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The Ceramic Context of a “Jiroft” Style Chlorite Vessel

From a Damaged Grave of Mahtoutabad (Konar Sandal South, Kerman, Iran)
Massimo Vidale, Francois Desset et Irene Caldana

Résumés

Résumé. Le pillage moderne d’une tombe de l’âge du Bronze sur le site de Mahtoutabad (près de Konar Sandal Sud, Jiroft, Iran) a, pour la première fois, révélé un assemblage céramique qui accompagnait des objets en chlorite du style Halil Rud ou Jiroft. Dans cet article, nous présentons et étudions un ensemble d’artefacts découverts associé à un tesson gravé en chlorite ainsi que son contexte archéologique et discuterons plus spécifiquement du dépôt funéraire d’origine. Enfin, en menant une comapraison antre les objets découverts et eux des sites du Bronze ancien de la région, nous proposerons une possible datation prélimianire de la tombe pillée de Mahtoutabad.

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Introduction

  • 1 The work belongs in equal parts to the three authors. In detail, M. Vidale wrote the Introduction (...)

1In the last decade, our knowledge about the Halil Rud or “Jiroft” civilization (fig. 1) has expanded and transformed from the recovery of beautiful but unprovenanced collections of artifacts (Madjidzadeh 2003a, 2003c; Perrot and Madjidzadeh 2005, 2006; Piran and Hesari 2005; Muscarella 2012; Piran and Madjidzadeh 2013) to a better-articulated framework in the course of becoming more coherent and solid (Madjidzadeh 2003b; Madjidzadeh and Pittman 2008).1

Fig. 1 – Map of the study area including the most relevant protohistoric sites mentioned in the text.

Fig. 1 – Map of the study area including the most relevant protohistoric sites mentioned in the text.

F. Desset.

2New evidence, for example, has provided important perspectives on the reconstruction of the long archaeological sequence of the region which, at present, stretches from the late Neolithic periods (Soleimani 2016a, 2016b; Soleimani and Fazeli 2019) to the 4th and 3rd millennium (Desset et al. 2013, 2017; Vidale and Desset 2013; Eskandari et al. 2018, n.d.a, n.d.b; Pfälzner et al. 2017 and 2019; Vidale 2018, 2020; Eskandari 2019; see also previous background information in Potts D. T. 2002, 2005). Similar breakthroughs have also been made in the discovery and study of the two different systems of ancient writing from this region (Madjidzadeh 2011; Desset 2012, 2014). Furthermore, information related to the ecological and geomorphological setting of the Halil river valley (Fouache et al. 2005; Fouache 2008; Gurjazkaite 2017) as well as its bio-archaeological evidence is also available (Mashkour et al. 2013). Recently, some attempts have even been made at identifying and sourcing local base materials (Emami et al. 2017; Emami 2020). At the same time, P. Steinkeller (1982, 2012, 2013, 2014) was able to identify and link the discovered settlements of the Halil Rud valley with ancient Marḫaši of the cuneiform sources, which is a proposition that has gained more acceptance among scholars in recent years (Guichard 2021: 74; contra Francfort and Tremblay 2010).

3Of course, these investigations directly consider the study of the artifacts-symbols associated with the Halil Rud civilization, the carved chlorite materials of the “Jiroft” tradition, and the long-lasting debate on their chronology, trade, and cultural implications (Lamberg-Karlovsky 1970, 1988, 1993, 2001; Miroschedji 1973; Kohl 1975, 1978, 1979, 2004; Hakemi 1977; Potts T. F. 1994; Marchesi 2016; Eskandari et al. n.d.a.; see an assemblage of crucial relevance found at Bismaya, in Wilson 2012; for the same artifacts in the Persian Gulf, Zarins 1978 and Hilton 2014). At present, the dating of these carved vessels is well established in relative and absolute terms (i.e., Early Dynastic III/Early Akkadian, Yahya early IVB, ca. 2650-2350 BCE, or thereabout).

