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The spread of obsidian on the Iranian Plateau during the Neolithic and the Bronze Age. The possible role of mobile pastoralists

Abstract : Our talk provides new and original data on the analysis of obsidian artifacts from Iran. It focuses on the sourcing of obsidian artifacts collected at different archaeological sites dated from the Pre-pottery and Pottery Neolithic sites of Kalek Asad Morad (KAM), Qasr e Ahmad (QeA), Rahmat Abad (RA), Choghabur (ChB), Qaleh Asgar (QA); and the Bronze Age site of Kohne Tepesi (KT). These sites are located in the central (KAM) and southern Zagros (QeA & RA), along the Persian Gulf (ChB), in the central Alborz (QA), and in southern part of the Araxes River basin (KT).The aim of this paper is to provide a diachronic perspective on the exploitation of obsidian sources and diffusion of its raw material in the area under investigation, from the Early Neolithic to Bronze Age. We demonstrate that obsidian originates mainly from the Taurus sources (Nemrut Dağ and region of Bingöl) during the Neolithic, and that a diversification of procurement appears during the Bronze Age, involving new obsidian sources, located in the south of Lake Sevan (Sjunik, Armenia), in the exchange processes. The spread of obsidian is considered as a suitable element for tracking the mobility and trade networks of prehistoric societies in the Near East. Current debates among archaeologists highlight the role of agropastoralists in the diffusion of obsidian.Twenty-eight artifacts originating from these sites (KAM, n = 6; QeA, n = 10; RA, n = 3; ChB, n = 2; QA, n = 5; and KT, n = 2), have been analyzed using LA–ICP–MS. Their compositions were compared with different databases, and have benefited from new insights given by the GeObs Database which include more than 600 geological samples from the Anatolian volcanoes, precisely referenced. It thus became possible to assign the peralkaline obsidian from the Nemrut Dağ (KAM, QeA, ChB) to the obsidian flow of Sicaksu, while the other peralkaline obsidians can be assigned to obsidian outcrops located around Solhan in the Bingöl area (QeA). The calk-alkaline obisidians (RA, QA) were assigned to Alatepe, also located in the Taurus region (Bingöl area, Turkey), while data from the Kohne Tepesi site indicates different obsidian networks related to Sjunik source in Armenia (Sevkar outcrops). According to these preliminary results, we will examine changes in the dynamics of obsidian networks diachronically and geographically.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, July 1, 2020 - 12:05:18 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, May 5, 2022 - 11:18:02 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-02886140, version 1


Bernard Gratuze, Marjan Mashkour, Mohamad Hossein Azizi Kharananghi, Ali Zalaghi, Sepideh Maziar, et al.. The spread of obsidian on the Iranian Plateau during the Neolithic and the Bronze Age. The possible role of mobile pastoralists. International Obsidian Conference, IAOS International Association for Obsidian Studies; Regional Aeolian Archaeological Museum “Luigi Bernabò Brea”, Jun 2016, Lipari, Italy. ⟨hal-02886140⟩



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