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Showing 3 results for Parthian Period

Roya Tajbakhsh, Esmail Hemati-Azandaryani, Mousa Sabzi,
year 4, Issue 14 (2-2021)

Using laboratory of XRD & XRF, this research project was performed to identify the component of the pottery related to Seleucid/ early Parthian period. In excavations performed in western Iran, a number of Seleucid & Parthian site were identified, regarding shape and technical formatting roughly homogenous pottery pieces were found. It could not exactly be determined how many of the discovered pottery pieces of the Seleucid/ Parthian period’s -whether found from surface or stratigraphy excavations- had a regional origin. Determining their homogeneity which was solely based on external similarities and typology has given rise to possibilities of widespread trading of pottery or major centers of production. The main problems in research include How was the selection of consumables for the production of stained glassware in western Iran in two periods of Seleucid and Parthian? How can one know about the similarity and difference between the soil elements and the percentage of pottery and logic soil, whether they are indigenous or imported? Despite the apparent similarities, is the conditions and technique of pottery baking types in the western region in two periods, or has it changed with the evolution of governance in the fabric of pottery? This research is qualitative and has a descriptive-analytical nature. The research method in this paper is a combination of archaeological field activities, laboratory studies, and librarian compilation. Awareness of the explorations carried out in the Seleucid-Parthian sites of the western part of Iran, as well as mineralogical studies based on library information. However, as no archaeological evidence has been found to indicate the existence of such centers, such hypotheses could not be considered. The XRD & XRF methods were used to study the building elements in the excavated pottery samples. Using these methods, the similarities and differences between the clay used in making Seleucid & Parthian period’s pottery and the clay found in the region were studied. Ten sample pieces collected from Delfan, Alashtar, and Nahavand regions, were studies. The samples were selected from archaeological site of Chogha Taghi, Pat-Koole, Zarin Deh Sefid tepe, Hassanabad Sanjabi, Cheshme-Kaboud tepe, Aliabad, Molaghala Adlabad, Shaelie (Shahian), and Laodicea. The 10-pottery sherd often have a bright red peppermint, a dense bubbled glaze, a soft mineral mixture, and geometric paintings and images of birds and animals that are painted in brown and black. The shape of the dishes often shows small bowls and small cups that are well polished and polished and cooked at a proper temperature. However, as these methods usually because a great damage and in most cases destroy the samples, smaller and less important pieces which had these componential characteristics were used. The results of this study indicates that, matching the raw materials of the pottery with the geological structure of the region, it can be noted that the pottery was produced in the studied area. Also, the type, technique, and their baking technique from pottery are similar to each other and confirm that its local production and it dismisses the change in the production process or the non-localization of the production of clay crowns during the Seleucid period.. 
Keywords: Seleucid Period’s, Parthian Period’s, Pottery, XRD, XRF, Western Iran.

Our recognition of the western Iran Seleucid/ early Parthian painted pottery is so little in limited due to so many various reasons. The potteries as such are painted and fragile and belong to Seleucid era and early Parthian period party in the period in question is an outstanding type which sounds unobtainable or minimally scarce in considerations. The pieces as such mostly attain light red and beige natural disposition, light rose-colored mantle painted like similar to the metal, fine mineral allegation, geometrical paintings, and animals in birds’ pictures being drawn ocher brown and black. The Potteries shape almost always indicates soft, ting bowls and cups the surface of which is well polished well-furnished and baked in a convenient temperature. The external similitude between late Seleucid and early Parthian potteries nourishes the persisting thought of such a tradition from Seleucid to Parthian. This research is to examining the recognition of the absence/presence of the production and business tradition of the Western Iran area in Seleucid/ early Parthian era. Therefore, using XRF and XRD methods, attempts have been made to deal with the identification of the compounds and elements used in grain utilized conforming western Iran painted pottery.
The propounded hypothesis in this regard is that they did discovered pottery type/species in the west area is possibly none native and imported. The native inference or pottery’s being imported deeply depends upon its natural disposition minerals compound similitude percentage with the minerals present in the area’s soil. In line whit this debate, three questions are replied:
1- How much similar to and different from one another are the soil elements used in Seleucid/ early Parthian painted potteries, compounds, being discovered excavated from some of the Iran Zones? 2- How homogeneous are the elements, present in texture and composition of Seleucid/ early Parthian painted potteries -being discovered in the west of Iran-, whit the structure elements and area geology zone? 3- Are these potteries similar to/different from one another in terms of composition, elements type, and baking conditions?
The selected samples of this research are prominent pieces which are picked up from three areas of Delfan, Alashtar, and Nahavand on ten of which laboratory experiments have been implemented. Among these prominent samples the option of each environment has been done. The XRF experiment on powdered samples has been done in Tarbiat Modarres university and XRD experiment has been implemented in Hamedan Bu-Ali Sina University physics lab, Tehran. These potteries are named as follows: Samples number 1(L.CH.T) from Chogha Taghi in Noor Abad City; sample number 2 (L.P.K) from Pat-koole; sample number 3 (L.Z.D) from Zarrin Deh Sefid tepe; sample number 4 (L.H.A.S) from Hassanabad Sanjabi; sample number 5 (L.CH.K) from Cheshme-Kaboud tepe; sample number 6 (L.A.A) from northern district of Noor Abad city; sample 7 (L.M.GH) from Adl-Abad village; sample number 8 (L.SH) from village Shaeile in Qalaei City; sample numbers 9 & 10 (H.N.L.1) & (H.N.L.2) from Loudich of Nahavand. 

