Hanan Bahrani pour; Mozhgan Khanmoradi
(1-22) The Zarandieh county is located in north of Markazi province and northwest Central Plateau of Iran (Figure 1). The capital of the county is Mamuniyeh and this city is located ...
(1-22) The Zarandieh county is located in north of Markazi province and northwest Central Plateau of Iran (Figure 1). The capital of the county is Mamuniyeh and this city is located 80 km from Tehran and 30 km from Saveh. From archaeological point of view, this region is located between Central Zagros mountainous and Central Plateau of Iran. Despite of its proximity well known regions of Central Zagros mountainous and Central Plateau of Iran, it is archaeologically poorly known. Our information about the archaeology of Zarandieh region is restricted to Azem zadeh᾽s work in 1970s, who conducted 3 season archaeological survey in the Saveh and Zarandieh region. Then R. Rezalo conducted a systematic survey at Qhaznak Tape in 2001. Other archaeological activities include the sounding and excavation at Meshken Tape in 2007 and 2008 by Nouri shadmahani and M. Nemati and also excavation and systematic survey at Qhaznak Tape in 2007. In 2008, an archaeological survey conducted by Hanan Bahranipour mainly to identify the settlements pattern and recording of archaeological sites of Zarandieh region. The most important aim of the first season of archaeological survey was identification of the possible sites in this landscape, providing the archaeological map of the area and completing the previous archaeological survey. This project has been directed by intensive survey and also information gathered from local people to recognized and register ancient sites; the process of sampling the uncovered sites was then carried out by collecting typical finds which finally resulted in identification of ancient sites. Despite the number of known settlement sites, so far no systematic archaeological studies have been done on this period and the different aspects of these settlements are unknown. The one season of the survey and exploration resulted in the identification of 99 sites in Zarandieh region (Figure 3). Results from survey areas document a sequence of occupation from prehistory to the Late Islamic period. Among them, 19 sites belonged to prehistoric period (Figure 4), 6 sites (Figure 8) to historical period (Parthian and Sasanian periods) and 84 sites belonging to Islamic period (Figure 10). Islamic sites include big sites, mound, mosque, Imamzādeh, bridge, ice- house, caravansary, cistern, fortress, cemetery, bath, Pigeon tower and etc.The present study is based on two categories of historical and archaeological information which has provided new information about Zarandieh region. The study method included fieldwork and secondary research with a descriptive–analytical approach. Extent, spatial distribution of the sites and introduce different cultural periods of the Zharandieh region and their continuity and discontinuance was the other aims of this study. Geomorphological observations suggest that number of the sites has been located on natural hills (Figure 2). All prehistoric sites are located just near seasonal or perennial streams or rivers. According to the surface materials (such as pottery, lithic, tail, clay pipes (Tanpusheh) and so on) and architectural character or style the mentioned sites belonging to Chalcolithic era to the late Islamic period. Most of sites were being introduced for the first time. However, the some sites, including most notably Gobur qaleh Si, Qaleh garbi Varame and Qaleh shargi contain cultural remains from multiple occupations. We could not identify the Paleolithic and Neolithic episodes yet. But in 2007, Nemati discovered a Paleolithic open site. Zarandieh region divided in to two main zones of plain and mountains. This area contains sequential settlements beginning right from prehistoric period till the late Islamic period. The recorded sites and monuments mostly are located in Zarandieh plain and Kharaghan mountain foothill. Chalcolithic period trace is recognized in 8 sites. The ceramic assemblage of this period can be divided into two major groups: Buff Ware and red Ware; the former contains both plain and painted ceramic. These samples are comparable to ceramics obtained from sites in the Central Plateau and central Zagros such as Tape Sialk in the Kashan Plain, Godin tape in Kangavar plain, Tape Sagz Abad and Tape Ghabrestan in the Qazvin Plain, Tape Qelā Gap and Shat Ghilah in Malayer. In the Bronze period, number of the sites decrease and Tape Gaznak is the largest site in this period. The area of occupation is more than 20 Hectar. The presence of deformed pottery pots and furnace residue are the evidences of pottery production in this area. Also a very large ocher mine is located near this site. Evidence of metal slag has been found in this area. Based on this survey it seems that during historical period number of sites is rare and the number decreases. We identified no site of The Achaemenid and Seleucid period. We identified only 6 sites belong to Parthian and Sasanian periods. Parthian ceramics are varies from buff, orange to red type. A number of these ceramics have mostly impress, curved and raised decorations (Figure 9). Also these types of ceramics show the cultural relations with Qale’ Yazdgird, Khurhe, Parthian domain of Bisotun and Sang-e Shir Cemetery in Hamedan and etc. Most surveyed sites dated to the Islamic period, mainly middle and late Islamic period. In the Islamic period, the number increases drastically, reaching 84. It seems that in this period, the sites are located mostly in side plain. The sites including settlements, mosque, Imam zādeh, bridge, ice- house, caravansary, watering place, fortress, cemetery, bath, Pigeon tower and small and large mounded sites. In this period, the human settlements have been focused on the rivers and water resources for example Qanats. The Zarandieh region populated during the Islamic period and formed towns and villages in Zarandieh plain. The recorded sites mostly belong to Seljuk period and Ilkhanid era. One of the major cities of Iran, which was on the Silk Road, is Moshkoye located between Hamedan, Saveh and Rayy. Based on historical and archeological evidences (for example pottery and architecture) one site proposed as the probable location of the city which is Moshkin Tape in Zarandieh township. Moshkin Tape has been most important in regard to settlement patterns from 10 to 13 century A.D. The name of the city of Moshkoye appears in the books of authors such as Ibn Hawqal, Ibn ḵurdādbih, Ibn Rusta, Istakhri, Jayhani, Maghdasi and so on. In Islamic period, presence of ceramic tripods, plugs (stoppers) and deformed fragments attest to their local production at Moshkin Tape (Figure 11), Tape Abdollah Abad and Tape Shirin Chai. The ceramic types in Zarandieh region include the unglazed simple wares, molded wares, monochrome glaze, added motifs, wares, Sgraffiato, splashed glaze wares, lusterware. The distribution of the sites and their positions compare to the Rivers (Shirin Rood, Adramneh Chai, Rood Shur, and Maasum Rood) indicate that these rivers have played an important role for the populations who used to live in this geographical region during the prehistoric to Islamic times. The investigation is not now complete and the considerable amount of material and data and excavation of the major sites is currently being studied leading to full publication of the results. Inquiring into the features of the recognized sites, this article focuses on cultural periods and the nature of their settlement patterns. The results of the survey of Zarandieh County promise a clear outlook on the oncoming archaeological research projects depending on the pre- defined questions which certainly will be followed by brilliant consequences.