عنوان مقاله [English]
Sirjan was one of five districts in Kerman province during the Islamic periods. According to archaeological research and historical written sources the location of the city changed several times. At the time from the 6th to 9th century AH (12th to 15th century AD) the city of Sirjan was located at the site called Qal´eh Sang. During the first season of archaeological survey and excavation besides the identification and discovery of architectural remains, a big variety of different types of Islamic ceramics was found in large quantities which suits for further specialized studies. Questions arising on the ceramics are concerning the variation of ceramic decorations, the dating of the objects as well as the characteristics of local production at Qal´eh Sang. To answer these questions a descriptive-analytical approach is applied on data from archaeological fieldwork activities. The goal of these analyses is to give answers about the relative chronology, the role of Qal´eh Sang on cultural interactions with other regions, the zenith and descent of Qal´eh Sang on base of documented pottery finds in comparison with historical written sources as well as on the local pottery production during early Islamic times. At Qal´eh Sang many ceramic shards dating from Middle Elamite to Qajar period were documented, but the majority belongs to the time from the 6th to 9th century AH (12th to 15th century AD). These ones show similarity to pottery finds from Jiroft, Ghubayra, Kashan, Rey, Farahan, Gorgan, Neyshabour, Belgheys near Esfarayen, several sites on the Northern coast of the Persian Gulf as well as Al-Mataf, Kush and Al-Huleylah in Ras Al-Khaimah (U.A.E). Some pieces seems also to be imported from Azerbaijan and Afghanistan or f.e. from China during the Yuan and Ming dynasty as evidenced by fragments of blue and white ware and Celadon. In general, the investigation of the ceramic finds from Qal´eh Sang can be used as a good indicator for the developments of trade contacts with centres along the coasts of the Persian Gulf. Trading contacts between the Persian Gulf and Sirjan have been an important economical branch for the exchange of goods with Central Iran and is also an indicator for the imminent influence on the development of the Southern cities.
Keywords: Old City of Sirjan, Qal´eh Sang, Pottery Typology, Islamic Periods, Archaeology of Southern Iran.
The old city of Sirjan counted at the time from the early Islamic period until the 4th century AH (10th century AD) and from the 6th century AH (12th century AD) until Qajar Period (19th century AD) to the major important sites of economic trade in Southern Iran. Until the 4th century AH it was also the capital of Kerman province (Ebn-e Khordadbeh, 1991: 38-40; al-Maqdisi, 2006: 681; Ebn-e Hawqal, 1987: 73). With the choice of city of Kerman as provincial capital during the time from the 4th until 6th century AH (10th and 12th century AD) the main route changed also via Sirjan to “Hormoz-Jiroft-Kerman-Yazd-Central Iran” (Amirhajloo, 2015b: 185). But socio-political developments during the 6th and 7th century AH (12th and 13th century AD) and the turmoil and rising insecurities at Jiroft in the 7th century AH (13th century AD) made it necessary that the main routes crossed Sirjan instead of Jiroft (ibid: 190). The growth of the cities and villages in the Sirjan plain were connected to this main route as well as to the city of Sirjan and the settlements on its periphery were highly interconnected to the trade in Southern Iran and the coastal areas of the Persian Gulf. According to archaeological research and historical written sources Sirjan´s location changed several times during Islamic periods. Archaeological excavations which were conducted in 1970 and assessments of relative dating on surface pottery finds showed that at the Early Islamic period the site of Sirjan was located at the site of Qal´eh Kafar, about 10 km southeast to the modern town of Sirjan (Morgan & Leatherby 1987). From the 6th century AH (12th century AD) onwards the site was re-established at Qal´eh Sang, about 2 km to the West of Qal´eh Kafar. By that reason at Qal´eh Kafar pottery is exclusively attested until the 6th century AH (12th century AD), like at Qal´eh Sang from the 6th to the 9th century AH (12th to 15th century AD) (Amirhajloo, 2015a). Likewise from this point in time there are first mentioning of Sirjan at the site of Qal´eh Sang (Afzal al-Din Kermani, 1947: 426; Monshi Kermani, 1949: 84-85; Hamdallah Mustawfi, 2009: 201; Sovar al-Aqalim, 1974: 55). Before that there is no historical record about Qal´eh Sang or the existence of a white limestone outcrop inside of Sirjan.