The results show that the silicon (oxide) rate is high in the samples obtaining low calcite (like sample number 9, and in the samples with high calcite, the silica (oxide) rate is low. Regarding the composition’s present in potteries body, making use of XRD and XRF methods, it can be inferred that the samples productions are associated with the area itself. Moreover, it can be stated that there are compounds such as Quartz in all soils, which is one of components of soil. There is calcite in all samples because of the presence of the calcareous sediments’ presence. The presence of the calcium carbonate and diopside in the potteries body indicates that the temperature of these potteries is less than 750 degrees centigrade. Three compounds of Aluminum oxide, Silica in Calcium carbonate (SiO2, Al2O3, Cao). Additionally, the percentage of the scarce elements in sample number 3 is different from the other ones. Except for these two, it seems that all of the samples are more or less similar to one another. The pottery’s body color is due to this element (Iron) and its oxidation, and red patterns upon potteries contain Iron as well. Pondering upon most of the painted potteries samples of early Parthian / Seleucid era from  Western Iran, it seems that their color is not that beige in comparison with the Clinker pottery type from Parthian era, which are mostly related to the middle and late of this era, and less homogeneity is observed in their color in comparison white Clinker pottery. These results assert that the production of Seleucid/ early Parthian period painted pottery in comparison with Parthian period Clinker pottery should be considered from a different or perspective. There is Manganese in some of the samples number (7 & 9 and little rate in sample 3) the black color of which possibly contain such an element. The presence of Calcium can be because of the calcareous sediments (probably) or some gypsum in the sample. The presence of sediment on all of the samples stems from burial area, moisture, and its omission then, and formation of calcareous sediments as well. The other elements such as Sodium, Potassium Phosphorus, and Titanium are among the ones present in the soil, the rate of which is from some percentage to a few hundred percent.

The results of XRF & XRD analysis show that the major part of the examined potteries samples including three compounds of Aluminum oxide, Silica in Calcium carbonate (CaO, Al2O3, SiO2). This compound indicates that there is a share of the soils of the transformations stones (SiO2) in the soil used in building mentioned potteries in addition to calcareous soils (Al2O3, CaO). There is Manganese in some of samples (number7, 9, and a little rate in number 3 simple) which possibly has been because of the pigments usage for decorating the potteries patterns. Moreover, the existence of calcium can be possibly due to calcareous sediments or some plaster in the sample which implies the presence of sediment on all of the samples because of the burial area moisture, and then it’s elimination and calcareous sediments formation. The results demonstrate that the Seleucid/ early Parthian period painted potteries obtain more silica (oxide) rate in comparison with Parthian period Clinker pottery (the late and middle of this period), bring analyzed in western Iran, and also it attains a lower Calcite rate in comparison with Clinker potteries type. According to the potteries external features in terms of color and patterns, the similarity between- the ingredients of raw material (soil) is obvious in making pottery, indicating the production of the Portway in research area of although these painted  potteries of Seleucid often there is less homogeneity in their color in western Iran; and also, their baking technique and mode from pottery are similar with one another, and improve their native and domestic production (it is worth mentioning that there has no analysis regarding  Seleucid/ Parthian period painted pottery in the other areas been done) and it eliminates the issue of importing production of  Seleucid/  early Parthian period painted potteries. 

