Excavations at Bastam 1969-1978: Prehistory

Below the modern village of Bastam a tepe still exists, as small soundings in 1970 and 1975 showed. The tepe must have been large in antiquity but the accumulated debris was used for building activities at different periods. So the Urartian architects who built the Bastam fortress used earth from the tepe, to level and fill foundation constructions of the fortress. At a later stage, possibly in post-Urartian time, a large tumulus ("Grabhügel") was erected near the lower citadel. This tumulus was heaped up again with material coming from the tepe.

Both soundings within the area of the ancient tepe reached modern to Iron-Age levels. Only in the lowest part of the excavation conducted by Karen Rubinson in 1975 a late Middle Bronze-Age level could be reached. No structures were found in any excavation, only potsherds and some smallfinds.

So most of the finds coming originally from Bastam Tepe were not found in place but in secondary use either as fill within Bastam fortress or Bastam Tumulus. The pottery shown here all came from fill within the fortress, specially the lower citadel.

The Tepe was settled extensively in the Kura-Arax (or Early Transcaucasian) period, as pottery shows. The pottery is handmade, of black colour and burnished. Naxcivan lugs or white incised decoration can be found. Sometimes sherds have a shiny graphite burnish. These sherds can be compared with pottery found at Yanik Tepe or Haftavan period VII.

In the Middle Bronze period painted wares are frequent, monochrome and polychrome sherds have been found. One of the finest pieces is a sherd with a row of birds. These sherds resemble the pottery found in Haftavan period VI.

The Iron Age is characterised by the appearance of new shapes. Simple spouts and horizontal unbridged spouts are common. Some grey ware as known from Hasanlu could be found, but the majority of the sherds is of buff or brown colour.

Stephan Kroll, Die Keramik aus der Ausgrabung Bastam 1969, Archäologische Mitteilungen aus Iran, Neue Folge 3, 1970, 77-79, 86-87, 90-92, Taf. 44-45.
Wolfram Kleiss, Ausgrabungen in der Urartäischen Festung Bastam (Rusahinili) 1970, Archäologische Mitteilungen aus Iran, Neue Folge 5, 1972, 41-42 Abb. 36.
Stephan Kroll, Die Keramik aus der Ausgrabung Bastam 1970, Archäologische Mitteilungen aus Iran, Neue Folge 5, 1972, 89-92 Abb. 9.
Stephan Kroll, Grabungsbericht, in: Wolfram Kleiss (Ed.), Bastam I, Ausgrabungen in den Urartäischen Anlagen 1972-1975, Teheraner Forschungen IV (Berlin 1979) 113.







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Stephan Kroll 03-May-2004