Godin Tepe

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Godin Tepe is an archaeological site in western Iran, situated in the valley of Kangavar in Kermanshah Province. Discovered in 1961, the site was excavated from 1965 to 1973 by a Canadian expedition headed by T. Cuyler Young Jr. and sponsored by the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto, Canada).[1][2][3][4][5]The importance of the site was due to its control over the early lapis-lazuli trade between Badakhshan in Afghanistan and the Mesopotamian flood plain. Cuyler-Young suggested the existence of Elamite trading posts at the site established by merchants from Susa.

Godin Tepe
Godin Tepe is located in Iran
Godin Tepe
Godin Tepe
Location in Iran
Coordinates: 34°31′00″N 48°04′00″E / 34.51667°N 48.06667°E / 34.51667; 48.06667

Archaeology[edit]

Early occupation[edit]

Although the excavations concentrated on levels II (ended c. 500 BC?) to V (c. 3200 BC-3000 BC), the site was inhabited since much earlier, c. 5000 BC. Traces of wine and beer found in ceramics dated to c. 3500 BC[6] and along with the findings at Hajji Firuz Tepe, provide evidence of the early production of those beverages in the Zagros Mountains.[7]

Level V[edit]

During the 1973 campaign, level V was excavated through a deep cut from the citadel. It was occupied during the period 3200 BC-3000 BC. At the end of level V there was a clear gap in the settlement sequence. There were signs of fire, such as room 22 whose roof was burned. The houses were in general well-preserved and contained many artefacts, but objects made of the precious metal were lacking. The archaeological evidence support the idea the settlement was abandoned quickly, but in an orderly manner.

The pottery of level V show influences from the Uruk culture, with parallels at Susa, Uruk (IV) and Nippur. The typical Jemdet Nasr tall storage jars, known from Nippur, and the bevelled rim bowls of Uruk are missing however. [8]

Thirteen seal impressions and two cylinder seals were found at level V. They were obviously produced locally, as shown by the discovery of an uncarved cylinder. The seal impressions show a parallel with Uruk, Susa and other sites in Khuzestan. They were partly decorated with drill holes. Steatite served as raw material for these, sometimes treated with tempering.

At level V some 43 clay tablets were found of which 27 were preserved in one piece. They contained primarily accounts, like those discovered at temporary Proto-Elamite and Uruk period sites in western Iran and Mesopotamia.

Level IV[edit]

Level IV (3000-2650 BC) represents the "invasion" of the northern Yanik-culture (or Transcaucasian Early Bronze I culture), best known from Yanik Tepe (Azerbaijan). The only notable architectural remains of this period consist of a number of plastered hearths .T.Cuyler Young Jr. defined three main groups of pottery for Level IV. Two of these groups belong to Transcaucasian Early Bronze Age Culture. One of these groups bears two types of coarse ware tempered with coarse grit. One of these types is characterized by a grey-black burnished surface mostly with contrasting colours in the interior and exterior of the vessels. This type of coarse ware was used for producing bowls entirely. Conical bowls decorated with incised and excised designs are common; the incised designs are occasionally filled with a whitish paste. The second type of coarse ware is lighter in colour, often tan or pinkish buff. The surface of the vessels is either burnished or plain. Besides bowls there are jars with protruding rims and concave or recessed necks .

The second group of Transcaucasian Pottery found at Godin Tepe was classified as Common Ware. The fabric of this group was tempered by medium-fine grit and was not well-fired. This group of pottery has the same colour range like the coarse ware. The surfaces are highly burnished though the vessels with a light interior and dark exterior are predominant. The forms consist entirely of cups, including the recessed neck types. The decoration is similar in style and technique to the previous coarse wares, but the excised designs are less common.[9]

Level III[edit]

Level III (c. 2600 BC-1500/1400 BC) shows connections with Susa and most of Luristan, and it has been suggested that it belonged to the Elamite confederacy. [10] [11] Near 1400 BC, Godin Tepe was abandoned and was not re-occupied until c. 750 BC.

Level II[edit]

Level II is represented by a single structure, a fortified, mud brick walled architectural complex (133 m x 55 m) occupied by a Mede chief. The columned halls are in the same architectural tradition of the later Persian halls (Pasargadae, Susa, Persepolis), first documented at Hasanlu (V). The Level II pottery (only wheel-made micaceous buff ware) have strong parallels with Iron Age sites as Baba Jan (I), Jameh Shuran (IIa), Tepe Nush-i Jan and Pasargadae.

