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Paper Information

Journal:   PAZHOHESH-HA-YE BASTANSHENASI IRAN   SPRING 2018 , Volume 8 , Number 16 ; Page(s) 183 To 202.

Analysing the Role of Environmen in the Parthian Settlements Distribution: A Case Study in the Chelchay River Drainage, Minodasht, Golestan, Iran

The great Gorgan plain was considered as one of the significant area in Parthian and Sassanid empires because of its good climate and strategic location. The Chelchay River drainage in Minodasht in the east margin of the Gorgan plain located to forming a particular cultural landscape in the region since it had two different natural views: plain and jungle mountain. Both environment potential and cultural richness as well as historical area which were identified in archaeological investigation have provided an appropriate base for landscape archaeological studies. In systematic archaeological investigations with the aim of the study of the role of environmental components in the distribution of Parthian settlements which were undertaken on Fall, 2016, 110 zones were identified, among which 80 zones were belonged to Parthian period. This number advocates not only the significant role but also the strategic position and favorable environment of this region in the survey of cultural history of Iran in Parthian period. The most important question of the research it could mention to the way of forming and distribution of settlement, the affection factor in finding location, and also the recognition of the settlement pattern in Parthian at region. One of the new approaches in Archaeology is the Landscape Archaeology which studies the relationship between the environment and settlement factors. Applying the Landscape Archaeology in this article, it is endeavored to identify and reconstruct the effective environmental variants and patterns in the distribution of Parthian settlements in the region. In this regard, using GIS, archaeological data of Minodasht was put in the context of environment, and the output maps illustrate that the altitude and connecting roads factors are the most effective environmental characteristics in the distribution pattern; Altitude and roughness are important faction in distribution of Parthian settlements in the Chelchay River drainage. Minodasht county is consist of two sections of plain and intermountain vallies from the topographic point of view. According to the distribution maps, Parthian inhibition prefers to establish their settlements in both plain and foothill areas. On the other hand, the specific geographical situation of Minodasht (as one of part of Hirkan land), in the middle of central Asia and Iranian plateau, makes it as the intermediate region in economic, political and cultural trades. Passing one of paths of the Silk roods from Hirkan region which was also referred by Historical documents, is considered as an affirmation on this interacting role and intervention in the region. About the life of Parthian inhibitions in the Chelchay River drainage, it could be concluded that locating on the extension of Alborz Mountains caused easy access of water source (such as Chelchay River and Narmab river sand spring) for the region. Other significant factors in the life of inhabitants are altitude, slope gradient and its direction. The altitude of the investigation is being about 60 to 1300 meters asl., which indicate that this region was considered foothill and plain and also the slope gradient in most of region is less than 10degree. Aforementioned factors demonstrate that the life of Parthian inhibition to minodasht was base on agriculture and ranching. Generally, according to the mention factors and the landscape of the investigation site, the distribution of settlement in mountain area was liner, in the extension of river and interacting road which had affective role on security of inter – plain settlement. In the plain section, Parthian settlement with the average of 3 hectares, was village and less population center which were formed around Dasht Halghe. It could be said that the Central Place Models is the pattern of the region.
Keyword(s): Landscape Archaeology,Archaeological Investigation,Minodasht,Parthia
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