Köhne Shahar

Kohne Shahar (KSH), also known as Ravaz, is a 15-hectare Early Bronze Age settlement in the highlands of northwestern Iran. It consists of a fortified citadel that is separated from an extramural residential area and a cemetery by large defensive wall. The citadel sits atop a natural basaltic promontory. A survey team in 1979 recorded several discrete and densely occupied neighborhoods inside the citadel that are divided by radial alleyways leading to a central plaza. Excavations between 2012 and 2014 were primarily focused on a deep sounding as well as several horizontal excavations in three of these neighborhoods. The sounding revealed five distinct architectural phases, all dating to the Kura-Araxes cultural tradition (ca. 3500–2200 BCE). Horizonal excavations exposed several mixed craft manufacturing workshops interspersed among possible domestic habitations. These workshops produced small, ornamental objects like beads. Zooarchaeological studies also revealed evidence of textile production and specific areas used to store antler raw material for tool production.


Other Team Members and Collaborators

Karim Alizadeh – Grand Valley State University (senior director)
Reza Heidari – Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran (co-director)
Kurosh Mohammadkhani – Shahid Beheshti University, Iran (geophysics)
Robert Tykot – University of South Florida (chemical analyses)
Sepideh Askari – California State University (human remains)

Select Publications and Posters

Alizadeh, K., 2015. Social Inequality at Köhne Shahar, an Early Bronze Age Settlement in Iranian Azerbaijan. Doctoral Dissertation, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University.

Bayani, N., Alizadeh, K. 2014. Architecture of a Kura-Araxes town: Köhne Shahar, Northwestern Iran. Poster presented at the American School of Oriental Research (ASOR) meeting, San Diego, CA.

Alizadeh, K., Eghbal, H., Samei, S., 2015. Approaches to social complexity in Kura-Araxes culture: a view from Köhne Shahar (Ravaz) in Chaldran, Iranian Azerbaijan. Paléorient 41, 37–54.

Alizadeh, K., Eghbal, H., Samei, S., Bayazidi, H., Hoseini, P., Kharrazi, E., 2013. Excavations at Köhne Shahar, a Kura-Araxes settlement in Iranian Azerbaijan: first preliminary report. Iranian Center for Archaeological Research, Cultural Heritage Organization of Iran, Tehran, Iran.

Alizadeh, K., Samei, S., Mohammadkhani, K., Heidari, R., Tykot, R.H., 2018. Craft production at Köhne Shahar, a Kura-Araxes settlement in Iranian Azerbaijan. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 51, 127–143.

Samei, S., Alizadeh, K, and N. Munro. 2019. Herd management and provisioning strategies at the Kura-Araxes settlement of Köhne Shahar, northwestern Iran. Submitted to Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 55: 101065.

Samei, S. 2019. Herding in the Highlands: Pastoralism and the Making of the Kura-Araxes Cultural Tradition. Doctoral Dissertation, Department of Anthropology, University of Connecticut.

Samei, S., and K. Alizadeh. 2020. The spatial organization of craft production at the Kura-Araxes settlement of Köhne Shahar in northwestern Iran: A zooarchaeological approach. PLOS ONE 15(3): e0229339.