4Despite having achieved progress at multiple fronts, we are currently not in the position to define the types of ceramic materials (ceramic horizons), which are associated and coeval with the recovered carved chlorite artifacts. There are various reasons that can be cited to explain this major gap in our knowledge: detailed reports on the excavation of concerned settlement contexts at Konar Sandal South, for instance, remain unpublished to this day. In addition, although various types of carved chlorite objects were recovered from Mahtoutabad, they are broken, small, few in numbers, and are scattered in various secondary dumps (Vidale 2015). The only intact grave so far excavated in the same graveyard (Grave 2; Desset et al. 2017) has revealed a banded calcite vessel, beads made from jasper and carnelian, a copper vase; but unfortunately no chlorite goods came to light.

5In this paper, we present a context that was recorded in January 2007 on the surface of Trench I at Mahtoutabad as Lot 5 (figs. 2 and 3). At the time, it was still possible to note several groups of pots placed in a few areas of the looted cemetery, but they were broken into large fragments by the pillaging thieves and abandoned in heaps of dirt alongside the robbing pits, together with small fragments of human teeth and bones (Vidale 2015: pl. 1A). Among these, we gathered, excavated, and sieved Lot 5, obtained from a pile of excavation earth abandoned aside its looting pit. In our judgement, Lot 5, as a whole, was discarded after the looting of a nearby, single grave (see details in the next section).

Fig. 2 – Map of the plundered graveyard of Mahtoutabad, showing the excavated Trenches. The location of the map for the following fig. 3 is on the southern side of Trench I?

Fig. 2 – Map of the plundered graveyard of Mahtoutabad, showing the excavated Trenches. The location of the map for the following fig. 3 is on the southern side of Trench I?

F. Desset, M. Vidale and E. Battistella.

Fig. 3 – Map of the surface of Trench I (see also fig. 2) before excavation, reporting the position of Lot 5 among the heaps of dirt, and of the artefacts published in this article.

Fig. 3 – Map of the surface of Trench I (see also fig. 2) before excavation, reporting the position of Lot 5 among the heaps of dirt, and of the artefacts published in this article.

I. Caldana.

6At present, Mahtoutabad Lot 5 is the only identified context that includes both well-preserved ceramics and a typologically important fragment of a carved chlorite vessel. In total, the inventory of Lot 5 includes five fragments of stone vessels (one in chlorite) and six fragments of bronze objects, as well as pieces from no less than 25 different, individual vessels. This is the first ceramic assemblage that (although disturbed and removed from its original location) can be scientifically linked, as a whole, to one or more of the so-defined chlorite artefacts.

Context of recovery

7In the winter of 2007, M. Vidale was entrusted by Y. Madjidzadeh with a project to carry out a proper rescue operation and excavation of the plundered graveyard at Mahtoutabad, which lies about 800 m north-east of the citadel of Konar Sandal South. These salvage investigations, which also included soundings for mapping purposes, lasted for three field seasons (2007, 2008, 2009). Considering the almost complete destruction of the ancient deposits at the site, the final results, however, turned out to be quite rewarding and meaningful, leading to the discovery of an early 4th millennium semi-subterranean large hut (Vidale and Desset 2013; Mahtoutabad I period) accompanied by a new, distinctive class of polychrome pottery. We were also able to document a chronologically later, thick layer of highly fragmented Aliabad pottery (Mahtoutabad II period), followed by the identification of an important Uruk-related occupation phase (Desset et al. 2013; Mahtoutabad III period) as well as a single, undisturbed grave of the mid-3rd millennium (Grave 2), which had narrowly escaped the attention of the looting mob (Desset et al. 2017; Mahtoutabad IV period).

  • 2 The range is suggested by four 14C published and discussed in detail in Vidale and Desset 2013.

