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Paper Information

Journal:   PAZHOHESH-HA-YE BASTANSHENASI IRAN   spring 2017 , Volume 7 , Number 12 ; Page(s) 245 To 259.

The Urban Structure and Chronology of the Ancient City of Natel on the Basis of Historical Texts and Archaeological Investigation, Northern Iran

Author(s):  mohajerinezhad abdolreza, KARIMIAN HASAN, Saghaee Sara*
The ancient city of Natel has been one of the famous Early-Islamic cities of northern Elburz mountain chain (Tabaristan province); whose ruins have been identified in jungles of Natel-Kenar district, in the vicinity of a village with the same name. Based on historical evidences from early Islamic centuries, Natel was located in between ancient cities of Amol and Chalous, and together with its barracks was accounted as one of the residences of the Muslim governors of northern Iran. As the historical evidences have accounted, like several other Sasanian and early Islamic cities, there existed a barrack called Duke in the vicinity of Natel, in which 500 soldiers were ready to control the state of affairs in Tabaristan. This city was one of the largest cities of Tabaristan in the Abbasid era. The importance of this city in second half of the third century was so much so that Hassan-Ibn Zeid Alavi sought allegiance from people of the area towards forming a Zeidi Shia government. Despite to the mention of the city in most historical and geographical references about northern Iran, there exists numerous questions in relation to its life-time, as well as form and function, as the city has been completely ruined. And so, the aim of the present research is to lay out the chronology of the Natel city, and also retrieve its spatial organization and settlement style. To this end, all information about the city is extracted from the written resources, through a descriptive-analytical method, to be used in the analysis, in comparison with results from the archaeological studies. The authors have carried out signif-icant field study in order to ascertain the form and spatial structure of this city; examples of which are two seasons of excavations in the years 1387 and 1389, and systematic surface sur-vey in 1392 A. H. /2013. As a result, it became evident that the city of Natel had an irregular oc-tagonal plan and that the prevailing patterns of Iranian central cities were adopted towards for-mation of its boroughs (including the Arg, Sharestan and Rabaz). Stone and wood were the main architectural materials used in this city, and the urban designers have benefited from the “ Shim Roud” river for strengthening the south-eastern fortifications. In addition, trenches were dug in parallel to other walls to complete city’ s defensive system. Interestingly, the security of defensive walls of the governmental Arg was also provided through a different trench and thus it can be accepted that Natel had a unique plan and defensive system.
Keyword(s): Islamic cities,Tabaristan cities,the city of Natel,Padusbanan dynasty
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