Tepe Chay Khoy, New Evidence from the Chalcolithic Period Northwest of Lake Urmia: Regional and Transregional Interactions with Lake Urmia, Caucasus and Eastern Anatolia

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD Candidate Archeology, Mohaghegh Ardabili University, Iran.

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Archeology, Mohaghegh Ardabili University, Iran

3 Associate Professor, Department of Archeology and Archaeometry, Faculty of Cultural Materials Conservation, Tabriz Islamic Art University, Iran

4 Master of Archeology, Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts of Khoy city, Iran.


Tepe "Chay" (1181 m asl) is a small site with an area of less than one hectare in and a height of 1 meter above the surrounding fertile lands, which is located 2.5 km southwest of Dizajdiz town and 10 km southeast of Khoy. The first season of excavation at the site was carried out in July and August of 2021 in order to delimit the site, to ascertain its exact extent as well as conduct soundings of the stratigraphy of the site to better understand its phasing, periodization and chronology. In this regard, nine test trenches were excavated in different parts of the site; of these, only three test trenches were located within the site’s limits and the rest were off-site. Based on the delimiting soundings the exact extent of the site was 7468 square meters. A stratigraphic trench (TR.10) was also excavated in the southwestern part of Tepe Chay and in total, 7.4 m of architectural, layers and cultural deposits were identified; virgin soil was reached at a depth of 8 meters. According to the typology of pottery obtained from the layers and their comparison with other sites of northwestern Iran, the a relative chronology of the site consists of four settlement phases belonging to 1) the Early Chalcolithic (Dalma culture) (Tepe Chay I); 2) Late Chalcolithic 1 (Pisdeli) (Tepe Chay II); 3) Late Chalcolithic 2 (Chaff-Faced Ware) (Tepe Chay III); and 4) Late Chalcolithic 3 (Chaff-Tempered with comb-design and perforated manqals). Futhermore a Kura-Araxes I (Tepe Chay IV) component is suggested for the sequence of the site. During the excavation, no cultural interruption or gap was observed between Late Chalcolithic and Kura-Araxes layers, and the evidence indicates a continuity and transition between these two periods. It is therefore possible that the Kura-Araxesian, like the Kul Tepe Hadishahr, originates from Late Chalcolithic society of Tepe Chay. Therefore, according to the results of the excavations of Tepe Chay as well as the excavations of Kul Tepe, Dozdaghi Khoy, Tepe Gijlar and Geoy Tepe, perhaps northwestern Iran can be introduced as one of the core centers for the formation of early stages of the Kura-Araxes culture. Evidence from the excavation also suggests a function of trade with neighboring areas, especially the prehistoric obsidian and salt trade for Tepe Chay.


Main Subjects

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Volume 14, Issue 3 - Serial Number 31
October 2022
Pages 141-167
  • Receive Date: 11 April 2021
  • Revise Date: 20 September 2021
  • Accept Date: 22 October 2022
  • First Publish Date: 22 October 2022