Geoarchaeology and the value of multidisciplinary palaeoenvironmental approaches: a case study from the Tehran Plain, Iran
Gilmore, G. K., Stevens, T., Buylaert, J. P., Coningham, R. A. E., Batt, C., Fazeli Nashli, H., Young, R. and Maghsoudi, M. (2011) Geoarchaeology and the value of multidisciplinary palaeoenvironmental approaches: a case study from the Tehran Plain, Iran. Geological Society of London Special Publication, 352. pp. 49-67.
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1144/SP352.5
Tepe Pardis, a significant Neolithic–Chalcolithic site on the Tehran Plain in Iran, is, like many sites in the area, under threat from development. The site contains detailed evidence of (1) the Neolithic–Chalcolithic transition, (2) an Iron Age cemetery and (3) how the inhabitants adapted to an unstable fan environment through resource exploitation (of clay deposits for relatively large-scale ceramic production by c. 5000 BC, and importantly, possible cutting of artificial water channels). Given this significance, models have been produced to better understand settlement distribution and change in the region. However, these models must be tied into a greater understanding of the impact of the geosphere on human development over this period. Forming part of a larger project focusing on the transformation of simple, egalitarian Neolithic communities into more hierarchical Chalcolithic ones, the site has become the focus of a multidisciplinary project to address this issue. Through the combined use of sedimentary and limited pollen analysis, radiocarbon and optically stimulated luminescence dating (the application of the last still rare in Iran), a greater understanding of the impact of alluvial fan development on human settlement through alluviation and the development of river channel sequences is possible. Notably, the findings presented here suggest that artificial irrigation was occurring at the site as early as 6.7±0.4 ka (4300–5100 BC).