8At the start of the excavation, it was possible to see the infilled pits on the surface of Trench I (fig. 3) randomly dug by the looters (Pits A, E, F, G, I, L, P), which were surrounded by low mounds of excavation rubble piled immediately next to them (mapped as 10 cm-distant elevation contour lines). On the same map, inserted crosses mark the location of the findspots and, in this case, of the Middle Chalcolithic Mahtoutabad I polychrome pottery (14C cal. dated 4200-3700),2 which was found where the pit intercepted the earliest layers, around 4 m deep from the modern trampling surface. Ceramic sherds, which come from the graves and are dated to the 3rd millennium, are depicted as circles on the map. Some of them were scattered between Pits A and E while a second cluster, identified as Lot 6, is excluded from the discussions in the present study.

9In contrast, the recovered sherds from Lot 5 formed a dense, but limited cluster between Pits E and P, which were accompanied by various other types of material culture items including a carved chlorite vessel sherd, pieces of different stone vases, and a few copper finds, as already mentioned above. The almost complete preservation of some pottery forms, the morphology and homogeneity of the sediments of the piled debris, the identification of these disturbed sediments and those still contained in the nearby pit, the soil micro-topography and the relative elevation context, encourage us to propose with almost certainty that all the recovered objects must have derived from the nearby Pit E. Moreover, the discovery of three grinding stones slabs, respectively abandoned at the outer edges of Pits G and A and not far from Pit C, appears to verify the accounts recorded in local reports that the bodies of the deceased must have been put to rest in the grave chambers with their heads resting on such domestic lithic tools.

Description of the finds

10The collection of finds from Lot 5 can be described as follows.

Fig. 4 – Mahtoutabad, January 2007, at the beginning of the rescue dig. General view of Trench I; the arrow pinpoints the location of the looters’ debris pile labelled Lot 5.

Fig. 4 – Mahtoutabad, January 2007, at the beginning of the rescue dig. General view of Trench I; the arrow pinpoints the location of the looters’ debris pile labelled Lot 5.

Photo M. Vidale.

11Figs. 5 and 6, no. 1. A neck fragment of a chlorite flask-like vessel with a flat everted rim, decorated with a set of parallel tree branches with “leaves” represented as rows of straight parallel segments in opposed oblique settings. Two preserved stems end in a drop-like leaf or fruit motif. Highly stylized bushes or trees with branches arranged in a similar symmetric way are well-known examples that can found in the chlorite Halil Rud repertory (Madjidzadeh 2003: 40-43), although in these cases, individual leaves are pointed and sinuous, and their artistic rendering as straight segments would rather point towards a depiction of date palms (but palm leaves do not end in similar “fruits”). We are probably dealing with a fragment from the top of a flask carved with a specific, rare scene (see, for example, Madjidzadeh 2003: 65-66) or a scavenging scene (Madjidzadeh 2003: 40-41; Madjidzadeh and Piran 2013: 108-109; Inagaki 2020: figs. 2c, 2f, see also Vidale et al. 2021). Under similar branched trees, we can sometimes see a number of symmetric lions taking a heraldic position above the upturned body of a dead ungulate (see examples in Madjidzadeh 2003: 40-43). In such images, it is interesting to note that the body of the dead herbivore is always placed behind the tree trunk, and not in front of it. This kind of tree, which is depicted with different types of leaves in the current case-study, is also represented on other artistic scenes (Madjidzadeh 2003: 65-66). Rim diam. 11.5 cm (see also figs. 5 and 6, no 1).

Fig. 5 – Top: Mahtoutabad, January 2007, two images of the moment of discovery of the fragment of a carved chlorite flask on the graveyard’s disturbed surface. Below, a picture of the chlorite sherd.

Fig. 5 – Top: Mahtoutabad, January 2007, two images of the moment of discovery of the fragment of a carved chlorite flask on the graveyard’s disturbed surface. Below, a picture of the chlorite sherd.

Photo M. Vidale.

Fig. 6 – Mahtoutabad, Lot 5, Trench I. Drawing of stone and copper artifacts. All scales of the figures illustrating objects are in cm.

Fig. 6 – Mahtoutabad, Lot 5, Trench I. Drawing of stone and copper artifacts. All scales of the figures illustrating objects are in cm.

Drawings F. Desset and I. Caldana.

