Chemical-Mineralogical Analyses of the Exquisite Pottery of Life Cycle from Prehistoric Cemetery of Keshik in Sistan and Baluchistan Southeast Iran - Journal of Research on Archaeometry
------------------------------------------ ---------------------------------------
year 3, Issue 2 (2017)                   JRA 2017, 3(2): 1-14 | Back to browse issues page

XML Persian Abstract Print

Download citation:
BibTeX | RIS | EndNote | Medlars | ProCite | Reference Manager | RefWorks
Send citation to:

Sedghi Y, Abedi A, Razani M, Heydari M. Chemical-Mineralogical Analyses of the Exquisite Pottery of Life Cycle from Prehistoric Cemetery of Keshik in Sistan and Baluchistan, Southeast Iran. JRA. 2017; 3 (2) :1-14
1- Tabriz Islamic Art University ,
2- Tabriz Islamic Art University
3- Administration of Cultural Heritage of Sistan and Baluchistan
Abstract:   (4223 Views)
Notwithstanding the existence of such famous sites as Shar-i Sokhta from the Bronze Age, southeastern Iran represents a lacuna in Iranian archaeology. Chance discovery of the prehistoric, third millennium BC, site of Keshik in Nikshahr, Sistan and Baluchistan Province provides an opportunity to study new archaeological finds from this quarter of Iran. The main part of Keshik was a Bronze Age cemetery, which yielded important metal and ceramic objects, not to mention burial remains. The excavated assemblages included a distinct ceramic jar which warranted more detailed systematic observations by virtue of the symbolic motifs ornamenting its exterior surface. The jar has received the designation the Life Cycle because of these figurative designs arranged in six alternative panels which depict round the upper body of the vessel in a symbolic form the life cycle of a goat. The related panels show: 1) the figure of a goat native to Sistan, 2) the mating of goats, 3‒5) the mother goat feeding her baby goat, which gradually grows up from the 3rd to 5th panel, and 6) the baby goat together with its mother. The major archaeological question with regard to this idiosyncratic vessel was its chemical-mineralogical characterization. Hence, a chip specimen was sampled to address such issues as its geological source, manufacturing techniques, firing and kiln conditions, local or foreign provenience, and the nature of pigments involved in the paint. To determine the crystalline constituents, different mineralo-chemical investigations were undertaken. The major phase compositions of the vessel’s body as well as the pigments were determined using quantitative X-ray diffraction (QXRD), and scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDX). Also, the the thin-section of the pottery was analyzed by optical microscopy techniques so as to petrographic identification of the minerals. The result of phase identification showed that the sample generally contains quartz, plagioclase, diopside, berlinite calcite, hematite, and enstatite as main crystalline phase constituents. Moreover, mineralo-chemical investigations demonstrated a regional alluvial soil origin related with the Keshik River, suggesting an indigenous provenience for the vessel. Further, the paste lacked any mineral variety. Firing in an oxidizing and reducing atmosphere was also evident given the carbon peaks and the poorly fired gray core of the thin-section. Analyses of the paint used in the decorative designs revealed the presence in the pigment of iron and manganese. The two elements were typically used because of their long-term sustainability and mineral base, and in combination with each other, they created a brown to black tone. In short, the study suggested that the so-called Life Circle jar was locally produced using the local clay on the potter’s wheel, was fired at a temperature of 900-1000 oC in a closed oven under oxidizing and reducing conditions, and was decorated with a paint containing iron and manganese pigments.
Full-Text [PDF 1655 kb]   (923 Downloads)    
Technical Note: Original Research | Subject: Archaeometry
Received: 2017/03/4 | Accepted: 2017/06/20 | Published: 2017/12/28 | ePublished: 2017/12/28

