Fresh Decorative Patterns on the EBA Pottery of Yanik Tepe (Iran) from the Reorganized Assemblages at the National Museum of Iran

Document Type : Research Article


Iranian Center for Archaeological Research (ICAR), Tehran, Iran


Following its inauguration, the National Museum of Iran used to be entrusted with the storing of all objects obtained from archaeological investigations over several decades. Yet access to stored objects began getting increasingly difficult over time. For that reason, a lion share of the stored objects remained unpublished. Whilst select works on display at museum halls have their own importance, a full insight into cultural, economic, political and technological developments will inevitably call for a study of a given cultural complex as a whole, which consists of stone tools and blades, pottery, faunal remains, and all other vestiges of the pertinent society. Hence, a reorganization work planned for the Museum’s storerooms, as part of which the author embarked on a study of the pottery assemblages from the Early Bronze Age levels of Yanik Tepe deriving from C. Burney’s 1960s excavations. The main question was: To what extent did the newcomer potters communicate their homeland artistic traditions on this pottery? Data from museum and library enquiries provided the basis for a comparative study. The dataset was analyzed qualitatively, and the study adopted a culture-historical approach. Statistical analysis revealed the predominating decorative scheme to be one consisting of a combination of geometric patterns, like simple bands, with animal or bird motifs, an observation reflecting the import of these species to the local subsistence economy that essentially relied on raising livestock and hunting. Comparison to the material from other spheres across the geographic extent of the culture showed that while the homeland legacy is mirrored in a few cases, there are also examples reflecting experimentations of local artisans.


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