  • 3 It is believed that some bronze objects that were stolen from the Kerman region may have been, in (...)
  • 4 Rumors about this find are at the base of a web fake news reported by O. Muscarella (2012) as foll (...)

12Figs. 6, no. 2 and 7. A finely decorated copper object in the shape of a curved tapering tube, ending in a bearded ibex head. The tips of the arched and knobbed horns are missing. This object was heavily corroded, and layers of copper carbonates hid a substantial part of the intricated geometrical decoration of the tubular part, made from bands of alternating orthogonal segments and a basal meander. The function of these peculiar objects is currently unknown (finials? containers? handles?) but they were apparently quite common among the funerary offerings of the Halil Rud or Jiroft graves, as indicated by other related finds including an ibex or bull's head, which is stored at the Jiroft Museum in Iran. They also constantly feature in pictures broadcasted on the web of materials illegally excavated in the region.3 The current find from Mahtoutabad seems to be the first specimen, which can be scientifically recorded and described. Length about 21 cm, base diam. 2.5 cm.4

Fig. 7 – Mahtoutabad, Lot 5, Trench I. A view of the copper tubular object in the shape of a bearded ibex, also shown in fig. 6, no. 2.

Fig. 7 – Mahtoutabad, Lot 5, Trench I. A view of the copper tubular object in the shape of a bearded ibex, also shown in fig. 6, no. 2.

Photo M. Vidale.

13Fig. 6, no. 3 is a round around openwork stamp seal in copper with a semi-circular handle, bearing a simple cross-like pattern, which is one of the most common motifs that can be found on such types of stamps made from both stone and copper. Diam. 2,8 cm. The precise findspot of this seal was not recorded and does not appear in fig. 3, but it belongs to the same Lot 5.

14Fig. 6, nos. 4-7 are four fragments of damaged copper pins or similar objects of an unknown type.

15Figs. 6, nos. 8-11 and fig. 8 are fragments of a set of four distinctive, thick-walled bowls made from a fine-grained, dull, red sandstone (rim diam.: 8, 30 cm; 9, 25 cm; 10, 22 cm; 11, 18 cm). The shape of the bowls vary from truncated-conical to hemispherical and appear to match those of similar fine chlorite bowls, although the rims tend to be thinned, rather than rounded. As fragments of the same description are also found on the surface of the Konar Sandal South settlement, it would not be incorrect to consider this type of a stone bowl as a common, local product.

Fig. 8 – Mahtoutabad, Lot 5, Trench I. Four fragments of red sandstone vessels, also shown in fig. 6, nos. 8-11.

Fig. 8 – Mahtoutabad, Lot 5, Trench I. Four fragments of red sandstone vessels, also shown in fig. 6, nos. 8-11.

M. Vidale.

16Fig. 9, no. 1 as well as nos. 2, 4-7 represent fragments of several ceramic hemispherical bowls, which are buff-orange, plain or red slipped, but are always found unpainted (rim diams.: 1, 16.8 cm; 2, 19 cm; 3, 19,5 cm; 4, 12 cm; 5, 18 cm; 6, 18,2 cm; 7, 22,5; 8, 8,5 cm; 9, 10 cm; 10, 12 cm; 11, 12,3 cm; 13, 14 cm; 14, 15 cm; 15, 5,3 cm; 16, 7 cm; 17, 8 cm). The rims are simple and slightly everted, which gives a slight S-shaped trend to their contour. These vessels were carefully produced and fashioned on the potter's wheel with very fine clay, without visible inclusions, and fired under homogeneous oxidizing conditions.

Fig. 9 – Mahtoutabad, Lot 5, Trench I. Drawing of ceramic artifacts. The dark stain on no. 16 came from the contact, in burial, of a lost large copper object.

Fig. 9 – Mahtoutabad, Lot 5, Trench I. Drawing of ceramic artifacts. The dark stain on no. 16 came from the contact, in burial, of a lost large copper object.

Drawings F. Desset.

