عنوان مقاله [English]
shell A type of seashell called Cowrie, which in Persian is called by several names such as “Gajak” or “Kojak” and... So far, in many ancient deposits from the third millennium BC to the first millennium BC, mainly in the form of personal ornaments with the deceased and in some cases from the places of worship in large numbers, has been obtained. In all published reports, the mere accompaniment of these objects with other personal ornaments has introduced them as personal ornaments, while the question arises as to how this decorative tradition has remained for more than five thousand years. Given that some of today’s indigenous peoples believe beyond the aesthetic aspect of shell; These beliefs can be considered remnants of more ancient rituals? Based on this, it is hypothesized that the continued use of a non-indigenous object over time is related to a religious-ritual belief. Why at the same time the scope of such a phenomenon in the form of use in prayer and burial contexts not only in the cultural borders of Iran but also in large areas of the Eastern Levant and the Middle East has already been reported. Field ethnographic study of some indigenous peoples in western and southwestern Iran shows that these objects are used only for children regardless of gender and in adults only for women, which indicates the existence of a kind of gender and age taboo for it and belief The association of these objects with the person, in addition to the special aesthetic aspect, causes the repulsion of an evil eye They eliminate imperfection and attract goodness and blessings. This phenomenon is seen in ancient textures in the form of shell in the graves of women and children in excavation reports. But there is no sign of the use of these shell as a dignified commodity that belongs to a certain class of people in society. In a comparative analysis on the goals envisaged for this Kajak in both the contexts of ethnology today and contexts of ancient attitude toward ritual and spiritual practice, this assumption is approved only aspects of belief has caused Kajak shell has been considered for a long time and have been transported as a precious commodity by a commercial network from the coasts of the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean to parts of the Iranian plateau.
Keywords: Archaeology of Death, Shell, Cowrie Shell, Ethnoarchaeology.
The oyster is a species of marine life that is itself a member of a group of small to large marine gastropods of the family Cypraeidae, which are classified as “Cypraea”. The biological origin of this species belongs to the seas and does not exist in any river or lake. Unlike pottery and other man-made objects, this data is not used as part of the survival of living things, sometimes with slight modifications to their natural form, but discovered in a place other than their habitat and Archaeological deposits indicate that they have moved over long distances. Accordingly, the purpose of this study is to clarify the reasons for the use and function of this finding among ancient deposits from the third millennium to the beginning of history on the plateau of Iran. From a methodological point of view, in this research, a comparative-comparative method is used to explain this finding among ancient deposits as an unknown part of the problem and Ethnoarchaeology and living folk deposits as a known part. Therefore, the basis of the study is based on comparative and field methods. The statistical population is the collection of archaeological information taken from all available sources, including archaeological excavation reports and published cases without emphasis on specific specimens in the period from the third millennium to the first millennium BC, and the main reason for focusing on the tribes of the western region. And southwestern Iran due to the greatest overlap of the biological area of these tribes with the range of ancient sites studied.
