the direction of the slopes.
B: the architecture of Graves
Because of the rocks, the Gand-Ab graves had been dug in a special method. These graves were prepared based on the height of the dead. The architecture of the graves in this site is of four types:
1. Hand-dug rocky graves; 2. One-stratigraphic graves; 3. Two-stratigraphic graves; 4. Sour-stratigraphic graves.
1. Hand-dug rocky graves: first rocks were dug, and then the dead had been placed inside the grave. After funeral, they had covered the dead with another rock, and at last they covered it all with soil. It is observed in some cases that they had filled the seam between rocks with pieces of sand and mud (Image 6).
2. One-stratigraphic graves: in these kinds of graves, one walls of the grave were built by placing stones on each other without using mud. The covering rock were placed on the grave in a declivitous form (Image 7).
3. Two-stratigraphic graves: in this kind of burying, two walls at the length of the grave were built by placing stones on each otherand covering it by a rock. On the wall of these graves were considered four niches. The existence of niches in graves is one of architectural features of Gand-Ab and Kharand Graves. However, there were discovered graves without any niches (Image 8).
4. Four-stratigraphic graves: the interior walls of these graves were all made by placing
pieces of sand and stones without using mud. On the wall of these graves, there were discovered one to four niches, in which they had placed things and food. Looking at the
covering rock, it is possible to guess the sex of the skeleton. Gand-Ab settlements had left much more things for the dead women. Therefore, for leaving more things in a grave they had needed more space, so that the covering rock had needed to be bigger (Image 9).
The Covering of Graves
The covering rocks on graves in Gand-Ab were prepared from the Sar Avar Mine in southern Gand-Ab. Some rocks had been monolith rocks, which are now broken into the grave because of pressure. In some cases, stones were placed on graves using trunks of trees (Image 10). It is observed in some cases that the seam between the wall and the covering rock had been filled with smaller stones and mud (Image 11) so that the soil do not enter the grave.
The Art of Pottery
The Gand-Ab settlements had been skilful potters, who had created lots of artistic beauties. The pottery paste in Gand-Ab is mostly a brownish red color. buff color is rarely observed. Kitchen pottery with soft paste and smoky body is observed among pieces of pottery as well. Pieces of sand are used for pasting pieces of pottery. Both hand-made and wheel-made pottery was observed in Gand-Ab. Most pieces of pottery are well-baked, but some pieces are mildly baked, while some are badly baked so that they had completely been smashed.
Because of the shortage of published sources, the author had to rely on the sources kept in the northern provinces of Iran (Golestan, Mazandaran and Gilan), which have mostly been discovered from smugglers, and compare them with the excavated cultural material from Gand-Ab. It is worth considering that most of the cultural material kept in these places had been dated wrongly because of a lack of knowledge about this site. Based on the existing documents, some tribes had been scattered at the end of the second millennium BC to the first millennium BC (Iron II, III) at the mountain ranges of Alborz and close to the water resources. The economy of these tribes had been based on ranching and for this purpose they had travelled from lowlands of Mazandaran to mountain ranges during summer to use rich pastures such as Kharand, Dargazeh, KhatirKuh, Gand-Ab, etc. These tribes had been aware of the arts such as pottery, metallurgy and decoration.
These tribes had a rich architecture. They used the local materials such as stones, mud and wood of Avras (gorse). The social hierarchy in Gand-Ab is recognized based on the quality and quantity of materials that they had placed besides women compared to men. Settlers in Gand-Ab had believed in the afterlife and they had placed close to the death inside the graves materials such as pottery, metals, stones and food. In addition to meat, these tribes had used herbal seeds. The dead had been buried with clothes because there were discovered cloths in the graves.
- Vanden Berghe, L .A. (1964). La Necropole de khurvin. Leiden.
Mahnaz Sharifi, Abbas Motarjem,
year 2, Issue 4 (9-2018)
Archaeological excavations Tepe Gheshlagh have been helpful in understanding Chalcolithic sites in the high region separating the East Central Zagros and the Southern Lake Urmia Basin. Though cultural interface between the two regions was alluded to in the earlier publications, nothing was known of the existence of intermediate sites between them. Tepe Gheshlagh is a site at the center of Talvar valley that as a natural corridor serves to bring the concerned regions into closer contact, and its archaeological data will contribute to reconstruction of interactions of the regions in the Chalcolithic period. The Tepe Gheshlagh is one of the few settlements of the ancient villagers in the Talvar valley of the Bijar City, dating back to the fifth millennium BC (Ancient, Middle, and Late Chalcolithic period) which according to the Thermoluminescence tests it has been settlement form 5500 BC to 3600 BC without any interruption. Performing three seasons of archaeological excavations in this site provides us valuable information about the cultural and archaeological conditions of the region. This site have around one hectare, and during the settlement is formed ancient deposit more than 14 meters.
Keywords: Tepe Gheshlagh, Village Period, Architecture of Fifth Millennium BC, Native Material.
Excavations Tepe Gheshlagh have over 14 meters of deposits from different phases of the Chalcolithic period at the site, which consists of a sequence of five periods that begins with the characteristic Dalma material at the lowermost and ends with the Godin VI/VII type material at the uppermost deposit that marks the later phase of the Late Chalcolithic period. After Bronze Age material and after a cultural gap is appeared Iron III. Thus, we deal here with an almost uninterrupted sequence in the Central Zagros spanning almost two millennia. Results from the three seasons of excavations have furnished a clear picture of the Chalcolithic architecture (settlement sequence and other cultural material extending from the Dalma period up to the end of Godin VI). Excavated data from Tepe Gheshlagh is show connections between the Northwest Iranian cultures (Dalma tradition) and Central ZagrosThis is certainly due to the strategic location of the region in a natural pass that has mediated interactions between the two regions. Through cultural studies of the archaeological site of Gheshlagh in Talvar in Kurdistan province, regarded as the regional key site and a major settlement from the Chalcolithic period with clear evidence of Dalma traditions, this study will attempts to illustrate origin and development of the Dalma culture in the region and study evolution in the eastern Central Zagros hinterlands. Also, the cultural developments that took place in these hinterlands will be elucidated and the role of Gheshlagh as a key settlement site in this regard will be determined and the trend of the economic, social and cultural changes of the site’s inhabitants over time will be explained in light of archaeological data. In this context, absolute dates of ceramics would greatly facilitate the precise identification of the strata through providing a chronology for the region.