  • 5 Already published in Vidale 2015: pl. III, upper right; together with a selection of other fine Gr (...)

17Figs. 9, nos. 3 and 10, in contrast, depict a Gray Ware bowl with an unusual inner motif; parallels can be identified through the study of the pottery assemblages of Tepe Yahya IVB5 to IVB6, (Lamberg-Karlovsky and Potts 2001) internally painted with vegetal patterns and festoons combined with appended vertical brush strokes (not a common design on this ceramic class).5 Figure 10 shows again two small pots (nos. 8, 9) in very fine red wares, produced and fashioned on the potter's wheel in a very competent way.

Fig. 10 – Mahtoutabad, Lot 5, Trench I. Fragments of the Grey Ware bowl also shown in fig. 9, no. 3.

Fig. 10 – Mahtoutabad, Lot 5, Trench I. Fragments of the Grey Ware bowl also shown in fig. 9, no. 3.

M. Vidale.

  • 6 Body and foot being separately thrown and joined in a second step.
  • 7 As stressed by an anonymous reviewer, besides representing one of the most recognizable ceramic ty (...)

18Fig. 9, nos. 10 to 1 represent specimens of globular footed cups, also made in the same fine, wheel-made buff-orange ware,6 which were originally painted with a fugitive, largely vanished dark red pigment (cf. Madjidzadeh 2003a: 159, lower right; Madjidzadeh and Pittman 2008: fig. 22, lower left; at Tepe Yahya, see Lamberg-Karlovsky and Tosi 1973: fig. 107, lower left).7 Possibly applied after the firing process, this pigment vanished almost entirely—a condition less common in vessels of the same form that were found in the settlement area of Konar Sandal South. Therefore, we are potentially dealing with a specialized kind of funerary production material. The actual conditions of the surface of these fragments are illustrated in fig. 11. These elegant cups were originally painted with much care in intricate, albeit unimaginative, patterns.

Fig. 11 – Mahtoutabad, Lot 5, Trench I. Fragments of fine footed bowls, also shown as drawings in fig. 9, nos. 12-14. Note the vanishing state of the dark red pigment, suggesting a post-firing painting process.

Fig. 11 – Mahtoutabad, Lot 5, Trench I. Fragments of fine footed bowls, also shown as drawings in fig. 9, nos. 12-14. Note the vanishing state of the dark red pigment, suggesting a post-firing painting process.

M. Vidale.

19Among the surviving designs, we can recognize a zig-zag band pattern below the rim on nos. 11, 13 and 14, vertical bands of multiple segments with toothed margins and a simplified “palm” on no. 12, and probably the “insect” motif on no. 13 (these two latter designs are also often encountered in the Grey Wares assemblage of the general region). We find similar types of cups defined as “hollow-footed chalices” at Tepe Yahya IVB6 (Lamberg-Karlovsky and Potts 2001: fig. 3.19, upper left). For the motifs see ibidem, fig. 3.10, J and K., and for IVB5, fig. 4.28 F. Footed cups of the same form were also made from chlorite and copper as evidenced from the study of the Jiroft collections (to be compared with several examples in Madjidzadeh 2003a).

20This ceramic type appears in a few rich graves of Shahr-I Sokhta Period III, such as G. 725 INF (Piperno and Salvatori 2007: figs. 637 and 638) and 731 (Piperno and Salvatori 2007: fig. 675), which is found, in both cases, together with small and very distinctive “scorpion bowls”. The recovery of this distinct ceramic type from various sites provides strong evidence for some form of cross-cultural links between these anomalous, rich burials in the Helmand delta and the sites located in the Kerman-Halil Rud areas. Nos. 15 and 16 are two sub-cylindrical, small jars made on the potter's wheel and also painted with fugitive pigments. No. 16 was found close to no. 17, which was probably the lid of the former, as indicated by the decoration painted on the outer base (a chessboard-like grid whose lozenges are alternated, plain, and hatched). A possible analogue for such types of lid is provided by the evidence from Tepe Yahya, Period IVB (Lamberg-Karlovsky and Potts 2001: fig. 4.29, C). Nos. 15 and 16 can possibly be considered as canister jars (see Madjidzadeh 2003: 163, lower left; Desset et al. 2017: pl. 17 and 18, and especially no. 38), even though the shoulder of such jars is less angular. For no. 17, cf. Hakemi 1997: 603, Er. 4.

