Geoarchaeology and the value of multi-disciplinary palaeoenvironmental approaches: A case study from the Tehran Plain, Iran

Gavin K. Gillmore, Thomas Stevens, Jan-Pieter Buylaert, Robert A.E. Coningham, Catherine Batt, H Fazeli, R Young, M Maghsoudi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Tepe Pardis, a significant Neolithic–Chalcolithic site on the Tehran Plain in Iran, is,
like many sites in the area, under threat from development. The site contains detailed evidence of (1) the Neolithic–Chalcolithic transition, (2) an Iron Age cemetery and (3) how the inhabitants adapted to an unstable fan environment through resource exploitation (of clay deposits for relatively large-scale ceramic production by c. 5000 BC, and importantly, possible cutting of artificial water channels). Given this significance, models have been produced to better understand settlement distribution and change in the region. However, these models must be tied into a greater understanding of the impact of the geosphere on human development over this period. Forming part of a larger project focusing on the transformation of simple, egalitarian Neolithic communities into more hierarchical Chalcolithic ones, the site has become the focus of a multidisciplinary project to address this issue. Through the combined use of sedimentary and limited pollen analysis, radiocarbon and optically stimulated luminescence dating (the application of the last still rare in Iran), a greater understanding of the impact of alluvial fan development on human settlement through alluviation and the development of river channel sequences is possible. Notably, the findings presented here suggest that artificial irrigation was occurring at the site as early as 6.7+0.4 ka (4300–5100 BC).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman Interactions with the Geosphere: The Geoarchaeological Perspective
EditorsL Wilson
PublisherGeological Society of London Special Publication
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)978-1-86239-325-7
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2011

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