The Archaeobotanical Studies of Tepe Taleb Khan Sistan Southeast of Iran (2500-2300 BCE) - Journal of Research on Archaeometry
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year 6, Issue 1 (2020)                   JRA 2020, 6(1): 137-154 | Back to browse issues page

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Kavosh H A, Shirazi Z, Naseri R. The Archaeobotanical Studies of Tepe Taleb Khan, Sistan, Southeast of Iran (2500-2300 BCE). JRA 2020; 6 (1) :137-154
1- Zabol University
2- Shahr i Sokhta World Heritage laboratory ,
Abstract:   (2379 Views)
In the third millennium B.C., the inhabitable zones in the southern part of Sistan Plain were confined to the deltaic lands around the Rud-i Biyaban River. One of the main climatological characteristics of that time was the abundance of water resources in the Hilmand basin. The formation and dynamism of human settlements in this region have always been related to the water fluctuations of the Hilmand River, so that a shift in the water courses has always led to changes in human agglomerations. The main purposes of this research are first of all, to find out more about the vegetation around Tepe Taleb Khan and second, to provide more information on the use of these vegetal resources by the local inhabitants in that era. Two phases of archaeobotanical analysis are included in this research: namely field operation (sampling and extracting techniques of plant remains), and laboratory studies on the data coming from the sixth season of archaeological excavations at Tepe Taleb Khan. These studies have been done on the plant remains obtained from 25 samples related to various archaeological contexts such as soil deposit, ashy layer, burnt soil, fireplaces and their contents, plaster and soil deposit, msoil and debris deposit, soil and ash deposit, mudbrick debris and floor (dated back to the third millennium BCE/2500-2300 BCE). By flotation of 316 liter of sediments, collected from these contexts, approximately 1900 mL plant remains including seeds, rachis segments, fruits and charcoals were extracted. The carpological studies on 2045 seeds, rachis segments and fruits, led to the identification of various vegetal groups with different relative frequencies in the archaeological contexts including cultivated plants (such as cereals, oil seeds, fruits, cucurbits, cultivated pulses) and non-cultivated plants (like wild fruits, wild pulses, wild grasses and wild plants). The results indicated the presence of different crops such as emmer wheat (Triticum dicoccum), free threshing wheat (T. durum/aestivum),  bread wheat (T. aestivum), club wheat (T. compactum), spelt (T. spelt), free threshing barley (Hordeum vulgare var.nudum), lentil (Lens culinaris), vetches (Vicia), vetchlings (Lathyrus), pea (Pisum sativum), flax (Linum usitatissimum), grape (Vitis vinifera) and cucurbits (cucurbitaceae), testifying a subsistence economy based on agriculture. At the same time, anthracological studies done on 948 charcoal fragments led to the identification of diffrent trees and shrubs like goosefoots (Chenopodiaceae), tamaris (Tamarix sp.), palm (Phoenix dactylifera) and poplar (Populus sp.). According to the previous archaeobotanical evidence at Shahr-i Sokhta, these taxa are present in the anthracological spectra of the Bronze Age vegetation of the southern Sistan Plain. Based on the archaeobotanical data, Tepe Taleb Khan inhabitants used goosefoots and tamaris wood to meet their fuel needs due to the soft texture and rapid flammability of these species. Nowadays, due to the unfavorable environmental conditions of Sistan, tamaris and goosefoots (as xeric and halophytic plants) are the dominant species in the region. The continued presence of these plants from the third millennium B.C., up to now indicates more or less the durability of ecological conditions in the region. The poorness of current vegetation in Sistan has undoubtedly been influenced by environmental and human factors over the time.
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Technical Note: Original Research | Subject: Archaeometry
Received: 2020/01/27 | Accepted: 2020/06/18 | Published: 2020/06/30 | ePublished: 2020/06/30

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