عنوان مقاله [English]
The expansion of socio-economic complexities in Central Plateau of Iran (CPI) occurred during the transitional and early chalcolithic Periods (5th millennium BCE). Methodology of the present research based on the analysis of pottery data and some other and complementary evidences of the 5th millennium BCE which have been discovered in Qazvin and Tehran Plains’ archaeological surveys, newly added sites’ excavations such as Chahar Boneh and Ebrahim Abad, re-excavations of some prehistoric sites such as Zaghe, Qabrestan and Sialk, and finally, laboratories researches and chronological studies in CPI region. Pottery production which was common place in the form of household in the half of the 6th millennium BCE in CPI’s societies, gradually, was specialized due to improving of the pottery production and painting from Sialk I1-3 to Sialk I4-5. The important changes that occurred in this period are included: the increasing of prehistoric sites in Tehran Plain; the producing of counting objects in Zagheh; putting gifts made of non-native raw materials in the graves of Zagheh; the appearance of elegant and red pottery of Cheshmeh Ali in the area of CPI; and baking of pottery in advanced furnaces in Tepe Pardis. Most of mentioned evidences on the prevalence of workshop and production activities in this period. Some important developments, such as advances in architecture, metalworking and pottery, took place from the early Chalcolithic (Sialk III1-3) to the late Chalcolithic (III6-7b). Also, the evidences of copper ore melting were obtained in Qabrestan and Sialk in this period. The existence of planning and organization in the societies of the 5th millennium BCE in CPI is proven by the use of potter’s wheel, the exploitation of advanced pottery furnaces, the decoration of interior and exterior surfaces of potteries with geometric, plant, animal, human and narrative designs, and using characteristics such as proportionality, symmetry, composition and framing are the reasons of the specialized production.
Keywords: Socio-economic Complexities, Central Plateaue of Iran, 5th Millennium BCE, Pottery Technology.
The Iranian Central Plateau communities in the last stages of the Neolithic period experienced some levels of socio-economic complexities. Evidence in the field of pottery technology tells us that why and how human societies evolved from a state of stratified to hierarchical position in CPI area during 5th millennium BCE. The increase in population, the expansion of settlements and the achievements of specialized productions were the most important consequences of this transformation.
The prevalence of economic and social mechanisms and the presence of individuals as social elites in this period becomes obvious through new technologies and innovations of specialized pottery production. This significant development reflects the existence of the institutional production control process. This process required some technical and production preconditions. They include the availability of resources and raw materials and methods of production and processing, the presence of a specialized manufacturer, demand for consumer goods, and existence of transportation mechanism. In this paper we analyze the preconditions for pottery production in the societies of CPI during the mentioned period. Determining the role of these preconditions in explaining the socio-economic complexities of the mentioned societies is one of the other goals of this article. Analysis of the complexities of prehistoric societies of CPI during this period through pottery is one aspect of innovation in this research.
Complexities and Pottery in 5th Millenniume B.C.E.
An increasing process in the production and decoration of pottery in the five layers of Sialk I also reflects the household production method of course, at a specialized level. Potteries of the sites such as Pardis, Sadiq Abadi, Cheshmeh Ali and Tepe Arastoo in Tehran plain represent an evolutionary process from the Neolithic to the transitional Chalcolithic technically and in terms of elegance and motives (Fazeli Nashly, 2001; Fazeli Nashli et. al., 2010). Transitional Chalcolithic (5200-4300 BCE) (Wong et. al., 2010: 11) had such features as settlements increasing, population growth, technological changes, the emergence of manufacturing organizations, and the appearance of trans-regional relationships. Cattle domestication was a sign of the growth of agriculture and animal husbandry in this period (Young and Fazeli Nashli, 2008). Non-native materials counting objects in Zagheh express the prevalence of a trade and management mechanism. Pottery production data in the framework of workshop production in Zagheh during 5th millennium BCE are significant (Wong et. al., 2010). Cheshmeh Ali pottery was produced with features such as better elegance, proper baking quality, multiple tempers, and a variety of patterns and forms in the Sialk II period. The discovery of the remains of furnaces and other related equipments in Tepe Pardis represent the prevalence of a specialized and workshop activity (Fazeli Nashli et. al., 2007).
The quality of Cheshmeh Ali pottery in the upper layers of Sialk II, shortly after the beginning of the 5th millennium BCE upgraded. At the same time, the Sialk northern hill was abandoned and then settling with interruptions was begun on the southern hill in the middle of the 5th millennium BCE. Meanwhile, Zagheh was abandoned and Qabrestan emerged as an industrial center.
In the lower layers of Qabrestan, the period of the middle plateau (Majidzadeh, 1976), which are synchronous with Sialk III1-3 a dark purple pottery called plum ware was obtained. The pottery evolution from Sialk II to Sialk III, including plum ware, seems to be an intra-regional process. The endogenous process of pottery technology from the late Neolithic to the late Chalcolithic (Sialk III6-7b) has been confirmed in Zagheh plain (Wong et. al., 2010). Some of the innovations in the early Chalcolithic (Sialk III1-3) are the using of pottery wheel and more advanced furnaces, the production of buff-colored pottery painted into new and innovative motives, and the use of composite tempers. At the end of the 5th millennium BCE the pottery was manufactured specialized. Technological complexities have taken place in Sialk and most of the CPI sites. As a consequence, a suitable platform was provided for new developments in the Sialk III4-5 period.
The production of pottery in the CPI was a household activity, and it has taken the first steps of specialization in the middle of the 6th millennium BCE. Improving production and upgrading quality of potteries of sialk I1-3 which led to the Sialk I4-5 pottery has been one of the examples of this specialization. Increasing the number of sites in Tehran plain, making tokens and objects of precious and semi-precious imported stones in Zagheh, the appearance of the elegant and red painted pottery of Cheshmeh Ali, and discovering of direct evidence of the production and baking of pottery in Tepe Pardis certificate on the prevalence of workshop production activities, regional and trans-regional relationships and the continuation of the specialized production process from the end of the 6th millennium BCE to the middle of the 5th millennium BCE. Using pottery wheel and advanced furnaces, and decoration of inner and outer surfaces of pottery with geometric, plant, animal, human and narrative and fiction (?) designs which are implemented using coordinates such as proportionality, symmetry, composition and framing represent specialized production. The occurrence of these events has not been possible without the guidance, supervision and support of individuals who have been known in the archaeological literature of complexity to the Social Elite.