Godin was again abandoned during the 6th century BC, perhaps as a result or in anticipation of the expansion of Cyrus the Great (c. 550 BC) (Brown 1990) or due to the interruption of a social stratification and secondary State formation process after the fall of Assyria. [12]

Level I[edit]

A late, Islamic shrine (c. 15th century).

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Hilary Gopnik and Mitchell S. Rothman, "On the High Road: The History of Godin Tepe", Iran, Mazda Pub, 2011.
  2. ^ [1] H.Gopnik Godin Tepe TSpace Web Archive
  3. ^ T. Cuyler Young Jr, Excavations at Godin Tepe. First Progress Report., Royal Ontario Museum Occasional Paper 17, 1969
  4. ^ T. Cuyler Young Jr and Louis D. Levine, Excavations at Godin Tepe. Second Progress Report., Royal Ontario Museum Occasional Paper 26, 1974, ISBN 0-88854-019-1
  5. ^ [2] Harvey Weiss and T. Cuyler Young Jr, Merchants of Susa: Godin V and plateau-lowland relations in the late Fourth Millennium BC., Iran, vol. 13, pp. 1-17, 1975
  6. ^ "Jar in Iranian Ruins Betrays Beer Drinkers of 3500 B.C.". The New York Times. 5 November 1992. 
  7. ^ R. Phillips A Short History of Wine pg 2-3 Harper Collins 2000 ISBN 0-06-621282-0
  8. ^ V. R. Badler, A Chronology of Uruk Artifacts from Godin Tepe in Central Western Iran and Implications for the Interrelationships between the Local and Foreign Cultures." In Artefacts of Complexity: Tracking the Uruk in the Near East, edited by J. N. Postgate, pp. 79-109. Iraq Archaeological Reports 5, British School of Archaeology in Iraq, 2002
  9. ^ Sagona, A.G.; The Caucasian Region in the Early Bronze Age Part I-III, BAR International Series 214(i), Oxford, 1984. ISBN 0-86054-277-7
  10. ^ Robert Carl Henrickson, Godin Tepe, Godin III, and Central Western Iran: C. 2600-1500 BC, University of Toronto disertation, 1984 (PDF available at [3] Tspace.library.utoronto.ca)
  11. ^ Robert C. Henrickson, A Regional Perspective on Godin III Cultural Development in Central Western Iran, Iran, vol. 24, pp. 1-55, 1986
  12. ^ Heleen Sancisi-Weerdenburg, Was There Ever a Median Empire?, pp. 197-212 in Method and Theory. Proceedings of the London 1985 Achaemenid History Workshop. (Achaemenid History III) A. Kuhrt, H. Sancisi-Weerdenburg (eds.), Leiden (1988, ISBN 978-90-6258-403-1

External Links[edit]

Godin Tepe TSpace Web Archive

References[edit]

  • Stuart Brown: "Media in the Achaemenid Period: The Late Iron Age in Central West Iran", in Heleen Sancisi-Weerdenburg & Amelie Kuhrt, Achaemenid History IV: Centre and Periphery (1990), Leinden.
  • T. Cuyler Young Jr.: "Godin Tepe", in Encyclopaedia Iranica.
  • Hilary Gopnik and Mitchell S. Rothman, On the High Road: The History of Godin Tepe, Iran, Mazda Pub, 2011, ISBN 1-56859-165-9
  • Robert B. Mason and Lisa Cooper, Grog, Petrology, and Early Transcaucasians at Godin Tepe, Iran, vol. 37, pp. 25–31, 1999
  • T. Cuyler Young Jr., The Chronology of the Late Third and Second Millennia in Central Western Iran as Seen from Godin Tepe, American Journal of Archaeologyvol. 73, no. 3, pp. 287–291, 1969
  • Lesley Frame, Metallurgical investigations at Godin Tepe, Iran, Part I: the metal finds, Journal of Archaeological Science, vol. 37, Iss. 7, Pages 1700-1715, 2010
  • V. R. Badler, The Dregs of Civilization: 5000 Year-Old Wine and Beer: Residues from Godin Tepe, Iran, Bulletin of the Canadian Society for Mesopotamian, vol 35, pp. 48–56, 2000

Coordinates: 34°31′N 48°04′E / 34.517°N 48.067°E / 34.517; 48.067