  • 8 Potentially comparable to some specimens reported in Lamberg-Karlovsky and Potts 2001 in figs. 4.3 (...)

21Fig. 12, nos. 1-5 are bell-like, relatively tall bowls8 that come in as a medium-fine buff ware probably made in large coils or strips of clay manufactured on the potter's wheel. Rim diam.: 1, 30,8 cm; 2, 32 cm; 3, 33,2 cm; 4, 40 cm; 5, 42 cm. The discovery of this bowl provides direct evidence of typological continuity with the bowls found from the Varamin period (late 4th- early 3rd millennium): see the tall beakers found in Hajjiabad-Varamin, Grave 1 (Eskandari et al. n.d.a, figs. 9 and 10).

Fig. 12 – Mahtoutabad, Lot 5, Trench I. Drawing of other ceramic artifacts.

Fig. 12 – Mahtoutabad, Lot 5, Trench I. Drawing of other ceramic artifacts.

Drawings F. Desset.

  • 9 Lamberg-Karlovsky and Potts 2001: fig. 6.10, B and C.

22No. 6 (rim diam. 21 cm) is a peculiar, coarse buff ware pot, hand-made with coils. The exterior part of the pot is characterized by oblique traces left behind by the use of a spatula-like tool. Its relatively rough surface, thickness and open contour may suggest that we are dealing with a cooking pot. Finally, the two buff ware necked jars (nos. 7 and 8) do not appear to be particularly distinctive in the assemblage. NO. 7 (rim diam. 11 cm) was produced with more care and effort, having been painted black on the shoulder with zig-zag bands over a bright red slip. Similar types of vessels were found found from the IVB1 context of Tepe Yahya,9 although the carinated base of no. 8 (rim diam. 13 cm) is quite different. The form is related to the use of a truncated cone-like chuck, which was used for making the base of the vessel. Carination molding of the lower part of jars, in fact, represents a tradition that was widespread in the 3rd millennium, and hence, cannot be taken as a precise chronological or cultural marker. Such types of base forms also appear at the site of Mundigak in Kandahar (Casal 1961: figs. 50.14, 78.275); in Bronze Age Sistan (forms in Biscione 1979); at Tepe Yahya (Lamberg-Karlovsky and Potts 2001: figs. 4.7, 5.3 and 5.4) as well as in the Indus and Pre(Early)-Indus cultural areas, and Baluchistan (see, for example, Nindowari and Mehrgarh in Jarrige et al. 2011: figs. 8, 14, 15, 29, passim). This typological feature is, however, well-documented from the study of the Namazga V assemblages associated with the Oxus/BMAC sphere of southern Turkmenistan and the adjacent early urban cultures (among many possible examples, for Adzhi Kui, Rossi Osmida et al. 2020: fig. 7, no. 6; for Gonur, various specimens well illustrated in Salvatori 1995), southern Tadjikistan (Vinogradova and Winkelmann 2016: fig. 4, no. 11; Vinogradova 2021) and the Zeravshan valley (Avanesova 2021).

Conclusions

23It is, of course, difficult to provide an accurate reconstruction of the original architecture of the destroyed grave at Mahtoutabad. The other grave that was excavated at Mahtoutabad (Grave 2) belonged to the so-called “catacomb” type (i.e., made of a vertical shaft and a lateral chamber, the two separated by a screen of stakes and a mat). The idea that the deceased were placed in the graves with their head resting on a grinding stone slab seems plausible, but more research is required to confirm this argument.

