Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of Archeology Mohaghegh Ardabili University, Ardabil, Iran

2 Department of Archeology, Mohaghegh Ardabili University, Ardabil, Iran

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

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

Abedi, A. 2013, preliminary report of the first chapter of archaeological excavations of Doh Goz Khoy site, Archive of Archeology Research Institute - Research Institute of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism [in Persian].
Abedi, A. & Khatib Shahidi, H. & Chataigner, Ch. & Niknami, K. & Eskandari, N. & Kazempour, M. & Pirmohammadi, A. & Hoseinzadeh, J. & Ebrahimi Gh, 2014, Excavation at Kul Tepe of (Hadishahr) North-Western Iran 2010: First Preliminary Report. Ancient Near Eastern Studies 51: 33-165.
Abedi, A. 2016, absolute (14C) and relative chronology of Doh Goz Khoy site using Accelerator Mass Spectrometer (AMS) method; Evidences of copper and transition stone period, Dalma and Pizdeli, Archeology Research, second year, first issue, spring and summer 2015, pp. 39-54 [in Persian].
Abedi, A. 2016. New Evidence from Neolithic to Achaemenid Periods in North-Western Iran: Excavations at Kul Tepe (Hadishahr), Second Preliminary Report (2013). Iranian Journal of Archaeological Studies, 6(1), 59-82.
Abedi, A., Mohammadi, V. D., Steiniger, D., & Glascock, M. D. (2018). The provenance of Kul Tepe obsidian artifacts: Syunik and the highlands of Armenia as possible seasonal pastureland. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 21, 406-412.
Abedi, A., Omrani, B., & Karimifar, A. 2015. Fifth and fourth millennium BC in north-western Iran: Dalma and Pisdeli revisited. Documenta Praehistorica, 42, 321-338.
Abedi, A., Varoutsikos, B., & Chataigner, C. 2018. Provenance of obsidian artifacts from the Chalcolithic site of Dava Göz in NW IRAN using portable XRF. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 20, 756-767.
Abedi. A. 2017, Iranian- Azerbaijan Pathway from the Zagros to the Caucasus: Kul Tepe and Dava Göz, New Neolithic Sites in NW Iran”. Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Vol. 17: 79-98.
Abu Jayyab, K. 2012. A ceramic chronology from Tell Hamoukar''''s southern extension. Publications de l''''Institut Français d''''Études Anatoliennes, 27(1), 87-127.
Akkermans, P.M.M.G. 1988 “The Period V pottery”. In M. van Loon, Hammam et-Turkman I, Report on the University of Amsterdam’s 1981-84 Excavations in Syria, Publications de l’Institut historique-archéologique néerlandais de Stamboul, Istanbul: 287-349.
Alizadeh, K, 2016, Social Inequality at Köhne Shahar, an Early Bronze Age Settlement in Iranian Azerbaijan, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University.
Alizadeh, K. Eghbal, H. and Samei, S, 2015, Approaches to social complexity in Kura- Araxes cuiture: A view from Konee Shahar(Ravaz) in Chaldran, Iranian Azerbaijan, Paleoricnt, vol. 41.1.p. 37-54 CNRS EDITTONS.
Bakhchaliyev, V. Ashurov, S. and Marro, C. 2009 The Excavations of Ovçular Tepesi (2006-2008): First Results and New Perspectives. In Azerbaijan - Land between East and West. Transfer of knowledge and technology during the „First Globalization“of the VIIth  IVth millennium BC. (English ed Barbara Helwing): Baku.
Bakhshaliyev, V., Marro, C., & Ashurov, S. (2010). Ovçulartepesi 2006e2008-ci il tadqiqatlarinin ilk naticalari (First Preliminary Report: the 2006e2008 seasons). Baki: Elm, 156s.
Baldi, J. S. 2012. Tell Feres al-Sharqi in the LC 1-2 period. Serial production and regionalisation of ceramic traditions: a perspective from a small rural site. Publications de l''''Institut Français d''''Études Anatoliennes, 27(1), 129-161.
Baldi, J. S., & Abu Jayyab, K. 2012. A comparison of the ceramic assemblages from Tell Feres al-Sharqi and Hamoukar. Publications de l''''Institut Français d''''Études Anatoliennes, 27(1), 163-180.
Belgiorno, M.R, Biscione, R., & Pecorella, P. E. 1984. Il Saggio ei Materiali di Tappeh Gijlar. Tra lo Zagros e l’Urmia: Ricerche storiche ed archeologiche nell’Azerbaigian Iraniano. Rome, 241-300.
