عنوان مقاله [English]
With the expansion of the Kura-Aras culture in the late fourth millennium, and especially the third millennium BCE, a large portion of Northwestern Iran and Eastern Anatolia came under the domination of this culture. The exact nature of cultural communication and interaction between these two regions, especially in the third millennium BCE, has not been thoroughly investigated. With new archaeological excavations in recent years in both these regions, valuable data have become available for archaeologists to compare cultural materials from both these regions. Still, data on Kura-Aras culture in Northwestern Iran are mostly compared with sites in South Caucasus, which is known as this culture’s homeland. This comparative study attempts to compare cultural materials obtained from Kura-Aras cultural sites in the northwest of Iran, especially pottery and architecture that are the main features of Kura-Aras culture, with data from Eastern Anatolia Because of its proximity to the Caucasian lands, Eastern Anatolia, especially its northern part, constitute some of the first areas subjected to the expansion of Kura-Aras culture. Accordingly, the main research question in this study is what are the similarities and differences between materials belonging to a similar culture (Kura-Aras) from two different geographic regions. The results indicate that although the similarities between the cultural materials from Eastern Anatolia and Northwestern Iran prior to the formation of the Kura-Aras culture is based on the spatial distribution of lesser-known pottery, known as “Chaff Faced Ware”, these similarities reach the highest point in the Early Bronze Age, coinciding with the expansion of Kura-Aras culture in both Northwest Iran and East Anatolia. On the other hand, despite the remarkable similarities between the cultural materials related to the Kura-Aras culture in all areas under the influence of this culture, there are still regional differences, for the instance in architecture, that call for close attention.
Communication and cultural interactions between North-Western Iran and Eastern Anatolia at the third millennium and the end of the fourth millennium BC have not been studied and clarified well, although both regions were among the main centers for the development of the Kura–Araxes culture during the third millennium and the end of the fourth millennium BC. Concurrent with the expansion of the Kura–Araxes culture in the South Caucasian regions during the Bronze Age, large areas of North-Western Iran and Eastern Anatolia were also dominated by this culture. However, cultural interactions between these two regions have not been studied and clarified well over the period mentioned. A look at the dispersion of the areas with this culture suggests that this culture expanded mainly in Northwestern Iran and Eastern Anatolia. However, the data obtained from the exploration of areas in Northwestern Iran are usually compared with those of South Caucasus, the native land of this culture. Therefore, we have tried to conduct a comparative study of the material data of this culture in these two regions.
Considering the homogeneous nature of the data related to the Kura–Araxes culture, there is a high degree of similarity, especially in pottery products. Contrary to pottery-related data in architecture, although circular monuments are among the characters of this culture, these monuments appear to have been developed more in Northwestern Iran than in Eastern Anatolia. We can make no comprehensive comparison at least at the present time in cases such as burial due to the small data available in this regard.
The rapid expansion of the material data of the Kura–Araxes culture in a large geography gave rise to various views about the phenomenon of migration, cultural interactions, trade, and other factors in the archaeological literature of this culture. No matter which factor(s) caused this expansion, the material culture of North-Western Iran and Eastern Anatolia had the highest degree of homogeneity during this period. These similarities are rooted in the common Kura–Araxes culture expanded in these areas and continued for more than a millennium so that the cultural homogeneity of these regions continued after the collapse of this culture in the middle and late Bronze Age through the painted pottery products of the Urmia-Van culture.
A Comparison of the Kura–Araxes culture in North-Western Iran and Eastern Anatolia
Like the sites in the South Caucasus, the material data of this culture in North-Western Iran and Eastern Anatolia, along with local differences, show remarkable similarities in pottery and architectural data. Generally, the pottery products of the Kura–Araxes culture are black, gray, red, and dark. The main difference between these regions lies in the forms of these pottery products. They are found as small pots, jugs, bowls, wide shallow dishes and cups in all regions of this culture with a different percentage of frequency. Most of the studied sites in North-Western Iran and Eastern Anatolia belong to the second and third phases. In relation to the first phase of the culture, Sos Höyük, Arsalantepe, Geoy Tepe K1 and Kul Tepe of Hadishahr are among the few comparable sites related to the formation stages of the Kura–Araxes culture in North-Western Iran and Eastern Anatolia.
Outside of the Caucasus region, the most common type of circular architecture related to the Kura–Araxes culture was found in Northwestern Iran, especially in Yanik Tepe. Although the circular architecture was also common in Eastern Anatolia, it did not have a complicated advanced structure, like the architecture in the northwestern Iran, the Yanik Tepe and Haftavan Tepe. In general, the Van-Muş region in Eastern Anatolia has the highest degree of similarity to northwestern Iran in terms of circular architecture.
There is little information about burial practices and types of tombs in the Kura–Araxes culture. No significant burials have been reported in relation to the Kura–Araxes culture yet. However, recent excavations in Khoda Afarin and the discovery of a room-shaped tomb in Kohneh Tepesi yielded valuable information in this relation. Although the tomb of the VIA phase Arsalantepe from the point of view of the technician, as well as the objects obtained from it, is different from that of the Kohneh Tepesi; but these examples show the formation of a sociopolitical organization in the size of tribe in the Kura–Araxes culture
The Kura–Araxes culture created a wonderful cultural homogeneity for more than a millennium in all its dominated areas. Therefore, the cultural homogeneity of the northwestern and eastern parts of Anatolia during the Bronze Age was more due to the gradual expansion of a homogeneous culture (the Kura–Araxes culture) than an economic or cultural interaction. In this regard, the physical geography of the area should also be considered. Unlike the roads leading to northwestern Iran through the Caucasus, the communication roads from the northwestern to the eastern parts of Anatolia had more complex conditions and were limited to a few natural roads.
We need to take into account various factors in order to better understand this culture’s development process and its dynamics, this culture can be described shortly as a social movement which had no central organization and a military and political force but which had an important cultural dimension. It is also clear that understanding these processes involves relying on more than a single model. It should be explained by many factors including immigration, interactions, trade, imitation, homogeneity and a disorganized social movement.