1. Heydari M. Reporting speculation and organizing Keshik cemetery of Nikshahr city. Zahedan: Administration of cultural heritage, handicrafts and tourism organization of Sistan and Baluchistan [unpublished report]; 2013.[in Persian] [حيدري محمد. گزارش گمانه زني و ساماندهي گورستان كشيك شهرستان نيك شهر. زاهدان: اداره كل ميراث فرهنگي، صنايع دستي و گردشگري استان سيستان وبلوچستان(گزارش منتشر نشده)؛1391.]
2. Dehghan S. Exploring the role of Antelopes in artworks of ancient [Unpublished M.A thesis]. Islamic Azad University, Department of archaeology, central Tehran Branch, Iran, 2011. [in Persian] [دهقان ساناز. بررسی نقش بزکوهی در آثار هنری ایران باستان [منتشر نشده]. پایان نامه کارشناس ارشد گروه باستان شناسی. دانشگاه آزاد اسلامی. واحد تهران مرکز؛1389.]
3. Afzaltousi E. Rug the preserver of wild goat figure since the ancient times. J Negareh 2013;31:55–67. [in Persian] [افضل طوسی عفت السادات. گلیم حافظ نگاره بزکوهی از دوران باستان. فصلنامه علمی پژوهشی نگره 1391؛31: 67-55.]
4. Hatam G. The role and symbolism in ancient potteries of Iran. Art Mag 1996;24:355–78. [in Persian] [حاتم غلامعلی. نقش و نماد در سفالینه های کهن ایران. مجله هنر 1374؛24: 378-355.]
5. Sarraf MR. Kidin Hutran bronze cup from Arjan Behbahan. Journal of Asar 1991;17:40–61. [in Persian] [صراف محمد رحیم. جام برنزی کیدین هوتران مکشوفه از «ارجان» بهبهان. اثر 1369؛17: 40-61.]
6. Sedghi Y. Pathology, technology, conservation and restoration potteries of Keshik cemetery in Nikshahr, Balouchistan. [Unpublished B. A. thesis]. University of Zabol, Department of Restoration of Monuments. Iran, 2014. [in Persian] [صدقی یاسین. آسیب شناسی، فن شناسی، حفاظت و مرمت سفال های گورستان کشیک نیک شهر بلوچستان [منتشر نشده]. پایان نامه کارشناسی مرمت آثار تاریخی، گروه مرمت آثار تاریخی. دانشگاه زابل؛1393.]
7. Sedghi Y. Conservation and restoration measures of discovered potteries from Keshik cemetery in Nikshahr, Balouchistan. Journal of Kav, cultural heritage administration handicrafts and tourism organization of Sistan and Baluchestan 2016;2:12–5. [in Persian] [صدقی یاسین. اقدامات حفاظتی و مرمتی سفالینه های مکشوفه از گورستان منطقه کشیک نیک شهر بلوچستان. کاو، ماهنامه تخصصی اداره کل میراث فرهنگی، صنایع دستی و گردشگری استان سیستان و بلوچستان 1395؛2: 12-15.]
8. Talai H. The bronze age of Iran. Tehran: SAMT; 2012. [in Persian] [طلائی حسن. عصر مفرغ ایران. چاپ پنجم. تهران: سازمان مطالعه و تدوین کتب علوم انسانی دانشگاه ها (سمت)؛1391.]
9. Stein A, Andrews FH, Hobson RL. Archaeological reconnaissances in north-western India and south-eastern Iran. Macmillan; 1937.
10. S-Sajjadi SM. Eight Speech: Archeology and History of Balouchistan. Cultural heritage organization, Iran; 1996. [in Persian] [سیدسجادی سیدمنصور. هشت گفتار: باستان شناسی و تاریخ بلوچستان، تهران: سازمان میراث فرهنگی کشور؛1374.]
11. Iran G organization and mineral explorations of. Geological map of 1:2500000 Nikshahrcity. Tehran: Offest; 1989. [in Persian] [سازمان زمین شناسی و اکتشافات معدنی کشور. نقشه زمین شناسی 1:2500000 شهرستان نیک شهر. تهران: افست؛1367.]
12. Quinn PS. Ceramic petrography: the interpretation of archaeological pottery & related artefacts in thin section. Archaeopress; 2013.
13. Riederer J. Thin section microscopy applied to the study of archaeological ceramics. Hyperfine Interact 2004;154:143–58. [DOI:10.1023/B:HYPE.0000032029.24557.b1]
14. Reedy CL. Thin-section petrography of stone and ceramic cultural materials. Archetype; 2008.
15. Betancourt PP, Peterson SE. Thin-section Petrography of ceramic materials. Institute for aegean Prehistory, archaeological excavation manual 2009;2.
16. Noghani S, Emami SM. Secondary Calcite in texture of pottery from Persepolis, Iran, Florida: 38th international symposium in archaeometry, Florida, U.S.A. in Press; 2010;3:15-34. [in Persian] [نوغانی سمیه، امامی سیدمحمدامین. ساختارشناسی سفال جلینگی متعلق به دوران پارتی براساس مطالعات آرکئومتریک (باستان سنجی). مجله مطالعات باستان شناسی 1390؛15:3– 34.]
17. Emami SM, Trettin R. Phase generating processes in ancient ceramic matrices through microstructure investigation with high resolution microscopy methods. Journal of Advanced Microscopy Research 2010;5:181–9. [DOI:10.1166/jamr.2010.1040]
18. Rathossi C, Ποντίκης Γ, Τσώλη-Κατάγα ΠΣ. Mineralogical differences between ancient sherds and experimental ceramics: indices for firing conditions and post-burial alteration. Δελτίον Της Ελληνικής Γεωλογικής Εταιρίας 2010;43:856–65.
19. Emami SMA, AriyaNasab S, Ahmadi H, A-Chavordi A, F-Kaliri P. Archaeology methods for structuralogy of discovered bricks from brick walls of Takhte- Jamshid. Journal of Archaeological Studies 2015;6:1-19. [in Persian] [امامی سیدمحمدامین، آریا نسب سیمین، احمدی حسین، عسگری چاوردی علیرضا، فرانچسکو کالیری پیر. روش های باستان سنجی به منظور ساختارشناسی آجرهای کشف شده از تل آجری تخت جمشید. مجله مطالعات باستان شناسی 1393؛1:6-19.]
20. Darchuk L, Tsybrii Z, Worobiec A, Vázquez C, Palacios OM, Stefaniak EA, et al. Argentinean prehistoric pigments’ study by combined SEM/EDX and molecular spectroscopy. Spectrochim Acta Part A Mol Biomol Spectrosc 2010;75:1398–402. [DOI:10.1016/j.saa.2010.01.006]
21. Rapp G. Archaeomineralogy (Natural Science in Archaeology) 2009.

Send email to the article author

Rights and permissions
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

© 2021 CC BY-NC 4.0 | Journal of Research on Archaeometry

Designed & Developed by : Yektaweb