Goals of Tepe Gheshlagh
One of the major goals of the present work is define the nature of the cultural ties between the early village settlements of the eastern Central Zagros hinterlands and the neighboring regions. There are indications that clearly prove the interactions. We may consider two approaches to the problem. The first is in light of indirect interactions, which including: (1) the material that may have entered the region as raw material or finished products, which are certainly of nonlocal origin; (2) inspirations from Hasuna tradition in the form of Hasuna-like pottery types, ceramics decorated with applied scales characteristic of Umm Dabaghiya, and abstract motifs of the Halaf period such as sun motif. The second builds on direct interactions: there are indications that reveal direct interface of Tepe Gheshlagh with the Southern Mesopotamia and Susiana plain. One of the clay seals is with impression of a stamp seal, it was made from the local materials of area. Other one of the findings is discovery of at least two unique sherds that obviously belong to the Ubaid period. The intrusion of Ubaid period material to Iran is known from Gawra XIII contemporary to the Chalcolithic period, and T. Cuyler Young and Levine’s observations during their surveys of the Eastern Central Zagros indicate the strong presence of Ubaid material culture, represented for instance by Dalma-Ubaid ware. The third indication is a quasi-cylindrical seal attesting to the transition from stamp to cylindrical seals, though technically it is a cylindrical seal not a stamp one. Similar trend is as yet unreported from any other region.
Tepe Gheshlagh is located in the highland region between northwest and central Zagros in the current boundary of Bijar City. In terms of biological sequences, 5 periods of the settlements and 7 architectural phases of the Chalcolithic period were identified in this site. The archaeological evidence of the ancient village of the Tepe Gheshlagh indicated that the architectural texture in terms of physically consists of small central chambers overlooking the central courtyard, which due to the movable findings; it is possible to identify their function, such as kitchen, warehouse, and living space. In terms of architectural form, the spaces are often right-angled, and entirely are made of native and local materials, including mold brick and stratum, whereas the thickness of the main walls in relation to the dividing walls are Maximum twice, and the thickness of most of them are between 40 and 55 cm, and often in the first ridge used a one row of stones as foundation of the building. But the small walls from the beginning have been made with stratum. The main entrances are mainly to the Southwest (sunshiny). The fastening method is used for connecting the walls in the corners, and in the remaining height of the buildings, there is no sign of tension and cracks caused by the difference in load occurrence in the corners.
Arash Lashkari, Akbar Sharifinia,
year 2, Issue 4 (9-2018)
The monuments of Qajar and early Pahlavi periods in the valley of Darreh-Shahr of Ilam province are among the works that reflect the political and social developments of this era. The purpose of this study is to investigate the adaptive study of the spatial and temporal structure of Ghala Poursharf, Mirgholam Hashemi and Ghaleh Jahangirabad, the causes of their formation and pattern of distribution. The research method in this study was experimental research, field and library studies. In this regard, by studying the architectural elements each of the buildings, the Appellation of them according to their spatial-physical structure is to be re-evaluated. The results of the research are show that the construction of the studied buildings in the city of Darreh-Shahr, according based on military and security necessity and then on political and social grounds. The results of the research are show that the construction of the studied buildings in the city of Darreh-Shahr, have been according based on military and security necessity and then on political and social grounds. These buildings are located at the most appropriate geographical locations and related to agricultural affairs and tax affairs. On the other hand, according to architectural and archaeological studies, other buildings of Pourashraf fortress, has been built on the basis of military and security necessity, and the buildings of Mirgholam Hashemi and Jahangirabad have been manor house and where built at the beginning of the Pahlavi period for political and social reasons. So, in this study, these questions are raised: What is the pattern of distribution of these buildings in Darreh-Shahr? How are the spatial structure of these buildings? Can be used the title of fortress for these buildings?
Keywords: Darreh – Shahr, Late Qajar and Early Pahlavi, Fortresses, Comparative Study.
From the location, the fortresses of Iran have been made in different ways in relation to the natural situation of the place and materials. So that, construction of fortresses in the Pre-Islamic Era and the Islamic period of Iran had a close connection with the political, economic and geographical necessities. For this reason, they have made the fortresses in the harsh mountains and beside the water and springs, around the cities and overlooking them. They have made these fortresses for their role in various political developments, such as the rise and fall of governments, the internal crises and used in the onslaught of foreign nations as a refuge for political opponents. Also build these fortresses have been important in the formation of cities. The shape, type, and number of Iranian fortresses towers in the Islamic period have been depend on the social, natural and military conditions of each region. The Iranian fortresses have a long, wide and long wall, cylindrical and multifaceted towers, one or more gates for entry and exit, and sometimes entrenchment on around fortresses. The type of relations governing the life of the fortresses was almost the same. These relations, along with the natural and geographical factors of the region, played a decisive role in function of the various parts of the fortresses, and they all brought together in a special type of architecture. In general, fortresses had several functions that including: for holding detainees, state treasury holdings and the status of government. With this introduction, the monuments from the Late Qajar and Early Pahlavi periods in the city of Darreh-Shahr called “fortress” have been selected for study. The main purpose of this research is to first introduce, describe and analyze the spatial structure of the buildings of Pourashraf, Mirgholam, and Jahangirabad, and then analyze their structure and location. The main purpose of this research is to first introduce, describe and analyze the spatial structure of the buildings of Pourashraf, Mirgholam, and Jahangirabad, and then analyze their structure and location.
The archaeological excavation in the Ziyat area is considered to be a collection of rescue researches of the ancient sites of the basin of the Kurih dam. In order to, this study has done identify and understand the status of the remains architecture and the ancient layers this site. Ziqi enclosure is one of the sites that was quickly destroyed by the first stages of dewatering in the dam buried lake, due to its location and texture; therefore, the implementation of ancient archaeological research on this site before the dam drainage of Amiri, It was essential and important to carry out these researches a valuable step in the process of recognizing and introducing this ancient work before its complete destruction. The Ziqi area has always been part of it due to its proximity to the Guria Monument. The first mention Piran in 1380 was identified during the first chapter of the Ancient Cognitive Examination of the Ivan County of Guria, which Zich was also part of it (Pirani, 2001: 159-183). In 2004, Ibrahim Moradi introduced the Ziqi site in an archaeological study of the Kyrgyz Dam basin independently of the “Guria” building (Moradi, 2004: 40-53).