Davood Behroozifar, Reza Mehafarin, Mohammad-Reza Saeidi-Harsini, Ahmad Chaychi-Amirkhiz,
year 5, Issue 17 (12-2021)

Sarakhs plain is located in northeastern Iran and adjacent to Turkmenistan. Regarding Parthian pottery studies in Sarakhs plain, no special components have been considered for it so far. Identification and classification of Parthian pottery in this region can be a good tool to better understand the pottery traditions, study the cultural and economic interactions of the population centers of that period. The research method is based on library and field studies (descriptive and analytical) during a field survey (survey) stage. Based on the surface findings of the field survey, a total of 91 flagship pottery pieces from 14 settlements belonging to the Parthian period were selected for the survey. In fact, this study seeks to answer the question of what were the intra-regional and extra-regional relations of Sarakhs plain during the Parthian period with contemporaries? According to the studies on pottery attributed to the Parthian period in Sarakhs plain, this period can be divided into two periods in the mentioned plain. In the first period (formation of Parthian rule before the reign of Mehrdad I) Sarakhs is influenced by the culture of the Sarakhs oasis of Turkmenistan, and in the second period, until the end of the Parthian period, they are influenced by the well-known cultures of southern Turkmenistan, namely the cultures of Nessa and Merv. The purpose of this study is to identify and introduce Parthian pottery in Sarakhs plain, classification and typology of Parthian pottery in the region. The necessity of the present study is that the pottery cultures of the Parthian settlement of Sarakhs plain are unknown and the present study can provide a better understanding for further research.
Keywords: Archaeology of Northeast Iran, Sarakhs Plain, Parthian Period, Classification of Pottery.

Sarakhs plain as a study point due to its natural potentials and optimal environmental conditions such as altitudes, suitable soil and relatively favorable weather conditions, has been a desirable habitat for the formation of various human communities (Ebrahimi, 1384: 2). Scholars in historical texts have stated the origin of the Parthians in northeastern Iran, especially Khorasan (Asak near present-day Quchan) and their primary capital was Nessa in Turkmenistan (Altheim, 2010: 20). Based on the field surface findings, a total of 91 flagship pottery pieces from 14 settlements belonging to the Parthian period were examined. The method of this research is based on library and field studies (descriptive and analytical) during a field survey (survey) chapter. Documentation of human handicrafts is necessary in terms of studying the background and type of community culture at any point in history.      
Research Questions and Hypotheses: In fact, this study seeks to answer the question of what were the intra-regional and extra regional relations of Sarakhs plain during the Parthian period with contemporaneous areas? Therefore, in the present study, surface cultural materials have been interpreted by preparing a statistically citation able and scientific population through archeological study. Analyzes obtained from classification, typology and methodological analysis of this statistical population as well as comparative comparison of pottery species with similar examples of contemporaneous settlements show the formation of sequences of some settlements in the Parthian period and continuous continuity before and after the Parthian period in this Has an area.                                                                                                    
Aims of Research: The purpose of this study is to identify and introduce Parthian pottery in Sarakhs plain, classification and typology of Parthian pottery in the region.                                                       

Materials and Methods
The present research is based on the purpose of basic research and based on the nature and method of descriptive-analytical research. The basis of the research is the study of Parthian pottery along with library studies. Methods and tools of data collection in this research have been done in two ways: documentation and field activities. In the documentary stage, all written sources, images and maps were first collected and analyzed. In field studies, while surveying the plains in the region and identifying the settlements, the required archaeological information and evidence (pottery) were collected from the mentioned areas and recorded in the database. In order to compare the chronology of the settlements and analyze the pottery of the Parthian settlements, the total pottery collected from 14 Parthian sites was examined and compared with other sites of the Parthian period such as Nessa, Merv and Sarakhs oasis of Turkmenistan. It was not possible to identify more Parthian sites through surface surveys. 91 index pottery were selected for photography, design, classification, typology and comparison with other Parthian sites. The index samples were selected as research materials based on classification and typology. In archeology, when classifying, the differences and similarities of the pottery in question must be clearly evident in the various groups that are distinguished; In such a way that no further explanation is needed for easy identification of one group from another. It is logical to expect that no two groups of objects classified in the main and important criteria are common to each other (Azarnoosh 1377: 76). In the present study, first, in a general division, pottery pieces are divided into five general categories, including: 1- edge 2- body 3- floor 4- base 5- handle, and then edge pieces that can be recognized in the form of a container. 

