Document Type : Research Paper


1 Ph.D Graduate, Department of Archaeology, Science and Research Unit, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran,

2 Assistant Professor Department of Archeology. Archaeological Research Institute. Tehran.Iran

3 Associate Professor Department of Archeology. Archaeological Research Institute. Tehran.Iran


Archaeological inquiries into the Islamic period show both in quantity and quality that targeted and wide-ranging studies aiming to identify the pertinent monuments and sites have obvious limitations, and for this very reason our understanding of this time period is mainly limited to the information deriving from textual evidence. Accordingly, with the aim of identifying and studying the Ilkhanid sites on the banks of the Aras, a season of reconnaissance survey was carried out in 2019. Focusing on the Sham Valley region of Jolfa County on the border of the two Iranian provinces of East and West Azerbaijans, the fieldwork recorded 53 monuments and sites (Afshari,2019). Given the region’s strategic, geopolitical position in the vicinity of such regions of Caucasia, Turkey and Central Asia as well as its obvious location on major regional lines of communication, several different cultures flourished there spanning in date the second millennium BC to the latest periods. In other words, the foremost factor responsible for the formation of settlements was the region’s location on trade routes and its easy intra- and extra-regional communications, especially during the Ilkhanid period, which played a conspicuous part in the cultural evolution of the Sham Valley. Concurrently, given the region’s religious importance under the Ilkhanid rulers which echoes their religious clemency as part of their foreign policies, revealing data were obtained regarding the local social and religious structures in different periods, especially the era in question. In other words, the correspondence between the field survey’s findings and the historical texts make it clear that the Ilkhanids’s lack of religious prejudice, termed as religious toleration, was an upshot of a series of apparent and latent factors, which in general stemmed from the political orientations they adopted towards religious convictions (Morgan,2004؛ Torkamani Azar,1992 ). Recruitment of Christian females in the court (Bayani, 2011), employing Christian advisors and agents, maintaining contacts with Christian businessmen, missionaries and priests, and the particular attentions paid to the affairs of the Christian populations in Iran were all driven by the prerequisites underpinning their internal and external relations as it is evidenced by the fact that the changes in such relationships in the later Ilkhanid period would be associated with changes in the religious approaches due to political developments


Main Subjects

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