The archaeological excavation of the archaeological site of Zich has done in three parts distinct but related sections, including systematic survey, speculation to determine the area and extensive exploration of the site was accomplished. The results of these studies have ultimately led to the recognition of the temporary deployment area (seasonal settlement). The study of the architectural and architectural remnants of the spaces in the excavated workshops and their comparative comparisons with contemporary samples in the region has showed that the Ziqi area was a temporary deployment site (seasonal deployment) and a one-stage deployment that during a period (to Seasonal but for several years) has been used by the Cubans. Establishment in tents that surrounding it with single or double-edged stone and one or two row strips separated from each other, have been outside the tent space (outside the tent) cooking utensils and other day-to-day activities. The nomads have been set up stairs and set up tents on their slopes and have been facilitates their settlement. The healthy and complete example of such settlements that are related to the life of contemporary localities is to the present day and in the same style, and their works are clearly visible around the site.
Mohamad Ebrahim Zarei, Mahnaz Sharifi,
year 2, Issue 6 (3-2019)
Amir Sharlogh located in Hossein Abbad in northeastern of the Semnan province. Amir Sharlogh area at an altitude of 1379 meters above sea level located in the North eastern part of Miami and 210 kilometers distance from the Shahroud. This area is restricted Golestan forest from the north, Jajarm area in Khorasan province from the east, Minoodasht town in Golestan province from the west and eastern Kalate part of the Miami from the south. Big east Khorasan road that would connect the east world to west is located on this highway. evidence from several ancient hills indicated that this area was on the part of business and economic way road to Gorgan and Khorasan and connected 3 provinces of Semnan, Golestan and Khorasan together. There are several ancient hills in region, one of which is Tepe Amir Sharlogh was being explored. In addition of salvage excavation project was defined for instruction of dam Kalpoush, the importance of the hill is related to being a suitable reign for detection and study of the cultural status. Compared to the other regions, Northeast of Iran has not received as much attention in the history of Archeological studies despite, decent Geographical condition and critical geopolitical location, it has been a home to huge human settlements from the prehistoric period up till now.
Keywords: Northeast Area, Amir Sharlogh, Shahroud, Saljughid Period.
In order to identify zone settlement and cultural sequences the Archaeological excavation take starts after primary studying, survey and approving boundaries. Field works contains 7 trenches which is covered 700m² area. At -450m virgin land level was reached. The find evidence such as Archaeological remains and different layers’ shells (up to dawn) and also the signs at surface section refer to Islamic period which is involved one period and two short phases. Archaeological diffusion and no fluency status show the migrating usage of the site at related time. Large amount of kitchen pottery, various fireplaces and ovens all show that the place was an immigration one.
According to similar historical data in all I to VII trenches at -450m depth and documentation of tangible and intangible finds, the excavation was stopped at this location and we change do the excavation at north and north west of upper trace which was called Amir Shalegh and covered nine 5×5 norths-south trenches. It results to discover a historical cemetery with 20 grave that was related to Saljughid and Ilkhanid era.
The Archaeological excavation of Kalpoush dam site contains wide information of cultural status, life and Economical situation at this area. It’s also importance in view of its serious role of formation and developing of immigration. At this paper the several find and results of Archaeological excavation will be discussed.
The environment and the geography of the region: Being 515,985 km2 in size, Semnan province is located on the way of Silk Way – one the ancient Iranian heritages. Being surrounded by Alborz Mountains on the north and Kavir Namak which was once a home to a rich civilization, it has a special geographical position and several climate conditions. Semnan province is located on the south (central - east) slopes of Alborz highlands and the north side of big Kavir and therefore, from a geological point of view, belongs to two ground structures of (central) Alborz and central Iran. In the north of Semnan, “Semnan fault” is known as the border between Alborz and central Iran. The northern stripe of Semnan province (the road connecting Garmsar- Semnan-Damqan-Shahroud) is part of the southern slope of Alborz having a high and coarse morphology and is usually referred to as the central-eastern Alborz. In general, Neishabour plain is a road heading towards west, from Afghanistan to Shahroud, and is a part of The Great Khorasan. The evdince found on the way in the ancient regions such as azure, alabaster, and turquoise show that the east-west road from Khorasan to Damghan was always paid considerable attention to since 4000 AD to the Parthian and the Sasanid and then to the Islamic era (Hiebert & Dyson, 2002: 116). The eastern Iran is made up of mountain borders and barricades, misshaped valleys and huge spaces of deserts (Fisher 1986). Khorasan region is surrounded by Gorgan and the Atrak River on the northwest, and by Kopet Dagh mountains I the north and northeast. The northern border of Khorasan and the Iranian plateau is surrounded by mountains and is formed by the Atrak River and Mashhad plain, Hezar Masjid Mountain, the border of Kopet Dagh and the south chain including Binaloud and Shah Jahan mountains. The valleys located between the two mountains and the southern parts of Kopet Dagh are 1000 meters higher than the regions in the north of Kopet Dagh (Hiebert & Dyson, 2002: 115; Eduljee, 2007: 9).
Mohsen Zeynivand, Fereshteh Sharifi,
year 3, Issue 9 (12-2019)
In 1931, The archaeological sites of Sulaiman Tapa, Tel-e Baksaye and Seba’āt-e Kahriz were registered in the National Iranian Registry of Sites, but since then, their exact location remained unknown. According to the Cultural Heritage monuments list, the Location of all three sites are in Iraq. In this article we have attempted to find clues about the location of these three sites, according to De Morgan’s reports, satellite photographs, Historical maps and documents related to the late Qajar and early Pahlavi periods of the Iran-Ottoman Border conflict. Our evaluations indicate that these three sites are located in three different locations inside modern Iraq- Iran’s political border somewhere around Ilam province. In this article, the authors try to answer these three questions: Have these sites been inside Iranian border in Qajar and Pahlavi periods? Are these three sites traceable? Could the mentioned sites be dated to the Elamite period?
Keywords: National Iranian Registry, Sulaiman Tapa, Tel-e Baksaye, Seba’āt-e Kahriz, Pusht-i Kuh Luristan, borderland.
Jean-Jacques De Morgan was a French mining engineer, geologist, and archaeologist who had travelled to all across the Iranian plateau before starting excavations at Susa. During his visit to Pusht-i Kuh, De Morgan was hosted by Hussein-Gholi Khan, the governor of this region for more than a month. in Etudes geographques, he indicates to these ancient sites of Sulaiman Tapa, Tel-e Baksaye and Seba’āt-e Kheriz (Tchahar-riz) located west and south of Pusht-i Kuh beyond the Iranian current border. André Godard, another French archaeologist was assigned to serve the new-founded Iranian Archeological Service in 1922. He was responsible for registering and restoring the national heritage monuments. The first three monuments that were recorded in Godard’s list were Sulaiman Tapa, Tel-e Baksaye and Seba’āt-e Kheriz. It seems that Godard had used De Morgan’s book to present Pusht-i Kuh monuments.
