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The Study of Settlement Patterns of the Chalcolithic Sites of Asadabad Plain, With Emphasis on the Geomorphologic Factors


 Start Page 25 | End Page 37


 Studying landscapes in archeology can lead to an understanding of the relationship between human and environment. There can be found a variety of methods to understand the archeological landscapes, one of the most common of them is settlement pattern studies. Settlement pattern studies comprise of studies on the excursiveness of human activities. in the context of landscapes and the relationship between activities and the environment for the settlement pattern studies, there must be selected environmental factors for analysis that, in their modern condition, are similar to the one under study. Of the factors of the highest level of importance that one may use in the settlement pattern studies are Geomorphologic Factors. Simply put, Geomorphologic Factors are the ups and downs on the surface of the ground that have some influence on the cultural landscapes of human communities. Communities choose appropriate geomorphologic settings based on their own necessities and conditions. Asadabad plain is one of the valley plains in eastern Zagros that, considering its geological history, has experienced consistent conditions from a geomorphologic point of view. Also, the settlements formed on Asadabad plain have ended up with numerous geomorphologic conditions to create human landscapes. Considering the Geomorphologic Factors that seems to be present in the Asadabad plain during last millennia, the question that is, how did these settlements form and what was their purpose once they were established? Having such a question in mind and in order to understand the Settlement Patterns in this study, the clustering analysis method was used. In the clustering analysis section, it was tried that the observations on the same groups are the most similar to each other. This method is used for the purpose of assessing the level of similarity between the Chalcolithic settlements considering their geomorphologic conditions. Each cluster that is assigned by the analysis method can be representing a settlement pattern. Based on the clustering analysis carried out, there were identified two sets of major clusters in the Chalcolithic Sites in Asadabad plain each of which, considering the geomorphologic characteristics, are the most similar and are therefore the most different from the other clusters. One settlement pattern can be attributed to the settlements located in lower altitudes and flat parts of the plain, and the second settlement pattern indicates settlements located in higher altitudes on steep slopes. To understand the nature of these Settlement Patterns, they were analyzed based on the geographical-historic resources and ethnographical capabilities. Regarding the resources available on Asadabad, one may say that rural landscapes are the most dominant ones in Asadabad plain. In the current conditions and considering the fact that these settlements underwent several modifications during the land reform plan and afterwards, one may find it impossible to understand the settlements and their landscapes through ethnographical studies. However, there has been carried out Ethno-archaeological studies on the cultural located in the east of central Zagros based on which one may claim the settlements formed on the flat and low regions in the land to be of rural type. Observations made by the authors and the interviews done among pastorals on Asadabad plain by the authors shoed that the way the pastorals choose locations in Asadabad plain is such that most of the marginal space is used for setting up their campsites. The most significant reasons are more security, and more control on the surrounding areas and pastures. These patterns of location finding are the most similar to the second settlement pattern identified in the settlements belonging to the chalcolithic period in Asadabad plain.


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