24The composition of the surviving assemblage is, in part, comparable to the two earlier excavated graves of the Halil Rud valley (Grave 1 in Hajjiabad-Varamin, ca. 3000 and Grave 2 in Mahtoutabad, just nearby, ca. 2400-2300, described in Desset et al. 2017). The assemblages of both sites are characterized, for example, by the regularly decreasing size of bell-like bowls (fig. 12, nos. 1-5) and hemispherical bowls (fig. 9, nos. 4-7). The evidence, hence, suggests that the vessels recovered from the grave of Lot 5 were deposited in one another as part of a continuous series - a tradition, which is already well-documented from the study of the large graves of the earlier Varamin period (late 4th-early 3rd millennium). The latter have been recently excavated at the nearby site of Hajjiabad-Varamin (Eskandari et al. NDa).

25The typological variation observed in the pot assemblage is also noteworthy, as it partially reflects the typological characteristics of the aforementioned, possibly coeval (?) Grave 2. Various types of grave goods have been found including a series of fine, serving pottery (painted footed cups possibly for filling liquids whereas fine wheel-thrown bowls for serving solid food?), storage vessels, and a possible cooking pot, which recalls a single cooking pot found near the feet of the deceased in Grave 2. The identified pottery forms from the two contexts (Grave 2 and Lot 5) are quite different; for the time being, we cannot determine precisely for what reasons.

26In terms of chronology, we had proposed a date between 2400-2200 for Grave 2, mainly based on the similarity of its pots with the ceramic types recovered from Shahr-I Sokhta Period III, and, by extension, with the complex network of links and matching comparisons that this similarity brought about (see Salvatori and Tosi 2005). Recently, however, another series of radiocarbon dates was obtained from Tepe Graziani (a sub-urban site of Shahr-i Sokhta), placing both Periods III and IV of Bronze age Sistan before 2400-2350 (Kavosh et al. 2019).

27While this is not the occasion to deal with the details of such a complex and multi-facetted discussion (see Cortesi et al. 2008; Jarrige et al. 2011; Vidale 2015; Mutin et al. 2017; Mutin and Lamberg-Karlovsky 2021), the potential correlation noted between the studied material from Mahtoutabad and Shahr-I Sokhta III suggests a somewhat earlier date for Lot 5, which is, at any rate, included within the time range now widely accepted for the production and use of Jiroft carved vessels of the série ancienne (i.e., Early Dynastic III/Early Akkadian and Yahya early IVB, i.e. ca. 2600-2350). Unfortunately, the fragments of human bones collected around the destroyed graves of Mahtoutabad and tested for collagen and 14C dating, turned out mineralized and not usable for our research purposes.

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Notes

1 The work belongs in equal parts to the three authors. In detail, M. Vidale wrote the Introduction and the Conclusions. I. Caldana the section entitled “Context of recovery” and part of that entitled “Description of the finds”, for fig. 7. F. Desset wrote the rest of the same section, concerning all artifacts in figs. 10-13.

2 The range is suggested by four 14C published and discussed in detail in Vidale and Desset 2013.

3 It is believed that some bronze objects that were stolen from the Kerman region may have been, in some instances, attributed, without evidence, to traditionally famous Luristan collections of stray finds.

4 Rumors about this find are at the base of a web fake news reported by O. Muscarella (2012) as follows: “An Internet report recorded that the bronze head of a goat 'was found in the historical cemetery of Jiroft', a site that eludes us.” Not all information, which appears on the web is worth repeating.

5 Already published in Vidale 2015: pl. III, upper right; together with a selection of other fine Gray Ware pots recovered from the looted graves, which give an idea about the presence and range of variation in this fine ceramic class from Mahtoutabad IV.

6 Body and foot being separately thrown and joined in a second step.

7 As stressed by an anonymous reviewer, besides representing one of the most recognizable ceramic types at Konar Sandal South, relatively fine, wheel-made Black-on-Red wares with fugitive slip and zig-zag painted designs are also well-documented from Yahya IVB.6-4 (or IVB.2, depending on the author), from the UAE and Oman (late Hafit and early Umm an-Nar periods).