During the last centuries, the western border of Iran has always been the matter of dispute between Iran and its neighbors. The conflicts between the Iranian and Ottoman governments began in the Safavid era. In 1850 some joint commissions were appointed to settle the border disputes and their work were underway for about 70 years. These commissions were mediated by Russian and British representatives in the region. The present borders of Iran and Iraq are the result of these commissions. During and before these commissions the nomads of the region were easily crossing the border. The Baksaye or Bagh-e Shahi area nowadays on Iraqi soil was part of the Pusht-i kuh governor’s estate. But as the Pahlavi era began, the last governor fled to Iraq and the region was permanently separated from Iran.
De Morgan only gave an explanation of his visit to the Tursaq area. He has been silent about the two districts of the Baksaye and the Tib River Basin. It seems that he has never been to these two areas. It sounds that local people or the governor himself have informed de Morgan about Tel-e Baksaye and Seba’āt-e Kahriz. he may also have access to the map of the Border Commission in which these two sites have been mentioned. In the map of boundary delimitation committee all three areas of Tursaq, Baksaye and Seba’āt-e Kahriz Sabah are attested and their location are shown.
Some 90 years after registering of Tursaq sites (Sulaiman and Zirzir Tapa), as well as Tel-e Baksaye and Seba’āt-e Kahriz sites in the of Iranian National list of Registered Sites, an opportunity presented itself to gather information on the latter using written documents, historical maps and remote sensing techniques. The Tursaq complex, which has been registered under the name of Sulaiman Tapa, is essentially two separated, yet nearby settlements. According to the illustrated report by the Iraqi Antiquities Department published in 1967, Tursaq has deposits dating to the Achaemenid and Seleucid periods, whereas according to Jacques de Morgan the sites date to the Kassite period, while the National Iranian Registry of Sites refer to the site as Elamite. As for Baksaye, de Morgan only refers to the site’s name and it is registered on the Iranian list. Based on the Iraqi Atlas of Archaeological Sites, the latter site, a cluster of several small sites in the Baksaye area next to the Iran-Iraq border in Mehran region, dates back to Old Assyrian, Kassite and Islamic times. The third site, erroneously registered on the list as Seba’āt-e Khariz is in fact Seba’āt-e Kahriz (Seven Kariz) in the north of the Maysan Province of Iraq. According to De Morgan and the Iranian list this site is Elamite, but our analyses of satellite and aerial images suggest that the site might in fact belong to Seleucid-Parthian, and perhaps Sasanian periods.
Daryoosh Akbarzadeh, Fariba Sharifian, Azadeh Heidar Pour,
year 3, Issue 9 (12-2019)
The Sasanian Empire is one of the most magnificent dynasties in ancient Iran. Numerous archaeological and artistic works as well as written manuscripts have been remained from the Sasanian period. In the meantime, oral traditions of the period and its inspiration on Islamic era cannot be denied. The Sasanian inscribed bullae are among the most important heritages of this glorious era. This article deals with a technical analysis based on “electron probe microanalysis” to understand compounding materials of the Sasanian bullae. It also stresses on the mineralogy of the bullae’s compounds and raise a question if their manipulation follow any standard(s) or not? Evaluating such a hypothesis, the authors have selected small sample pieces of the bullae from three well-known historical sites: Takht-e Soleyman (West Azarbaijan Province), Qasr-e Abu-Nasr (Fars Province) and Teppe Kabudan (Golestan Province). To answer to main question of the paper, EMPA technique has been selected, which is one of the most accurate tests. Initially, fixed compound elements of each bullae were discovered and then an attempt was undergone to evaluate and compare the bullae compounds of the three Sasanian sites.
Keywords: Sasanian, Bullae, EPMA, Mineralogy, Compound Materials.
The Sasanian Empire is one of the most magnificent dynasties in ancient Iran, which was founded by Ardashir I (224 AD), and constituted the last great Iranian empire before the advent of Islam (651 AD).The collapse of this dynasty was so bitter for Iranian identity and nationality, that it can be equal to Zoroastrian final resurrection in some texts.
Varied cultural heritage of this magnificent era, including royal inscriptions, coins, gold and silver vessels, glass containers, seals and bullae belonging to nobles and officials, including priests, governors and army commanders, can be a proof of the claim. Such archeological evidences have been discovered in most of the historical sites of Iran, especially in Sasanian homeland: Fars province (cf. Gyselen 2006: 25).
Nevertheless these Zoroastrian Pahlavi manuscripts, written heritage, or the Sasanian heritages in the other countries, is out of this paper.
Although so many scholarly works have been published about the history, art and culture of the Sasanian in the past 100 years up to now (Malandra 2005: online), but less effort has been made on technical tests such as fingerprinting of the bullae, analyzing glass works with non-destructive testing, etc. in Iran. These technical tests are obviously a part of Iranian Studies, Archaelogy and Museum studies. So, we decided to conduct a highly accurate EPMA (electron probe micro-analyzer) test on some Sasanian bullae in three different geographic regions. This paper describes the results for the first time. We avoided ICP (Inductively Coupled Plasma) test or other destructive technical tests. EPMA is one of the safe ways to examine and preserve objects without any damages. In professional ICP technical test a solution, i.e. part of an object with a liquid should be made, but such a test runs counter to the rules.
The Sasanian inscribed bullae are one of the most important remnants from this great cultural period. These works are most important references in archeological studies and Iranology, etc. such as research on artistic aspects and inscriptions (including individual names, their designation and religious legends). The bullae were also used in administrative matters, both in political affairs and in commerce (Gyselen 2002: 24). Several collections of Sasanian bullae has been discovered in Iran’s provinces most of which have been printed by Western scholars (cf. Gignoux and Gyselen 1987). These works have been made out of raw mud which has been kneaded with hands and are mostly in rounded form. In an overview, most of them are looks like the same in shape and color. The largest collection of Sasanian bullae is discovered from Takht-e Solayman.
However, this article doesn’t focus on historical, artistic and administrative aspects of the works (cf. Azarpay 2003: online; Gubaev et al 1996: 56); but the authors of the paper are looking to find out how well the makers of these bullae were familiar with the knowledge of mineralogy? Whether they used any standard(s) to extract mines or select initial mud for the creation of these works? Whether technical tests, based on analyzing of the compound materials of the samples, can improve us about ability and knowledge of the makers? How much similar or dissimilar are those compound materials from a site to another one?