Discussion and Results  
In this study, 91 Parthian pottery pieces were identified from 14 ancient settlements related to the Parthian period, many of which have chronological sequences and in addition to the works of the Parthian period, also have the works of other periods. Settlements were classified based on pottery typology, comparative studies of pottery find, and archaeological excavations in southern Turkmenistan, northeastern Iran, eastern Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other regions within and outside the region. A total of 26 sites in 11 areas for this study in the order in which it is presented has the most references. Based on this, a table was designed for each cultural region and settlements of each basin in which the amount and percentage of comparison is clearly significant (Table 2).     

Archaeological study of Sarakhs plain and 91 surface pottery pieces from 14 Parthian settlements were considered as the main foundation for relative chronology, classification and typology of the research. In order to obtain a scientific answer to show the cultural interactions, the method of comparative analysis was used and the findings of the archaeological study of Sarakhs plain were compared with the findings of intra-regional and extra-regional contemporaneous areas. These similarities, taxonomy, morphology, typology, and cultural connections were evident and analyzed. What results from the study of Parthian pottery findings obtained from the Sarakhs plain; According to the studies carried out on pottery attributed to the Parthian period in Sarakhs plain, this period can be divided into two periods in the mentioned plain, in the first period (formation of the Parthian government before The accession of Mehrdad I) to the Sarakhs plain is influenced by the Sarakhs oasis culture of Turkmenistan, and in the second period, until the end of the Parthian period, they are influenced by the well-known cultures of southern Turkmenistan, namely the cultures of Nessa and Merv. The presence of these pottery indicates a two-way and dynamic relationship.    

Hasan Nami, Seyed Mahdi Mousavinia,
year 5, Issue 17 (12-2021)

The northeast Iran has been the context of some of the most important events of the Parthian Period, in a way that one can restrict the geography of the Parthians to Pathawa and Hyrcania until before gradual expansion of the territory during Mehrdad the First (138-171 BC).One of the least-known aspects of the Parthian in the northeast region is the potteries assemblages. Pottery is the most abundant of the archaeological finds and is the most important one to understand the cultural specifics of the historical periods. The Parthian pottery is not the same throughout the whole empire and it can be grouped into several categories based on geographic regions. The pottery assemblage under study in this paper, collected from two seasons of excavations at ShahrTappeh in Dargaz, represents part of the Parthian pottery corpus of the northeast region. In current research, the pottery aasemblage of ShahrTappeh has been studied from the typological perspective and it has been tried to put forward specifics of the pottery of Parthian period of the northeast region by comparative studies of the similar assemblages.The most frequent forms amongst the pottery assemblage of ShahrTappeh are jar, pithos, handled jar, pot, caldron, trough, bowl and cup. These forms, which are seen from the early to late phase of the Parthian period, are comparable with specimens from Marv, Nisa, Qumes, Chasada, Shamshir Ghar, Ai Khanom, HasaniMahale, Tol Espid, Tappeh Yahya, Bardsir cemetery, Gowri Kohneh, Nadali, south of Baluchestan, Khorheh, Sang-e Shir cemetery, QalehEzhdahak and Bisotun. In addition, finding of some kiln waste in the second season of excavation at ShahrTappeh suggest that this site was a center for pottery production in the northeast during the Parthian period. Lack of glazed ware, rarity of the painted ware and the prevalence of the plain ware are the most characteristics of the ShahrTappeh pottery assemblage. The latter was used as common ordinary ware during the Parthian period and based on comparative studies they were parts of the pottery tradition of the Parthians. 
Keywords: The Northeast Region of Iran, Dargaz, ShahrTappeh, Pottery, Parthian Period.

