عنوان مقاله [English]
The northwest region of Iran has a special place in Iranian prehistoric studies for reason of its proximity to the most important cultural centers such as Caucasus, Minor Asia, Zagros, Mesopotamia as well as its placement on the routes to the eastern and central parts of Iran. The lack of long-term archaeological investigations has caused many problems and complexities in the chronological and cultural sequences at this region. On the one hand, the chronological table of northwestern Iran relies on the chronology proposed for the Lake Urmia Basin which due to its geographical character, cannot be generalized to the whole parts of the northwest. From the other hand, the eastern part of the east Azerbaijan province remained as an obscure region in the chronological framework of the Iranian archaeology. Although this area has a suitable environmental condition, but our knowledge about its various cultural sequences and relationship with the neighboring areas is still very rare. For example, there is no information about the earliest human settlements in the region as well as the cultural continuity or discontinuity in different periods. The period between the end of Hajifirouz until the beginning of the Kura-Aras culture in the chronological table of the northwestern of Iran is one of the most important but very obscure periods. The past activities in this area, focused on excavations at Hasanlu, Dalma and Pisdeli sites, have been attempting to provide a chronology for the Chalcolithic period of the area and correction of the Hasanlu’s chronological table. In total, the results of these studies led to the recognition and correlation of Hasanlu VIII (Pisdeli-middle and late chalcolithic), Hasanlu IX (Dalma-early chalcolithic) and Hasanlu X (Neolithic) in the whole chronological sphere of this region. This chronological table was the main and the only source of information which was later revised. Moreover, recent excavations in the Kul Tepe of Jolfa and Davagoz at Khoy, with radiocarbon dating, have shed new lights on the Chalcolithic of the northwestern Iran. However, these studies do not include the eastern part of the northwest and currently a comprehensive picture of the cultural evolution at this region is missing. Also, there are basic questions regarding the landscape, regional relative chronology, cultural trends, cultural nature, and regional and trans-regional interactions in the eastern part of the Urmia Lake in this period.
Keywords: Qara Dagh, Hourand Basin, Chronology, Neolithic, Chalcolithic.
Introduction & Method
Hourand County is a main cradle of the prehistoric cultures in the northwestern part of Iran. But it has not been considered as a key zone in the chronological sphere of the northwest due to the lack of archaeological invetigations. Since this area is a bridge between the eastern and western part of the Western Iran, it can play an important role in defining the cultures of the sixth to fourth millenniums B.C. and provide a new relatively chronology for the eastern part of the northwestern Iran. In order to establish a relative dating for the studied area and to understand the process of cultural trends at Qara Dagh area during the chalcolithic period, some questions were raised. In the present article, it is attempted to study the pottery found during the new surveys at Hourand in a comparative-typological approach. This approach will help us to provide a relative chronology of the cultural horizons at Hourand, to complete and revise the chronological table of the northwest, to study the cultural interactions with other regions during the sixth to the fourth millennium B.C. and also to solve other obscure points such as the cultural place of the region during the late Neolithic until the Early Chalcolithic period. Based on the studies done on the pottery of Hourand (in terms of form, technique and decoration), it is assumed that they overlap with some other pottery traditions of Hasanlu, Kultepe of Jolfa, Davagoz at khoy, Bostanabad, Lavin Tepe, Kohne Tepe Pasgasi, Idir Tepe and Ghosha Tepe. Some of these sites have been excavated in recent years and now there are new C14 datings that provide a new foundation for the chronological table of the northwestern Iran during this period. As regard to the archeological activities in the sites listed in our article, a new revised table has been proposed that could be a great help in updating the sequences of the chronological table of the northwest of Iran.
Basically, the Hourand Region is a new area in the eastern part of Urmia Lake. This region is influenced greatly by the cultures of the Uramia Lake. Based on the archaeological evidence derived from Hourand, the influence of Dalma’s culture is seen in the fifth millennium B.C. It shows the interactions and convergence between this region and the next culture of Uramia Lake known as Dalma. But Dalma culture has not made major changes in the Hourand culture. In other words, in the earliest phases of Hourand culture, the characteristic features of the late Neolithic have been recognized so that it is impossible to identify a limit between these two periods in Hourand. However, the end of the Neolithic in Hourand was estimated in the first quarter of the fifth millennium BC. In this regard, the results of the chronology of the neighboring region in Davagoz (where the time span of the Neolithic to the Chalcolitic is estimated at 5400-5000 B.C.), can also be used to complete the Neolithic of the eastern part of the Hourand region. Thus, it is possible to fill the gap between the culture of Hajifirouz and Dalma in the southern region of Urmia Lake. The Hourand area yielded also important cultural evidence from late Neolithic to the beginning of the Kura-Aras culture which can help to complete the chronology of the eastern part of the northwestern Iran. Based on available information and C14 dating from recent excavations in the northwestern Iran, there is a new opportunity to revise the sixth to the fourth millennium B.C. chronology. The comparative studies of pottery and the results of relative chronology indicate that the earliest cultural sequences in Hourand is the transition from the late Neolithic to the early Chalcolithic. the study of variations of the Hourand’s pottery during the Chalcolithic period shows the technical similarities to the pottery of other sites of northwestern Iran and suggests that this region has extensively trans-regional relations and interactions during the transitional period of the late Neolithic/early chalcolithic to the late chalcolithic period with Urmia lake, northern Iran, Caucasus and the Zagros region. Based on the study of the material culture of Hourand and neighboring regions, the prehistoric chronological table of the region was clarified. Thus, the chronology of the eastern part of the northwest can be classified as follows: transitional period of the late Neolithic/early chalcolithic (5400-5000 B.C.), early Chalcolithic/Dalma (5000-4500BC), middle chalcolithic/late Chalcolithic1/Pisdeli (4500-4200BC) late Chalcolithic 2-3 (4200-3700/3600BC). Accordingly, we find that in the eastern part of northwest, there has been a chronological sequence that continued without any interruption from the late Neolithic to the late chalcolithic 2-3. Gradually, during the fourth millennium B.C., the late Chalcolithic was influenced by the expansion of a new culture (Kura-Aras) that coexisted together for a while and then replaced totally by the Kura-Aras culture.