In the past years, some scholarly works were published based on the technical tests (or chemical) on metals, ceramics, bronze and porcelains. Most of them used “XRF” or “PXRF” (cf. Ashkanani 2013: 245; Tanasi at al 2017: 222-234). Meanwhile no chemical or other tests have been reported on bullae
Furthermore, the results of the tests such as XRF and the like cannot be comparable with the technical test of EPMA. While the other tests are destructive, EPMA is completely safe. Moreover, it is much easier for scholars to access to the ancient archeological works such as ceramics and bronze rather than bullae.
Selecting Samples of the Bullae from Three Historical Sites
To answer the above mentioned questions, we selected samples from three known Sasanian sites (Iran) including: Takht-e Soleyman in West Azarbaijan ProvinceI, Qasr-e Abu Nasar in Fars ProvinceII and Tappeh Kabudan in Golestan ProvinceIII . The samples were selected from the Department of Seals and Coins of the National Museum of Iran, where the bullae of these three sites are kept. The samples were sent to Research Institute of Processing Minerals of the Ministry of Industry, the only holder of EPMA instrument in the country; Mr. Qolizadeh and his colleagues were responsible to do the technical test. Two small pieces of bullae were selected from each above mentioned site (Bullae) and sent for the EPMA test. Meanwhile, the team was unable to use the “polish section” test on the basis of BSE because of ICHTO rules; also the EPMA photos are of a higher resolution. Obviously the resolution of %10 - %15 is enough for such a test and there is no need for resolution of %1 -%2. In this work, the expert team used the BSE shooting method, which means “backscattered electrons (for photography)”. The following, charts indicate the compound materials of the samples:
According to the charts, close similarities have been seen in the compounds of the Takht-e Soleyman samples except iron. Qasr-e Abu Nasr’s samples could be considered of having the same similarities next to Takht-e Soleyman. In fact, remarkable dissimilarities between the examples of these two sites can be seen in those of Teppeh Kabudan.
Meanwhile the question arises as: “why there are such similarities and dissimilarities between the compounds?”
Takht-e Soleyman is one of the most sacred, important and well-known Sasanian sites. Enough has been said and written about the religious aspect of the site for the Zoroastrianism (Boyce 1987: online) and Iran under Sasanian; the very important works of the Sasanians have been discovered in this site (Gobl 1976). This site is geographically surrounded by the nearby mountains so that the craftsmen accessed probably to the mines of clay. It is not reasonable to suppose that they transferred mud from far away!
Although Qasr-e Abu Nasr is one of the most important Sasanian sites, but it cannot be compared with Takht-e Soleyman. Meanwhile archeological excavations attest its rank in Sasanian studies. The Achaemenid evidences from Qasr-e Abu Nasr can be considered as a part of archaic background of the site (Frye 1973: 8).
Tappeh Kabudan, unlike the two above mentioned sites, is almost unknown,in which the least excavations have been conducted. Sasanian bullae from Tappeh Kabudan in the National Museum of Iran have been discovered in the site accidently. The lack of the archeological excavations to get more information about the site from one side, and its special geographical location in Golestan Province which has been surrounded by the mines, fertile hills and rivers from another side, differentiate Tappeh Kabudan from the previous sites. Most probably the craftsmen who worked in Takht-e Soleyman and Qasr-e Abu Nasr cannot be compared with those in Teppeh Kabudan. Post-Sasanian texts have frequently referred to Sasanian kings who visited Takht-e Solayman for the ritual rite. Also a royal gateway of Qasr-e Abu Nasr’s site can be assumed as a connection between the site and the Power, while there is no trace in this regard on Tappeh Kabudan. It seems that Takht-e Solayman and Qasr-e Abu Nasr were two significant political and religious sites in Sasanian era.
In spite of this, we need many other samples from the north, south, east and west sides of the country to determine similarities and dissimilarities of the bullae. However such destructive tests on objects are illegal, we were unable to find more samples.
The Sasanian bullae are one of the most outstanding heritages for understanding the administrative geography of Iranshahr in the eraIV These bullae have been widely used in administrative matters, especially in the trade.
They belonged to the nobles and ranked class such as the priests, army commanders, provincial governors, tradesmen and etc. Despite the scholarly works, the technical tests to analyze the compounds of the bullae have not been done yet. As any destructive test is prohibited according to the rules, we need broken fragments and pieces for doing such a test on the bullae. In fact we hardly received a few number of the samples for EPMA test from the National Museum of Iran.
The EPMA is one of the most accurate technical tests for analyzing the compound elements of the archeological clay objects; thus it can serve as a gateway to other tests on the other clay works such as jars, bowls and etc. The result of our technical test testifies that the bullae compounded from fixed elements, the issue that has not been studied during the last century.
The results of the tests show that the makers prepared raw mud very accurately; so that they did not use the raw mud of anywhere. The similarities of the compound’s elements of the two most important sites of the Takht-e Soleyman and Qasr-e Abu Nasr show that the makers have had good information for selecting the mud. These similarities have been certified as a standard selection of raw mud for Sasanian bullae. However, a question arises as to whether those who provided the mud were same as who kneaded it?
It cannot be also ignored that most of these bullae date back to the late Sasanian (sixth century A.D.). Obviously during the sixth century art, music, coinage technique, and probably the knowledge of how to prepare mud for such a work had reached its peak. At least The percentage of silver in Sasanian coins is a good attest for standardization in this century. However the tests, which have been done on the bullae, testify the skill of the makers of these works.
Furthermore this achievement is a significant event in archeology, Iranian studies, and etc. Takht-e Soleyman, as a sacred religious site, was probably a place where craftsmen and masters worked in. The specific geographical location of this Zoroastrian site would have possibly provided the artists with a unique opportunity to look for their required mud within the site and nearby. Perhaps the similar compounds of the bullae can be considered as a proof to testify that makers extracted mud from specific mine(s) of that region.
Many masterpieces have been discovered from Qasr-e Abu Nasr site in Fars province. Similarity in compounds of the bullae of this site, same as Takht-e Soleyman, can be a claim that craftsmen followed a kind of standards for their works. Historical sites of Fars province, homeland of Sasanian kings, have played a significant role on Sasanian studies since the last century.