Brown, B .T. 1951, Excavation in Azerbaijan, 1948 London.
Burney, C.A, 1961, "Excavation at Yanik tape North – west Iran." Iraq, Vol. 23, No. 2, PP. 138- 153. Figs 1 – 2 8PL. LXVI – LXXV.
Burney.C.A 1961 “Circular Buildings Found at Yanik Tepe. in North – west Iran ” Antiquity , Vol XXXV: 237-240.
Burney.C.A 1962 “excavation at yanik tepe, Azerbaijan” Iraq. XXIV:134-152.
Burney.C.A 1962 “Excavations at yanik Tepe, Azerbaidjan” , Iraq, Vol. XXIII: 138-153.
Burney.C.A 1964 “the excvation at yanik Tepe.Azerbaijan.” Iraq  XXVI: 54-61.
Garavand, A. and Malekpour, Fatemeh, 2016, Speculation of Dozdaghi Khoy site; A site in northwest Iran, Pre-Islamic Iranian Archeological Surveys, Volume 2, Number 2, Series 4, pp. 31-48 [in Persian].
Garavand, A. Hajizadeh, K. Malekpour, F. and Abedi, A, 2018 Dozdaghi Khoy site of a Bronze Age settlement in the north of Lake Urmia, Parse Archeology Quarterly, No. 10, Year 3, pp. 25-37 [in Persian].
Garavand, Afrasiab. 2021, a report on stratification speculation and determination of the area and boundaries of Tepe Chai Khoi, Archeology Research Institute Archives [in Persian].
Gülçur, S., & Marro, C. 2012. The view from the north: comparative analysis of the Chalcolithic pottery assemblages from Norşuntepe and Ovçular Tepesi. Publications de l''''Institut Français d''''Études Anatoliennes, 27(1), 305-352.
Hamlin,C. 1975, Dalma Tepe , Iran, Vol XLLL , PP.LLL- 130.
Hamlin, C. 2009, Dalma Tepe, a collection of essays on the civilizations of the Soldoz plain (listening and review) by Robert Henry Dyson and others, compiled and translated by: Samad Aliyoun and Ali Sadraei, Tehran: Ganjineh Hanar: Urmia: Organization of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and tourism of West Azarbaijan province.
Lyonnet, B., & Guliyev, F. 2010. Recent discoveries on the Neolithic and Chalcolithic of Western Azerbaijan. TUBA-AR, 13(13), 219-228.
Malekpour, F, 2010, {Study and analysis of settlement patterns of stone copper until the end of the Old Bronze Age in Khoy and Selmas cities}, Master''''s degree, supervisor, Behrouz Omrani, Faculty of Humanities, Islamic Azad University, Abhar branch [in Persian].
Malekpour, F. and Garavand, Afrasiab, 2017, Speculation report of Shams Tabrizi Khoi area, Archeology Research Institute Archives [in Persian].
Marro, C. 2010. Where did Late Chalcolithic Chaff-Faced Ware originate? Cultural Dynamics in Anatolia and Transcaucasia at the Dawn of Urban Civilization (ca 4500-3500 BC). Paléorient, 35-55.
Marro, C., & Özfırat, A. 2003. Marro, C., Özfırat, A.," Pre-classical Survey in Eastern Turkey. First Preliminary Report: The Ağrı Dağ (Mount Ararat) region", Anatolia Antiqua XI, 2003: 385-422.
Marro, C., 2012 ed. “The “Post-Ubaid” Horizon in the Fertile Crescent”, Varia Anatolica, Istanbul.
Marro, C., Bakhshaliyev, V., & Ashurov, S. 2011. Excavations at Ovcular Tepesi (Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan). Second Preliminary Report: The 2009-2010 Seasons. Anatolia antiqua. Eski Anadolu, 19(1), 53-100.
Maziar, S. (2010). Excavations at Kohne Pasgah Tepesi, the Araxes Valley, Northwest Iran: First Preliminary Report. Ancient Near Eastern Studies, 47, 165-193.
Museyibli, N. 2007 Böyük Kesik. Eneolit Dövrü yaşayış meskeni (Böyük Kesik. A settlement of the Chalcolithic period). National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan, Baku.
Oates, J. 2012. The Terminal Ubaid (LC 1) Level at Tell Brak. Publications de l''''Institut Français d''''Études Anatoliennes, 27(1), 65-86.
Stein, G. 2010. Local identities and interaction spheres: Modeling regional variation in the Ubaid horizon. Beyond the Ubaid: transformation and integration in the late prehistoric societies of the Middle East, (63), 23-44.
Stein, G. 2009 “Tell Zeidan”. In The 2008-2009 report, Oriental Institute of Chicago, Chicago: 126-137.
Stein, G.,  2010 - Tell Zeidan (2009), Oriental Institute Annual Report 2009-2010, Oriental 150 Stein Institute of the University of Chicago, Chicago: 105-118.