عنوان مقاله [English]
نویسنده [English]چکیده [English]
This article deals with a general description of four seasons of archaeological surveys conducted in the Kouhrang Area, in Bakhtiari Highlands of southwestern Iran, emphasizing on site typological assessments and site formation processes. The surveys, conducted by the author in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011, resulted in identification of 768 sites spanning a time range from the Middle Paleolithic to the last centuries. The identified sites are nested on high elevation, from 2100 to more than 3100 m above sea level (a.s.l). During four seasons of survey less than half of the whole territories of the Central District of the Kouhrang County were surveyed. The area, located between Isfahan and Khuzestan, is famous for its high mean elevation, in most parts well over 2000 m a.s.l. Kouhrang Area is the heartland of major segment of the Bakhtiyari Confederation and the Bakhtiyari nomads pitch their tents in mid-spring to early autumn annually in various parts of this landscape. Here, the surveyed sites have been divided into 12 major groups, mainly on their morphological aspects. They include the Paleolithic open-air sites, nomadic campsites, stone-heaped graves, pre-Islamic cemeteries, Islamic cemeteries, mills, open settlements, caves/rock shelters, fortresses, mounds, rock-cut tombs, and miscellaneous. More than half of the identified sites belong to the first two categories, i.e. open-air sites of the Paleolithic Period and nomadic campsites. Most open sites are dated to the Middle Paleolithic, while there are few that could be dated to the early Neolithic or Epi-Paleolithic; most of sites of this category are associated with huge natural outcrops of siliceous rocks on river terraces along major rivers. Nomadic sites are identified literally in every spot of the landscape, but some of the typical places they are found includes on the foot of the hills or rocky outcrops, on low hill outcrops along the streams, and on moderately-sloped parts of valleys. This type of sites has no evident height and their surface finds are, in most cases, rare and degenerated. In most cases it is hard to specify with any confidence the exact dating of them. Our observations indicate that most of the modern nomadic campsites are established on the very spot of the ancient ones.
Stone-heaped graves are among the most frequent sites identified during the Kouhrang surveys. They are always in the shape of individual heaps of local stones which bear, on the basis on the few excavated examples, more than one stone-aligned grave chamber. In most cases one to four of them could be recognized alongside the crest of the stone ridges, but examples of as many as 10 are observed in certain places. The field observations show that overwhelming majorities of them have been plundered and ruined in the past. The majority of such sites, on the basis of surface sherds, could be attributed to the Achaemenid and Parthian periods. Pre-Islamic cemeteries are characterized as clusters of stone heaps and in most cases it is hard to be differentiated from stone heaps that have been collected from the farmlands by the locals. Other categories of sites have a rather low frequency in the survey area. One of the interesting points about the Kouhrang surveys is the low frequency of classic mounded sites which are, normally, among the most numerous occurring sites in other places in the Iranian Plateau. The types and frequencies of the surveyed sites clearly shows that the Kouhrang area has been the favorite niche for ancient nomadic people as do for the modern ones.