عنوان مقاله [English]
La’lvar region of Markazi province, a part of the catchment basin of the great Qomrood River, is referred to a section that differs from the main bed of Qomrood in terms of topographical structure of the geographical environment and includes an inter-mountain plain and the high unevenness around it. This region has always been welcomed by humans due to its favorable environmental conditions, and hence settlement evidence of different periods can be observed in it. According to archaeological surveys conducted in La’lvar region during two periods in 2008 and 2014, one hundred and eighty-five archaeological sites from the fifth millennium BC to the contemporary era were identified. One of the most important settlement periods of this region is the Parthian period as evidenced by the existence of large and significant sites such as Khorheh, Shahriari, and Jam. Unfortunately, despite the high importance of this period, no comprehensive and independent studies so far have been conducted on it, and questions such as how has been the structure of settlement pattern in Parthian period and what have been the factors affecting Parthian sites are still remained unanswered. Therefore, based on the data obtained from archaeological activities in the region, and preparation of GIS maps, the authors embarked on the study of these issue, and finally analyzed and reconstructed the landscape of La’lvar region in Parthian period as well as the environmental patterns of the settlements in this period. The results indicate that during the Parthian period, on the one hand, the region witnessed an increase in the number of settlements and population growth, and on the other hand, in this period significant and central large sites such as Khorheh and Jam monuments were formed. In this era, unlike the previous periods, most of the settlements were formed on the banks of the river and on flat land with fertile soil, in turn, indicating that more attention is paid to the necessary conditions for agriculture-based livelihoods.
Keywords: La’lvar Watershed, Parthian Sites, Settlement Pattern, Environmental Factors, Archaeological Survey.
La’lvar River’s Watershed is located south of Markazi province of Iran or south of the Central Plateau of Iran. This region encompasses the city of Mahallat and the northwestern part of Delijan and a small part of Khomein with an area of 2880 km2, which is hydrologically situated in La’lvar River’s Watershed (map. 1). According to archaeological surveys carried out in La’lvar region, 185 archaeological sites were identified, of which 44 sites contain settlement evidence of the Parthian period, indicating that this region has been very important in the Parthian period. In the present research, using the information obtained from comprehensive archaeological survey and analysis of Geographical Information System (GIS), it has been attempted to analyze the collected data in terms of settlement patterns and influential factors as well as the process of settlement changes and developments. Therefore, two fundamental questions are brought up in this regard: 1- How has been the settlement period of La’lvar River’s Watershed the Parthian period? 2- What were the factors affecting the settlement patterns and changes in La’lvar River’s Watershed during the Parthian period and what effect did these factors have on the changes in settlement patterns during the Parthian period?
Research Hypotheses: The settlement pattern of La’lvar River’s Watershed was formed llongitudinally during the Parthian period on the margins of the main rivers and waterways. The settlement patterns indicate a very strong environmental impact on the formation of settlements in this period and the most important factors in the formation of settlements are the water resources and easy access to natural and environmental resources. La’lvar and Khorheh rivers have been among the most essential factors influencing the settlement changes and developments of the Parthian period, so that the majority of ancient sites of this period are formed on the margins or at close distances from the bed of these rivers.
According to the studies on Parthian sites, three sites have an area of over 20 hectares, including the sites of Jam, Hamraz castle on the margin of the main branch of Laalvar and Khorheh on the periphery of a sub-branch of Khorheh River. Additionally, two sites of Mohour Siaha (12 hectares) and GavAbad (16 hectares) are located on the margins of the main Laalvar River. Smaller sites are formed either on the margins of these two rivers or alongside small streams. Topographically, 22 Parthian sites (including all the large sites) are located on the height between 1450 and 1750 meters above sea level. This area has an elevation equal to the lower lands on riverside margins and 10 sites are located in foothill areas, reminiscent of farmer-rancher villages, the remaining 12 sites are more than 1,900 meters above sea level, which include mountainous castles, towers, small sites, and two caves that are all more than 1900 meters above sea level.
According to the studies on the placement of Parthan sites of Laalvar region (in terms of access to water, altitude, fertile soil and suitable slope), it should be noted that most of the settlements in this period are located in areas suitable for agriculture and livestock breeding, and only in 11 sites, i.e. 25% of the total sites, evidence of industrial activities, including kiln welds and metal slags is observed that except for two cases, the density of such cultural materials is very limited in other sites. It can be argued that the industry (relying on pottery production and metal melting activities) may have taken place during Parthian period in Laalvar region or in parts of some large sites such as Jam or Shahriari mound and or some locations specific to industrial activities, for instance the site of Chah-e Farrokh.
According to the above statements, it is concluded that due to the appropriate environmental conditions especially the flow of Laalvar River and two sub-branchs of Khorhe and Bazijan rivers, multiple springs, fertile land, rich rangelands and abundant hunts, the region became increasingly popular in Parthian period and welcomed a significant population, that according to the studies, the population mostly relied on agricultural livelihoods. In selecting their settlement location, not only did these people rely on margins of the main river and two secondary rivers, but also they paid full attention to the topography, slope, and quality of the land so that they established the large settlements on part of the river margin (where the river’s path was twisted and water could easily be directed towards the land by creating creeks) in a way that water could easily be supplied for the lands and a fertile soil could be provided. Animal husbandry has been also one of the livelihood methods of the region, which can be very important since in many places residents of the Parthian period, in their site location, paid more attention to their access to rangelands and foothills with forage plants rather than focusing on the main river.