The Hamadan-Bahar Plain has been one of the most important center for human societies in the various periods, especially in the Islamic Period. The archaeological explorations of this plain was done in the years of 2006 and 2009. But for study and analyze the settlement pattern the Islamic Period and for answer to questions such as, what have been the most important factors for the formation of Islamic Period sites in the Hamedan Plain? And the main volume of Islamic settlements in the Hamedan Plain were have been related to which century of the Islamic period? this plain was reviewed in the year of 2015. The main purpose of this review is to identify the settlement patterns of Islamic sites in the Hamedan plain based on the review of identified sites. In this study, which was conducted in the field study and in the form of a marching, 14 sites were reviewed and 2 newly sites were discovered in the study area. In order to better understand the settlement patterns, spatial information of sites was entered in the GIS and then analyzed. Due to the importance of the position of pottery data in the relative chronology of a region, after studying the typology of pottery and recognizing the types of special pottery products, it was found that the Islamic sites of Hamedan Plain are scattered based on two factors: first fertile lands and second caravan routes. The presence of defensive features in some of the sites which adjacent to the caravan routes indicates the importance of this issue in the distribution of sites. In addition, the influence of significant sites such as Hegmataneh site as the central settlement of this plain in the Islamic period has been effective on a number of sites around it.
The lowlands, north of the Alvand Mountain is one of the middle plain in the central Zagros Mountain which in the past was known as Hamedan Plain and today is known as Hamedan-Bahar Plain. (Figure 1). Archaeological studies show that the Hamedan-Bahar Plain with about 880 square kilometers has been one of the most important centers for the establishment of human societies in the prehistoric and historical periods. Studies on prehistoric and historical sites have clarified the course of human cultures of this plain during that periods, However, the lack of sufficient attention to the sites of the Islamic period and the findings related to this period have left many archeological angles of this period unknown. The archaeological explorations of this plain has been done in the years of 2006 and 2009. (Mohammadifar and Motarjem, 2006; Balmaky and Motarjem, 2009). During these studies, a large number of discovered sites have been introduced as sites of the Islamic period. The Intended plain in the form of a master's thesis, was reviewed in form of field study in the summer of 2015 for the aim of studying and analyzing the settlement patterns of the Islamic sites (in the time period from the beginning of the Islamic period to the end of the Safavid period) and to answer the questions such as; what have been the most important factors for formation of the Islamic Period sites in the Hamedan Plain? And the main volume of Islamic settlements in the Hamedan Plain were have been related to which century of the Islamic period?
Due to insufficient attention to the artifacts and findings of the Islamic period, especially pottery in the surveys of previous years, out of about 50 identified sites, that were introduced as Islamic sites, only 14 sites had cultural artifacts belong to this period. During this review, two other newly Islamic sites discovered and a total of 16 sites were introduced as sites of the Islamic period. for better understand the settlement patterns, spatial information of sites such as; Geographical location, geological features, altitude, shape, area, access to water resources, access to the routes, etc. were entered in the GIS and then analyzed. Based on these studies, the Islamic sites of Hamedan-Bahar plain were divided into six groups (Figure 2). The first and second groups are related to sites that have been completely destroyed, due to the invasion of agricultural lands or relatively large amount of residential area, and very little evidence of these sites remains today. The third group are the sites, that are less than 10 meters high and less than one-hectare area. The next group is related to sites, that are more than 10 meters high and their areas are less than one-hectare. The sites of this group, like the previous group, do not have a clear and orderly shape. The fifth group is related to sites which have more than 10 meters high and have an area of more than one-hectare to 10 hectares. The shape of this group of sites is geometrically regular, such as squares and rectangles (Figure 7). In the survey of these sites the evidence of defensive fortifications has been seen. The last group is related to sites, that are more than 10 meters high and more than 10 hectares in area. (Table 1). The only settlement of this group is the Hegmataneh/Hamedan Mound, with an area of more than 34 hectares which is considered as the settlement center of the plain. The studies have shown that the sites of groups three and four, around 75% of the total identified sites, dedicated to themselves which are located in the area with very fertile land and often located next to a site with an area of more than one hectare and there are specific defense structures. (Figure 3 and 4). These sites are most likely belong to very small villages that are directly related to the surrounding agricultural lands to be affected by large sites that have a defensive structure. The sites with a defense structure, which are often more than one hectare, are located next to the entrance of caravan routes into the plain. (Figure 7). The existence of sites with defense structures inside the plain, in addition to emphasizing the importance of the transit position of the region, has also shown the existence of insecurity. Based on the analysis of spatial information, the Islamic sites of the Hamadan-Bahar plain are scattered based on two factors: fertile lands and caravan routes and the presence of defensive features in some of the settlements along the caravan routes, shows the importance of this issue in the distribution of sites. The collected pottery was carefully analyzed and their typological studies were carried out with well-known centers sites of the Islamic period.
During the study more than 20 types of pottery were identified (Table 2). The discovery of a large amount of evidence of the production of pottery, welding furnaces and metal and glass ornaments of the Islamic period in the Zino-abad shows that this site and Hegmataneh/Hamedan were used as an industrial site in the Islamic period and most probably their products were exported to other sites. Existence of similar species of pottery from large known pottery centers such as the Sultanabad and Soltanieh with local products of the plain, most probably the pottery of these centers transported to the Hamedan region through known routes. According to the pottery data, all the Islamic sites studied have several settlement periods. It seems that the arrival of the Arabs in this region did not have much effect on the continuity of settlement, because the first centuries of the Islamic pottery was found in almost all the studied sites. More than 56% of the sites were inhabited between the 4th and 7th centuries AH. It seems that the region from the beginning of the fourth century AH with the rise of local governments such as the Buyid dynasty and especially from the second half of the fourth century during the Seljuk period, the goal of many economic reforms were to provide livelihood. The importance of the region in this period is such that Hamedan has been chosen as the capital for several years since the Seljuk period. After this period, despite devastating the Mongol invasions of this region, about 62% of the plains were inhabited. It seems that in this period, despite the negative effects of the Mongol invasions, due to the presence of high-ranking people, life in the region has flourished. With the savage invasions of the Timurid period and the conflicts of the Aq Qoyunlu and Kara Koyunlu dynasty in this region between the early 8th century and the early 10th century AH, many settlements were reduced to less than 19%. During this period many of the settlements that flourished in the previous period were abandoned forever. This trend is also seen with less intensity in the Safavid period. In this period, despite the relative attention to the Hamedan and possibly the surrounding areas, the settlement patterns of the plain do not change much compared to the previous period