Nishapur Revisited: Stratigraphy and Ceramics of the Qohandez

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Need an account? Seismic stratigraphy was developedin the s by Peter R. This theory, also known as descent with modification, constitutes organic evolution. Eldred Co. If sections of the open ocean basins are taken as the stratotype of the stages and zones, these units can be traced virtually throughout the world.

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The composition of the mud bricks is always quite pure and fine. The area between these two urban foundations, the Sasanian and the Taherid ones, was rapidly urbanized from the 8th century, a process that developed considerably during the 9thth centuries and continued until the early 13th century for the hypothetical archeological area of Nishapur in the Islamic period, see Bulliet, , fig. The American excavations revealed structures and objects dated by the excavators from about the late 8th to the 12th centuries, but they did not provide any stratigraphy.

A refined chronological sequence of the finds thus cannot be established. In addition, the objects discovered were not considered as stratigraphical assemblages. It is not known which types of ceramics , glasswares , metals , and so on were contemporary with one another Allan, p.

The recent archeological works have shown that the urban and cultural changes undoubtedly occurred in this epoch middle 8th-early 11th centuries; see Rante and Collinet, fig. The urban changes are traceable above all in the northern part of the Qohandez.

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The fortress seems to have lost its military function and the area restructured as an urban space. Moreover, the excavation of the rampart side effectively showed the abandoning of its military role, since the rooms and the passages for the archers were filled with layers presenting late material, probably belonging to the previous period.

Based on the pottery analyses and study of the assemblages, a cultural change seems to have appeared from the late 10th century. The central part of the Qohandez shows the formation of a large depression. Here, the study of the pottery material pertaining to this period seems to show a lesser proportion of fragments, due perhaps to a decline in the use of this specific area. The southern part of the Qohandez, the largest one, in contrast shows a proportionally much more significant presence of pottery fragments.

In contrast to the previous epoch storage material seems to be less represented, whereas the finer material, used for consumption, has increased. Another main characteristic is the considerable increase of glazed material, most of which is monochrome, even if a large part is also polychrome. All of the potteries analyzed and studied confirm that they were produced in Nishapur.

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The glazed monochrome wares are of two types, green or turquoise. The appearance of splash, sgraffiato, painted sgraffiato, slip painted, and buff clayey wares at this period has been observed, stressing the appearance of cultural handicraft innovations. It is probable that the appearance of fritware was already observable in the late 10th and early 11th centuries.

The growth of fine and medium-fine vessels shows a development of the serving and consumption of food and drink production. In this early Islamic epoch, the urban fabric of Nishapur noticeably increased. Numismatic finds also demonstrate this tendency see Wilkinson, , pp. In any case, between the 9th and 12th centuries the whole area of Nishapur held an important population, which Richard Bulliet , pp. Moreover, even if reference is made only to the Qohandez, which was quite inhabited during this period and was possibly taken as comparison data, consumption material still seems to support this last figure.

At the time of Islamic conquest, the people of Nishapur were primarily Zoroastrian, although Christian and Jewish communities were present as well. Soon, a significant wave of conversion to Islam took place, especially due to economic and social, rather than religious, necessity.

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However, the peak of the conversion to Islam took place between the 9th and 11th centuries, when the majority of the people of Nishapur were Muslims, even if Christian, Jewish, and Zoroastrian communities continued to exist Bulliet, , p. It is difficult, if not impossible, to estimate the different social classes of the entire population of Nishapur in the 10thth centuries.

Nishapur revisited; stratigraphy and ceramics of the Qohandez.

The respect and stature of these families derived from landholding, trade, and religion. In the 11th and 12th centuries the city increased its wealth, but not its urban expansion. The areas previously occupied seemed to retain their position and their extension. The few plans published by Wilkinson , pp. This choice was also certainly influenced by water sources. On the Qohandez, this period is characterized by the large-scale levelling of the mound. This remains visible, although a deep layer is overhung by a large layer of rocks constituting the street. The Qohandez comprised a central eastern depression, probably characterized by the presence of storage buildings and dumpsites.

The remaining part contained houses of the affluent, once again showing continuity from the late 9thth centuries. The first appearance of baked brick corresponds to this period, and it was identified in the upper parts of the archeological remains still visible today. From the origin of the city, pottery continued to be produced here and the raw materials employed clay and inclusion materials came from the same regional sources. In this period, the finest tablewares are much better represented than the storage ones. Moreover, the general typology is also very similar to the previous period.

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Nishapur in eastern Iran was an important Silk Road city, its position providing Nishapur Revisited: Stratigraphy and Ceramics of the Qohandez [Hardback]. Nishapur Revisited: Stratigraphy and Ceramics of the Qohandez ( ): Rocco Rante, Annabelle Collinet: Books.

The most common types of coarse wares are storage vessels and basins, while the fine ceramic is characterized by jugs and glazed bowls. This period is also characterized by the appearance of pot shapes and an additional increase and development of bowl typologies. On the contrary, cooking pots are not so well represented, testifying to a probable change in occupation. Concerning the glazed pottery, a preponderance of the monochrome category has been observed in both fabric types, clayey, and fritwares. The polychrome glazed ceramic, painted sgraffiato, slip-painted undercolored glaze wares, nevertheless continued to be produced, even if in much lesser quantity.

Fritwares, quite numerous, are mostly turquoise monochrome. The early fritware type identified in stratigraphy is the turquoise monochrome. The other monochrome glazed later types cobalt blue and opaque white, but also molded and engraved monochrome wares , such as the underglaze and overglaze painted ones, have been identified in the upper layers and on the surface of the Qohandez. The analyzed shards belonging to this polychrome group of fritwares present a very siliceous glaze, different from the previous one, thus corroborating the hypothesis of an enrichment in technology during the 12th century Rante and Collinet, pp.