Tappeh Kabudan, unlike the two above mentioned sites, is a less known site in archeological studies, especially on Sasanian era. A considerable difference is being noticed in the percentage of the compounds of the samples of this site in comparison with the two discussed sites. The geographical location of Tappeh Kabudan can be a notable factor that causes dissimilarities between this site and Takht-e Soleyman and Qasr-e Abu Nasr. Against to the archeological knowledge about Takht-e Soleyman and Qasr-e Abu Nasr in the past fifty years, our information about Tappeh Kabudan is not enough. In fact, the results of the tested samples of this less known site, in northern part of the country, cannot be compared with the two mentioned well known Sasanian sites.
I. The site was excavated by German archaeologists in 1960s. They discovered a most important collection of the bullae and seals (Osten and Naumann 1961). Meanwhile Mr. Y. Moradi (RICHTO) excavated the site some years ago and discovered more than 300 new bullae: cf.RICHTO, Archive).
II. Qasr or Takht-e Abu Nasre is located in Fars Province, near Shiraz city. The collection of the bullae (and other objects) was published by R. Frye (Frye 1973).
III. Cf. Akbarzadeh and T. Daryaee 2012: online.
IV. The term used by Sasanian inscriptions and Zoroastrian Pahlavi texts (Daryaee 2009: 5).
Fereshteh Sharifi, - Mohmmad-Ebrahim Zarei,
year 5, Issue 15 (6-2021)
Qorveh county is located in the southeast of Kurdistan province and is considered one of the highlands of Zagros. This plain find better environmental conditions from historical and Islamic times and this had attracted the attention of human groups. Compared to other neighboring areas, archaeological research in this plain has been done very little, especially the Islamic period archeology. In 2018, the plain and the county of Qorveh were surveyed and identified archaeologically that results of this research are part of its findings. The findings will be discussed, including the Islamic period pottery collection which is considered the most important goal of this research. Introducing and classifying these findings and presenting a picture of the situation of pottery and common types of pottery of the Islamic period in this region forms the general structure of this research. The research indicates the similarity and compatibility of the findings of this plain with neighboring areas, especially Hamedan which have almost the same conditions in terms of environmental landscape and cultural context. Questions for this study include: Which types of pottery of the Islamic period can be identified in Qorveh plain? At what time period are the studied pottery findings dated? Do the pottery findings of Qorveh plain show evidence of regional and extra-regional interaction? The results of this study show that 12 pottery types can be identified in the surface surveys of Qorveh plain and they can be dated from the early Islamic centuries to the present. The studied pottery is very close to the neighboring areas in terms of technique and patterns and we can even say that they are quite similar; but in comparison with the cross-regional although the techniques are similar but are clear differences in terms of decorative motifs.
Qorveh Plain, Islamic Period, Glazed Ware, Plain Ware.
Qorveh plain is one of the plains of Kurdistan province, which is rich in terms of climate, water resources, vegetation and animals, fertile land, etc., which has always been considered by human groups according to field surveys. However, the history of settlements in this plain date back to the early Chalcolithic period (Mocheshi, 2011), but the role of Islamic sites is colorful in the meantime and archaeological findings show that the plain is dynamic in the Islamic era (Sharifi and Zainivand, 2019). As we know; One of the most important archaeological findings in surface surveys is pottery which by studying it, interesting information about different aspects can be obtained. Therefore, it is necessary to study them, in order to clarify the culture of the communities and the interactions of the study area with other areas.
Research Questions: This study tries to answer the following questions by studying the pottery collection obtained from the archeological study of Qorveh region:
1) Which types of pottery of the Islamic period can be identified in Qorveh plain?
2) At what time period are the studied pottery findings dated?
3) What are the similarities and differences between the pottery findings of Qorveh plain and regional and cross-regional findings?
Research Method: This is a descriptive-comparative study and its findings have been collected in a survey and visit the Sites and hills of Qorveh region in Kurdistan province. At first, the plain was surveyed and 243 sites were identified and about 118 sites have remnants of the Islamic period. In this research, all types of pottery in the identified sites of the plain were considered which after identifying the sites of the Islamic period and collecting pottery findings, the study was conducted in Library study method, using existing sources and documents. In this section, an attempt was made to measure the findings with similar and contemporary samples to determine their relative age.
Sites of the Islamic Period in Qorveh Plain
In 2018, Qorveh plain was studied archaeologically (Sharifi and Zainivand, 2018). In this plain, 243 sites were identified, of which 118 sites have remains of the Islamic period, of these sites, except for two bridges, two baths, a flume and a canal that had no pottery finds, the rest had pottery finds which was studied in this research and a total of 12 types of the Islamic era were identified. Important Islamic sites in the plain include Tepe Esfandabad, Mashhadi Agha (Shahabuddin), Kheir Veis, Aghkand, Vinsar, Sajan Tepeh, Abdolabad, Tepe Mireh Soleiman Aghasi and Tepe Hosseinabad.
Classification of Qorveh Plain Pottery
From surface surveys of Qorveh plain, 12 types of pottery belonging to the Islamic period were obtained, which are generally divided into two categories: glazed and unglazed. Glazed pottery includes 7 types (Silhouette, Luster Ware, under glaze painting, painting on glaze, Monochrome glaze, Sgraffito, Blue and white Ware) and unglazed pottery of 5 types (plain pottery without decoration, molded pattern, plastic decoration, incised decoration, studded).
Cultural Interactions of Settlements in the Islamic Period of Qorveh Plain
Considering that no archaeological excavations have been carried out in Qorveh Islamic sites and our studies are based only on field studies, as a result, we used pottery findings to identify cultural interactions. As mentioned earlier, most of the pottery techniques in the world are very similar to the studies that have been done on the pottery of the Islamic world. By comparing the pottery of Qorveh plain with the studied pottery of other parts of the country or the world, it can be concluded; Qorveh plain pottery, especially glazed pottery, in terms of technique, shape and color is similar to pottery obtained from Neishabour, Rey, Jirof, Kashan and even Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Syria and Palestine, etc., but in terms of the type of themes, the designs are different. compared to neighboring areas in every sense; technique, shape, and color of the designs are similar. The meaning of neighboring areas is studied sites in Hamedan province, Kermanshah province, Takht-e Soleiman and other cities of Kurdistan province which is referred to in the comparison section of potteries.