Research demand and purpose: Considering that Qal´eh Sang, the second location of the old city of Sirjan, was neglected by archaeological research until recent times and there was a lack of knowledge about the settlement and its cultural material, intensive research on the ceramic finds will provide new data about the developments of the city, its contacts with contemporary neighbouring and distant regions as well as about the local pottery production. The actual purposes of this contribution is to gain more data about typology, relative dating of ceramic finds and to enlarge the knowledge about the quantity and quality of local produced pottery during the Islamic periods from the 6th to 9th century AH (12th to 15th century AD).
Questions: What is the variation of ceramic decorations at Qal´eh Sang and which period they are dating too? When was the zenith and descent of local pottery production at Qal´eh Sang and what are their characteristics?
Geographical characteristics and archaeological evidence of Qal´eh Sang
Qal´eh Sang is located on the Western fringes of Ezatabad village to the West of Old Sirjan in a distance of about eight km to the modern city of Sirjan. Its precise geographical coordinates are 55°45ʹ34˝ to 55°46ʹ2˝ E and 29°21ʹ49˝ to 29°22ʹ8˝ N and it is situated about 1745 m.a.s.l. (Map 1). This site is the second place where Sirjan was located during the Islamic times. In central position of the site a natural white-coloured limestone outcrop is situated which is the most prominent height in the Sirjan plain. Its natural shape comes with the best characteristics for the separation of the ruler´s headquarter and the popular dwelling area (Figure 1-3).
The ruler´s palace and the military garrison (”Kohandezh”) were located on top and the slopes of the limestone outcrop and adjacent the downtown dwelling areas (”Sharestan”), two mud brick enclosures, towers as well as the “Rabaz” for livestock barns and agricultural areas in the periphery. Qal´eh Sang with the two mud brick enclosures is given an extent of about 30ha. But in addition with the peripheral area it has an extent of more than 85ha. The total length of the enclosing walls outside of Qal´eh Sang is about 1950 m. The south-eastern part of the enclosing wall is characterized by its bigger height and thickness and the used mud bricks are of bigger dimensions. It also seems like that these parts are the earliest. Further, 49 towers were able to identify along the wall. The most prominent in situ context at Qal´eh Sang is the stone Minbar made of white marble stone which Thuluth inscription on its body mentioning the date 789 AH (Varjavand, 1972: 112). According to the characterization and inscription on the Minbar´s body it seems like the objects remained unfinished (Amirhajloo, 2015a: 28). P. G. Sykes identified the date 410 AH in the inscription on the top of limestone outcrop (Sykes, 1957: 427). During recent archaeological activities at Qal´eh Sang a stonecutting workshop as well as a bathhouse with an extent of approximately 180 m2 were discovered (Amirhajloo, 2015a).
The ceramic found at Qal´eh Sang can be subdivided in four primary groups: “plain without glaze”, decorated without glaze”, “monochrome glazed” and “polychrome glazed”. The decorations on decorated samples without glaze are including patterns that are incised, imprinted, applied or relief, stamped, moulded, reticulated and double shell. Plain monochrome glazed wares comes with clayey, frit or porcelain paste and white, light to dark turquoise, light to dark green, azure, thistle and light to dark brown colours. Some of the decorated monochrome glazed examples have a clay paste and white to turquoise, light to dark green glaze colours with moulded patterns and applied rope pattern under glaze. But often monochrome glazed examples are coming with a frit paste and glazes of turquoise colouration with moulded decoration patterns. Likewise samples of decorated Celadon wares including variations from light green on white, dark green, light green or olive and light green to yellow colours with incised, grooved and stamped or moulded fish or poeny-floral decoration motifs.