Ayşe GüRSAN-SALZMANN

The New Chronology of the Bronze Age Settlement of Tepe Hissar, Iran

Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press for the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, 2016.

University Museum Monographs #142; 408pp. with 238 illustrations. ISBN 978-1-934536-83-4

Tepe Hissar is a large Bronze Age site in northeastern Iran notable for its uninterrupted occupational history from the fifth to the second millennium B.C.E. The quantity and elaborateness of its excavated artifacts and funerary customs position the site prominently as a cultural bridge between Mesopotamia and Central Asia. To address questions of synchronic and diachronic nature relating to the changing levels of socioeconomic complexity in the region and across the greater Near East, chronological clarity is required. While Erich Schmidt's 1931-32 excavations for the Penn Museum established the historical framework at Tepe Hissar, it was Robert H. Dyson, Jr., and his team's follow-up work in 1976 that presented a stratigraphically clearer sequence for the site with associated radiocarbon dates. Until now, however, a full study of the site's ceramic assemblages has not been published.

This monograph brings to final publication a stratigraphically based chronology for the Early Bronze Age settlement at Tepe Hissar. Based on a full study of the ceramic assemblages excavated from radiocarbon-dated occupational phases in 1976 by Dyson and his team, and linked to Schmidt's earlier ceramic sequence that was derived from a large corpus of grave contents, a new chronological framework for Tepe Hissar and its region is established. This clarified sequence provides ample evidence for the nature of the evolution and the abandonment of the site, and its chronological correlations on the northern Iranian plateau, situating it in time and space between Turkmenistan and Bactria on the one hand and Mesopotamia on the other.

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