The pottery findings of the Islamic period of Qorveh plain cover the chronological sequence from the early Islamic centuries to the present day. In a general division, the pottery of Qorveh plain is divided into two groups: glazed and unglazed; Glazed pottery includes seven types and unglazed pottery consists of five types. The highest frequency of incised pottery is among unglazed pottery and plain monochrome glazed pottery is among glazed pottery due to the ease of production and the mire incised, which is a special and different style in northwestern Iran. Glazed pottery of recent studies can be dated into three groups: 4th-5th centuries AH, 5th to 9th centuries AH, and 10th to 13th centuries AH. unglazed pottery has been used in the region since the early centuries of Islamic period to the present. Among the collected collections, there is a considerable abundance of low-quality pottery but because they are not discovered in the excavation, they cannot be dated securely. However, given that these types of pottery are mostly obtained in temporary settlements with low accumulations, can be cautiously attributed to the settlements of migrants and nomads. By comparing and matching the pottery of the study area with h cross-regional pottery production sites, this result is obtained which although the pottery of the Islamic period of Qorveh region is technically similar to remote areas, but in terms of designs, differences can be seen in most of them, and these differences reinforce this hypothesis that most of the pottery obtained from the study has been produced in the region itself (neighboring areas) and the similarities are mostly the result of cultural exchanges with neighboring areas. To determine the origin and production of pottery in Qorveh plain, laboratory studies should be done, which also requires time and costs and the authors hope to achieve this in the future by discovering more examples of scientific exploration in these areas. However, so far, no scientific excavations have been carried out in Islamic period sites of region and there is no evidence of a pottery kiln in this plain, but we have to wait for future studies to comment on this with certainty. However, the types of coarse and low quality pottery scattered in many settlements are the result of local pottery production and luxury and rare specimens are classified as exotic pottery
year 5, Issue 15 (6-2021)
The Zab River basin contains the cities of Piranshahr and Sardasht in West Azerbaijan and parts of the city of Baneh in Kurdistan. The Zab River rises from the Northwest highlands of Piranshahr and after joining many branches passes through the highlands of Alan in Iran and enters Iraq. The extension of this basin is a relatively vertical strip along the Iran-Iraq border and the Little Zab River. Its orientation is Northwest to southeast and from west to east. The Zab Basin is located in an area with a cold and temperate mountainous climate, a Mediterranean rainfall regime, with average annual temperatures between 11.7°C and 13. 3°C and, 700 ml annual rainfall (Hojabri et al 95). This article tries to answer the question of how the cultural relations between this point and other areas of the presence of the late bronze culture have been established by studying the cultural materials belonging to the late bronze cultural tradition in Akhoran tepe. Also, what was the chronology of the stables? The results of archaeological excavations led to the identification of a late Bronze Age camp. The study of Akhoran cultural materials also indicates the presence of a late bronze pottery tradition. Studies and relative chronology of pottery showed that most of the cultural interactions and influences were with Hasanlu regions and outside the borders of Iran with Anatolia and Iraqi Kurdistan. The present study is based on archaeological excavations and then library studies and with a descriptive-analytical approach tries to introduce new pottery of the late Bronze Age.
Keywords: Northwest of Iran, Late Bronze Age, Zab Basin, Akhoran Tepe, Archaeological Excavation, East of Anatoli.
The Bronze Age is considered to be the beginning of major social changes in the early third millennium BC. The Hasanlu VI period or the Middle Bronze Age covers from 2100 to 1700 BC (Danti 2013:332 .Table 17.1). During this period, multi-colored and painted wares were commonly used in large parts of Azerbaijan (Dyson 1969). Hasanlu VI ceramic designs were in crossed, checkered, and triangle forms (Dyson 1965). The simple painted pottery, which is the characteristic of the Middle of the 2nd millennium BC, is the same as synchronously identified dishes of Khabur from Northern Mesopotamia and South West Turkey (Dyson 1969: 43-44). Our information on late bronze age in northwest Iran is quite limited. Hasanlu V, is of great importance in this region, but the period has been given relatively little attention. We therefore selected Akhoran Tepe for excavation with the goal of closing this chronological gap in our understanding of Iranian prehistory.
As a local center, the Zab basin generally witnessed the alternation of contacts and conflicts, as is evidenced by the varying patterns in the distribution of recorded sites. Unlike what is characteristic of Mesopotamia and southern Iran in the fourth millennium BC, it has not yet produced any traces of extended settlements and social complexities.
Previous studies have illustrated that northwest Iran maintained contacts with regions south of Caucasia and the valleys hemmed in by the Aras and Kura rivers to the north, the Central Zagros to the south, and eastern Anatolia and north Mesopotamia to the west via mountain passes.
Recent archaeological data from the adjacent neighboring regions has corroborated this observation. Therefore, serious investigation in the region has the potential to shed light on broad cultural interactions and evolutions in the middle and northern Middle East.
The data from Akhoran is thus of considerable importance in this respect, and can improve our understanding of regional and inter-regional interactions. A foremost purpose of this paper is to look into the ties and connections between Akhoran and northwest Iran as a whole, and to explore intra- and inter-regional interactions.
One of our fundamental problems in North West Iran was the lack of excavations, with little information about the Archaeology of the region. The current paper focuses on Akhoran Tepe since we have had a little knowledge about the late Bronze Age in the Little Zab River.
North West Iran has a particular Archeological importance since it accumulates different prehistoric periods. The area is also important from the point of view of Archeological literature since it is at a crossroad facilitating the passing of nations and trading. With regard to the history, the basin is among those that attracted the attention of domestic and foreign scholars at the dawn of professional Archaeology in Iran (Motarjem Sharifi 2014: 50).
A long-lasting Hasanlu Project started by the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania in 1956 under the guidance of Robert H. Dyson, is the most significant work carried out in this basin (Dyson, 1968; 1969). On the other hand, the work at Yanik Tepe, the Northeastern basin of the lake began in 1960 by Charles Burney that furnished important details, among them the identification of the Trans-Caucasian culture’s infiltration into Northwestern Iran (Burney 1961; 1962; 1964). Indeed, earlier excavations conducted by Burton-Brown at Geoy Tepe, in the same basin, had uncovered evidence of the Trans-Caucasian culture at Level K (Burton Brown 1951). Later excavations by Burney at Haftvan Tepe brought to light further aspects of the Bronze and Iron Age cultures.
This region experienced the Middle Bronze culture known as Urmia ware with monochrome and polychrome pottery. Danti divides the Middle Bronze Age into three periods (Danti 2013: 332).
We also know about the Urmia ware in Haftavan VIB. Investigation and recognition of the Urmia ware was carried out by Edwards (Edwards 1983).