So far, as a result of many archaeological excavations in Iran, samples of Cowries shell have been obtained. From the Neolithic period, oyster type Kajak from Choghasfid site and Tape Ali kush in Dehloran plain (Hole, et all, 1969: 244) and Tape Haji Firooz in the south of Urmia lake (Voigt, 1983: 263) have been reported. Kajak type in many sites of ruralization and the beginning of urbanization, such as Tel Millian Fars (Reese, 2003b, 103), Shahre sokhte (2300 to 2800) (Durante, 1977: 335: 15–6, pl. 1), Tel Iblis (Evett, 1967: 216, 217: Fig. 7) Tape Yahya (Tosi & Biscione, 1981: 39, 67: nr. 52, 78: nr. 84) & (Cataliotti-Valdina, 1979: 90) and Kazabad Ilam (Stein, 1940: pl. X: 2–3.) Have also been reported. (Reese, 1989a: 80–81). Hull believes that in light of the prevalence of interregional trade in terms of the origin of certain commodities such as turquoise and obsidian, he has mentioned the existence of shell (Dentalium, Cowrie) as one of these commodities, while their biological origin is related to the Mediterranean Sea. And the Persian Gulf has been mentioned (Hole. et all. 1969: 53, 78, 244). On the other hand, in the excavations related to the Elamite sites and the Bronze Age cemeteries of the Pishkuh areas in the Zagros, the discovery of numerous specimens of Kajak shell; Shows that in the Iron Age of Poshtkuh in the cemeteries Pusht Kaboud, Katal Gal Gal (KT.A1, KT.A7, KT.A9, KT.A10, KT.A13 with 2, 23. 1. 4) (Overlet, 2003). ) And Bordbal (BB.1, BB.3 and BB.10) have also been reported as oyster gifts with the dead (Overlet, 2003). The latest finding is the presence of shell of the type in Zagros cemetery in Sanandaj (Amelirad et all, 2012, 96. Pi 39). In which the position of the shell as a kind of necklace with the deceased indicates its use as individual decorations. In today’s ethnographic contexts, among some Lor and Kurdish tribes, the oyster’s Kajak is used as a victim or’s repellent force to protect children from evil eyes, and sometimes it is combined with strings of pecan seeds and some teeth. Of the animals, it is often attached to the child’s shoulder with a locking pin or in front of the baby’s sugar headband (Tawfiqi 1393: 87). Kojak shell is also sewn on the bridle of horses and donkeys, as well as camel hats. The front of the horse saddle, which is strong and sturdy and is placed vertically, is often adorned with a shell (Pollack, 1989: 343). (Figure 5). Among the cattle breeders of Bakhtiari and Qashqai tribes and Kurds of the western region, they installed blue beads and shell on the musk tripod and the musk itself, and the shell is considered to mean the blessing of the day and the increase of musk butter. Also, in a study on knitted bedspreads of Qashqai nomads, a technique called oeiiy Weaving has been mentioned, on which often crooked shells have been installed to repel the evil eye (Tawfiqi, 2014: 47). Among the nomads of the Bakhtiari tribe, Kajak shell and blue beads are attached to children’s wooden cradles. Likewise, mothers who have just given birth wear it on their arms or put it on a ring. In Lorestan, blue or blue beads are called kujeh or khazf, and its large type is used to repel evil eye from animals; And of its smaller type, they seek help from children to ward off the evil eye (Asadian Khorramabadi, 1353: 233), for example, among the Bakhtiari lors, there are (black stone) and (shell bead). These beads are embroidered on the baby’s outer garment or hat (Filberg, 1990: 221, 222).
Study and comparison of two discussions focusing on the use of Kajak shell in two different time frames, ie the third millennium to the first millennium BC and parts of modern local tribes in Iran confirm the signs of the use of this type of non-local shell. The oyster, which is the closest estimated source for those shores of the Persian Gulf in the south of the Iranian plateau, and sometimes the distance from the nearest coastal point to the cemeteries and areas from which these shells have been discovered and identified has been nearly a thousand kilometres. Historical and spatial analysis of the shell used according to the place of their discovery showed that the majority of them are related to two specific places, shrines and graves. The common denominator of these two contexts is related to the religious and cosmological thoughts and ideas of the people who removed them, and no doubt the components and objects within these spaces reflect their least religious value. The period is considered for the comfort of the deceased. This trend has been observed almost without interruption until the first half of the first millennium BC and simultaneously with the historical period of Iran. Eventually, since the formation of Islam as the official and dominant religion in most places, virtually all non-Islamic burial methods have become obsolete, and therefore the use of Kajak shell or any other decorative and ritual object in the grave has been eliminated, but ethnographic evidence shows that there are still signs of some beliefs and attitudes to this day, and in the meantime, the historical texts of the Islamic era confirm them, so that in many dictionaries such as Kanz al-Laghat from the eighth century AH is still a common belief of the people. Indicate the excretion of evil eyes by the white bead. The similar conditions of use of shell among some native tribes of modern Iran in the western and southwestern regions of Iran show that in both archaeological and ethnographic contexts, the use of this oyster is used only for women, children and no cases for men. Secondly, it has not been seen that in both contexts, the use of small shell has been used only for religious and decorative matters with religious meaning. For example, graves, temples and sacred spaces and the belief in repelling evil forces and wounded eyes fall into the category of religious affairs.