The site of ShahrTappeh is located near the town of Chapeshlow in the northeast Iran. From several aspects this site has important in archaeology of the Parthian Period: with more than 70 ha, the site of ShahrTappeh is one of the largest sites of this period in the northeast Iran; 2. The site is just 100 km, as crow flies, from the first capital of the Parthians; 3. Archaeological data, including fortifications, acropolis, sharestan (lower town), industrial quarter and cultural materials recovered from the excavations comparable with those from Nisa, suggest that the site was a city in the Parthian period; 4. Based on materials recovered from the surface and excavations, ShahrTappeh was a single-period site of the Parthian period in the northeast region. These items suggest that ShahrTappeh was one of the most important Parthian centers of the northeast region. Regarding the importance of the site of ShahrTappeh in the northeast region we try in this paper to discuss the main pottery characteristics of the site to some extent. In this line, first we have studied the pottery forms of the site and then we have chosen 89 sherd fragments and whole vessels for in-depth studies. We have tried to choose the pottery sample so that it is the representative of the whole assemblage. In the following the pottery assemblage has been divided into two classes: open forms and closed forms, and then each class has been discussed. Finally, we tried to discuss, in a separate part, the common features of the Parthian pottery of the region from this study and at the end we propose a pattern for identification and characterization of the Parthian pottery in the northeast region. 

Typology and General Characteristics of the Study Sample
From the pottery collection recovered from two seasons of excavations at ShahrTappeh, 89 pottery fragments and whole vessels were chosen for study here. At the first stage, these potteries are divided into two classes: open forms and closed forms. The closed forms of the ShahrTappeh assemblage include necked jars and simple jars, pithoi, stoups, caldrons, troughs, a vessel type known as Misagh and base fragments of the vessels. The open forms include bowls and cups. Without considering the various types of forms, the ware has some general characteristics. The pottery collection under study is all plain. No glazed ware is found in ShahrTappeh yet. Some of the sherds have incised, applique or burnished decorations. The sherds usually have mean thickness, but both thick and thin variants are also seen. The color paste covers a spectrum: buff, light orange, orange, red and gray. The color of slip ranges from buff, light buff, dark buff, greenish buff, orange buff, reddish buff, buff orange, light orange, dark orange, reddish orange, red, greenish red, buff brown, gray to greenish gray. All samples are wheel made and the temper agent used is mineral, including sand, silt and white particles. The kiln temperature was enough and all sherds were exposed to proper heat. 

With more than 70 ha in area, ShahrTappeh is one the largest Parthian sites of the northeast region. The important point about this site is that it is a single-period site and discussing about its finds can be pursued from this perspective. One of the most important finds of ShahrTappeh is pottery. Except typological and technical grounds, the Parthian potteries of ShahrTappeh can be assessed from the viewpoints of chronology, comparable specimens, imported potteries and local production. The potteries assemblage of ShahrTappeh is datable to the early to late Parthian period. This conclusion is based on comparative grounds. On this basis, the ShahrTappeh specimens are comparable with those of eastern Parthian Empire. The early Parthian potteries of the site are comparable with those of Nisa, Marv and Qumes. Some of the specimens are comparable with pottery from Charseda, Shamshir Ghar and Ai Khanomwhich are categorized in the Seleucid-Parthian context. Although the site established in the early Parthian period, it lasted to the end of the era. Among the potteries assemblage of ShahrTappeh there are specimens that are comparable with those from Tol Spid, Tappeh Yahya, Bardsir cemetery, Gowri Kohneh, Nadali, south of Baluchestan, Khorheh, Sang-e Shir cemetery, QalehEzhdahak and Bisotun. The pottery types of ShahrTappeh can be assessed from the import and local production viewpoints. Amongst the potteries of ShahrTappeh a burnished vessel dated to the 1st to 3rd centuries AD has been found. Existence of this specimen indicates the importation of such vessels from the southeast region to the northeast region including ShahrTappeh. On the other hand, discovery of large amounts of kiln waste suggest that the site was a manufacturing center for pottery vessels. It should be noted that as no deformed specimens were found, we cannot make comments about the local variants. In general, potteries of ShahrTappeh which are comparable with assemblages from the eastern Iran can be dated from the early to the late Parthian period. These pottery types that in which imported specimens and local production can be seen, are representatives of some of the Parthian pottery types of the northeast region. 

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