Akhoran can well supplement the limited dataset at hand for Hasanlu V. An important point about this site is the absence of the middle bronze material culture. Tepe Akhoran is one of the sites with deposits of the Late bronze age within the prospective reservoir of the kani sib Dam. The main objective of this excavations is to establish the cultural sequence of the site. Other aims include dating the most important settlement attested at the site, and pinpointing the subsistence system of the late bronze age community that occupied it. The nature of the settlement and material culture of the Hasanlu VI period in Dinkhah Tepe and the limitation of the Khabur pottery to the southern areas of Lake Urmia strongly suggest that during this period, people from Mesopotamia migrated to the Ušnu- Solduz valley (Danti et al 2004.584). In the Piranshahr area, excavations at Akhoran Hill provided evidence of a new bronze tradition in the Zab Basin.
The most important cultural material of the Akhorn in late bronze age is potteries, which is produced in a simple and painted sherds. The pottery from Tepe Akhoran is comparable to the material coming from the, Azerbaijan and the Anatoly.
The pottery is decorated with geometric patterns. The shape of the dishes is more inclined to closed-mouth dishes. Also, what the data of Akhoran excavations show indicates the cultural relations of this region with other parts of the Urmia Lake basin, including Hasanlu, and outside the borders of Iran, the areas of Anatolia and Iraqi Kurdistan. This area may be geographically more inclined to Anatolia.
Abbas-Ali Rezaei-Nia, Ali Akbar Vahdati, Mostafa Sharifi,
year 5, Issue 16 (9-2021)
The beginning of the Iron Age on the Caspian Sea coast and the adjacent areas on the Iranian plateau and the neighboring lands was accompanied by extensive social, political and cultural changes that led to the collapse of urban centers and exchange economics, the formation of scattered and rural communities, which were often followed by livestock or nomadic economics. Changes in the social structures in the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age, for whatever reason, caused extensive changes in the cultural material of the Iranian plateau and the Caspian Sea and formed settlement patterns from which only the associated cemeteries have often been identified and excavated. However, the residential structures, the spatial organization of the settlements and their relationship with the cemeteries are not well known. Excavation on the Parija Tepe, 3 km from Qaem-Shahr-Kiakola road on the low shores of the Caspian Sea, resulted in the identification of two stages of settlement from the Iron Age and the Early Islamic period. The Iron Age finds include pottery, metal objects, stones, bones, animal remains, and the remnants of architectural structures. According to the obtained evidence, the largest volume of cultural layers in the Parija Tepe is related to the Iron Age. The present study indicates that the Parija Tepe has an important place not only in better understanding of the pottery traditions of the Iron Age in the Caspian lowlands, but also in identifying mud-brick architecture and the pattern of sedentary life in this region. Further archaeological excavations of the site will undoubtedly give a clearer perspective on the social organization and settlement patterns of the Iron Age in the coastal areas of northern Iran.
Keywords: Mazandaran, Tepe Parija, Iron Age, Mud-brick, Pottery.
One of the characteristic features of Iron Age sites of Mazandaran is the lack of settlement sites with visible architecture, the abundance of cemeteries, special funeral rituals, as well as a distinguished pottery tradition. During the Iron Age, the majority of dead people were buried in simple pit graves, Mud-brick lined graves or Pithos burials. The dead were often buried in a curved or flexed position, and in limited cases in supine or stretched position. A variety of burial-goods often placed next to the dead, a tradition which was also common in the preceding Bronze Age and that became more prominent during the Iron Age. In addition to the large number of pottery vessels, a good variety of tools such as swords, daggers, knives, spears, and other objects made of bronze and sometimes iron, as well as jewelry such as rings, bracelets, necklaces, plaques, and seals of bronze, silver, iron, bone, faience, stone, and rarely gold have been reported alongside the skeletons. While results of archaeological research in the Iron Age sites of Mazandaran suggests the influence of local Bronze Age cultures on the later Iron Age communities but, it appears from the available evidence that the Iron Age settlements are smaller albeit larger in number compared to the Bronze Age sites.
The present article introduces the results of excavation in Perija Tepe in the Caspian Sea shores. Results of excavations suggests the important role of Parija Tepe not only for a better understanding of the Iron Age pottery traditions in the coastal lands of the Caspian Sea, but also for the identification of permanent settlements through examination of mud-brick architecture and the pattern of sedentary life in this region. Archaeological excavation at Parija Tepe can provide a clearer perspective of the social organization and settlement patterns of the Iron Age in the coastal areas of northern Iran.
Parija Tepe is located in the central part of Mazandaran plain, some 3 km to the northwest of Ghaemshahr, next to the road from Ghaemshahr to Kiakola (Simorgh) and among the paddy fields of Kolagar village. Recent excavation at Parija Tepe has led to the identification of two phases of settlement belonging to the Iron Age and the early Islamic period. The main settlement phase and the majority of cultural depositions at Parija Tepe dates back to the Iron Age which is divided into Iron Age II and III.
Typologically, most pottery forms of Prija appears to reflect the characteristics of Iron Age II. In addition to the pottery vessels, significant cultural materials such as a tanged bronze spearhead and a stone stamp seal were also excavated. One of the most remarkable findings of this excavation is the discovery of remains of mud-brick architecture that possibly shows a sedentary lifestyle rather than a nomadic way of life. Bio-archaeological studies on the faunal remains of the site demonstrates that all animal bone remains belong to mammals, and no fish, birds, rodents or reptiles have been identified. Throughout the occupational period, sheep, goats and cattle are the dominant species, followed by boars. Very rare remains of red deer have also been seen. Thus, it seems that the subsistence economy of the inhabitants of Prija has been diverse and based on livestock activities, agriculture and hunting patterns.
The cultural material discovered from excavation of Parija Tepe represents the cultural traditions of the Iron Age and indicates cultural links between this area and other Iron Age sites in the northeastern and north-central regions of Iran. Although some rich cultural materials such as a tanged bronze spearhead and some pottery forms have their roots in the Bronze Age cultures of the Northeast and the Gorgan Plain, the production of these type objects has continued throughout the Iron Age and striking analogies could be seen in large areas of Gilan and Mazandaran and the southern slopes of Alborz. It seems that the main volume of pottery and other cultural materials retrieved from Parija excavation indicates to Iron Age II and II period occupation with the material cultures resembling those from contemporary cultures in the north and northeast of Iran. The results of preliminary studies of Parija Tepe indicates that this area, like many of its contemporaries in Mazandaran, is formed near the river and in a flat and fertile land, and in terms of architecture, similar to other Iron Age sites in Mazandaran, has wooden and mud-brick architecture. Therefore, Parija, along with other Iron Age sites of the region, indicates to the uniformity of the Iron Age material culture in the lowlands of Madandaran, which, while similar to the Iron Age cultures of the southern slopes of Alborz, has particular local features.