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Paper Information

Journal:   PAZHOHESH-HA-YE BASTANSHENASI IRAN   summer 2017 , Volume 7 , Number 13 ; Page(s) 25 To 44.

Explaining the Middle and Late Bronze Age Cultures of North-Western Iran, Case Study: Urmia Ware and Khabur Pottery

* Department of Archaeology, University of Tehran
The 2nd and 1st millennium B. C., have a special attraction for archaeologists due to the advent of widespread commercial relations and urbanization parameters, establishing an initial city-state and then the governments and creation of the empires. The 2nd millennium B. C. is known as the Bronze Age in Iranian archaeological literature. The Bronze Age is beginning from 3000 BC to 1500 B. C., divided into three shorter periods of Early, Middle and Late Bronze Ages. Early Bronze Age is known as Kura Araxes in the northwest of Iran. In the 3rd millennium BC, Kura-Araxes culture included vast part of the Caucasus, North-West, Zagros and Northern Plateau of Iran, the east and south of Anatolia, north of Mesopotamia, and Levant’ s areas in the east of Mediterranean which suddenly collapsed due to several factors. Following the collapse of these areas in the late 3rd millennium B. C., the Culture of the painted pottery flourished in the 2nd millennium B. C. After destruction of this culture during later phases (Middle and Late Bronze Age, 2nd millennium B. C. ), nomadism expanded comprehensively in northwestern Iran, Transcaucasia and Eastern Anatolia. According to chronology of Middle Bronze Age, there are two distinct types of pottery in this area; Urmia and Khabur styles. The first one found in the Haftvan Tepe VI B. Edwards invented for first time Terminology of “ Urmia style” after excavation of Haftvan Tepe VI B, however, he said it was Stronach’ s suggestion. According to the archaeological findings, the tradition began at ca. 2200 B. C. and ended at northwestern Iran, eastern Anatolia ca. 1300 B. C.; however, some researchers believed it expanded from the Qazvin plain (Sagzabad Tepe) to the southern Caucasia and near Erzurum in Turkey. Characteristically, Urmia pottery is a painted monochrome or polychrome ware on red or dark orange background. The motifs of this culture are generally geometric subdivided into Van-Urmia, Tazehkand (Karmirbird), Sevan-Uzerlik Tepe, Tray mountain and Sagezabad cultures. The latter form, Khabur, first time suggested by Melvin fowler to introduce the pithos with geometric and striped motif and Opaque colored found from Khabur Plain. It is characteristically buff ware with black or dark brown geometric or animal motifs. The Khabur wares expanded in vast area, from West and Northwest of Iran, Northern Mesopotamia, Syria and south of Anatolia, whereas Mardin region is known as the entrance gate of Khabur wares into Anatolia. This type of pottery has been dated between 1900 and 1600 B. C. in northern Mesopotamia and also between 2106 ± 68 and 1684 ± 58 B. C. by Thermoluminescent method in Dinkhah Tepe (Northwest of Iran). Khabur style was discarded and replaced by Nuzi pottery at the beginning of Early Bronze Age, but the Urmia style continued in the northwest of Iran, the Caucasia and East of Anatolia until the beginning of Iron Age. There is not much difference between Middle and Late Bronze Ages especially in subsistence strategies and the nature of settlements. The only significant difference is the advent and expansion of polychrome technique and new realistic naturalistic animal and human motifs. Some new forms of pottery appeared in Late Bronze Age including thin bowls with vertical bodies, double-angled wares and boot-shaped rhytons. In this article, there is an attempt to study the expansion of Urmia and Khabur Styles, Intra-regional features, and mutual and inter-regional relations during 2nd millennium BC. Conclusions indicate that the Bronze Age cultures, especially Khabur Style is very important due to the expansion of trade during the period, therefore, the cultures of Urmia and Khabur expanded in Caucasia, East of Turkey, North of Iraq, west and northwest of Iran during this period.
Keyword(s): Iran,Anatolia,Cultural Relations,2nd Millennium B.C,Urmia Pottery,Khabor Pottery
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