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Mobility and economic transition in the 5th to the 2nd millennium B.C. in the population of the Central Iranian Plateau, Tepe Hissar

AFSHAR, ZAHRA (2014) Mobility and economic transition in the 5th to the 2nd millennium B.C. in the population of the Central Iranian Plateau, Tepe Hissar. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Iranian archaeology has had a keen interest in exploring unexplained events occurring during the 5th to the 2nd millennium B.C. on the Central Iranian Plateau. This is represented by transformations in material culture, a differentiation in mortuary practices, and site abandonment and reoccupation, and has traditionally been explained by the influx of new populations into Central Plateau sites. The site of Tepe Hissar, the subject of this research, located in the north-east region of the Central Plateau and appears to have undergone these changes during its existence (late 5th to the early 2nd millennium B.C.). This research uses a bioarchaeological approach to tests the hypotheses that the socio-cultural-economic changes that occurred at Tepe Hissar over time, accompanied by influxes of new people into the site, particularly in Hissar periods II and III; ultimately impacted on subsistence economy, diet, and general health, and also resulted in a rise in tension and interpersonal violence.
The biological affinity data suggest that the changes at Tepe Hissar were not accompanied by large scale population replacement/immigration/or invasion. Rather, there was more small scale population replacement over time, although these changes were accompanied by interpersonal violence. These changes did not greatly impact on the general health of people over time, although people in each period experienced different frequencies of stress and disease, and periods of malnutrition; both females and males were affected equally in each period.
The dental disease data showed that changes during Hissar II and III had a significant impact on the oral-health of people, and Hissar I experienced better oral-health compared to later periods; this may be due to changes in subsistence economy and diet, food preparation techniques, and how the teeth were used as tools. The data indicate that males possibly suffered poorer dental health compared to females at this site; they may have had a different diet, or possibly used their teeth as a third hand more than females.
The isotopic data (C/N) showed that the inhabitants had access to similar food resources across all periods; individuals from each period, both sexes from different age-categories, had a similar diet based on C3 plants and animal protein, as well as a small contribution from fresh water resources.
Overall, this research suggests that the society who lived at Tepe Hissar overall may have had an appropriate social structure and adequate food resources to withstand socio-cultural-economic changes, enabling the community to be more centralised socially, economically, and politically such that the changes and events they experienced did not markedly affect their health or nutritional status.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Tepe Hissar,biological affinity, isotopic analysis of diet, Violent Trauma, Iran
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Archaeology, Department of
Thesis Date:2014
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:23 Apr 2015 08:54

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