8 Potentially comparable to some specimens reported in Lamberg-Karlovsky and Potts 2001 in figs. 4.33-36, despite the poor preservation of such bowls (from Tepe Yahya IVB5).

9 Lamberg-Karlovsky and Potts 2001: fig. 6.10, B and C.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1 – Map of the study area including the most relevant protohistoric sites mentioned in the text.
Crédits F. Desset.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/paleorient/docannexe/image/1066/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 857k
Titre Fig. 2 – Map of the plundered graveyard of Mahtoutabad, showing the excavated Trenches. The location of the map for the following fig. 3 is on the southern side of Trench I?
Crédits F. Desset, M. Vidale and E. Battistella.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/paleorient/docannexe/image/1066/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 762k
Titre Fig. 3 – Map of the surface of Trench I (see also fig. 2) before excavation, reporting the position of Lot 5 among the heaps of dirt, and of the artefacts published in this article.
Crédits I. Caldana.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/paleorient/docannexe/image/1066/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 163k
Titre Fig. 4 – Mahtoutabad, January 2007, at the beginning of the rescue dig. General view of Trench I; the arrow pinpoints the location of the looters’ debris pile labelled Lot 5.
Crédits Photo M. Vidale.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/paleorient/docannexe/image/1066/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 267k
Titre Fig. 5 – Top: Mahtoutabad, January 2007, two images of the moment of discovery of the fragment of a carved chlorite flask on the graveyard’s disturbed surface. Below, a picture of the chlorite sherd.
Crédits Photo M. Vidale.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/paleorient/docannexe/image/1066/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 339k
Titre Fig. 6 – Mahtoutabad, Lot 5, Trench I. Drawing of stone and copper artifacts. All scales of the figures illustrating objects are in cm.
Crédits Drawings F. Desset and I. Caldana.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/paleorient/docannexe/image/1066/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 92k
Titre Fig. 7 – Mahtoutabad, Lot 5, Trench I. A view of the copper tubular object in the shape of a bearded ibex, also shown in fig. 6, no. 2.
Crédits Photo M. Vidale.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/paleorient/docannexe/image/1066/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 495k
Titre Fig. 8 – Mahtoutabad, Lot 5, Trench I. Four fragments of red sandstone vessels, also shown in fig. 6, nos. 8-11.
Crédits M. Vidale.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/paleorient/docannexe/image/1066/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 749k
Titre Fig. 9 – Mahtoutabad, Lot 5, Trench I. Drawing of ceramic artifacts. The dark stain on no. 16 came from the contact, in burial, of a lost large copper object.
Crédits Drawings F. Desset.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/paleorient/docannexe/image/1066/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 144k
Titre Fig. 10 – Mahtoutabad, Lot 5, Trench I. Fragments of the Grey Ware bowl also shown in fig. 9, no. 3.
Crédits M. Vidale.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/paleorient/docannexe/image/1066/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 684k
Titre Fig. 11 – Mahtoutabad, Lot 5, Trench I. Fragments of fine footed bowls, also shown as drawings in fig. 9, nos. 12-14. Note the vanishing state of the dark red pigment, suggesting a post-firing painting process.
Crédits M. Vidale.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/paleorient/docannexe/image/1066/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 254k
Titre Fig. 12 – Mahtoutabad, Lot 5, Trench I. Drawing of other ceramic artifacts.
Crédits Drawings F. Desset.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/paleorient/docannexe/image/1066/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 307k
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Massimo Vidale, Francois Desset et Irene Caldana, « The Ceramic Context of a “Jiroft” Style Chlorite Vessel »Paléorient [En ligne], 47-2 | 2021, mis en ligne le 08 décembre 2021, consulté le 19 juillet 2024. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/paleorient/1066 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/paleorient.1066

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Auteurs

Massimo Vidale

Department of Cultural Heritage, University of Padova – Italia

Articles du même auteur

Francois Desset

Archéorient, UMR 5133, Lyon and Tehran University – France-Iran

Irene Caldana

Department of Cultural Heritage, University of Padova – Italia

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