Formation and Transformation of Communities in Prehistoric Khorasan

Author(s): Kyle Olson

Year: 2017


This paper evaluates the previously proposed sequence of transformations in prehistoric social organization in Northeastern Iran (Khorasan) using geospatial analysis of settlement distributions. The proposed sequence begins with agricultural villages during the Neolithic and Early Chalcolithic, transitions to craft-producing towns during the Late Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age, culminates in a process of proto-urbanization and the emergence of state-like structures during the Middle Bronze Age, and subsequently collapses at the end of the Bronze Age, resulting in the ‘abandonment’ of the region until the Middle Iron Age. Several explanations have been invoked to explain the transitions in this sequence, including migrations, shifting long-distance trade routes, the exhaustion of productive resources and climate change. In this paper, I present the results of a settlement pattern analysis of data generated through synthesis of legacy surveys in GIS and visual inspection of satellite imagery. This analysis focuses on several key variables, including measures of site size, morphology, landform correlations, clustering, hydrological potential, estimation of territorial boundaries, and relationships to modeled transportation corridors. The results of this study help us to operationalize the concepts of 'community' and 'social organization' in this region and evaluate the validity of the proposed culture-historical sequence.

Cite this Record

Formation and Transformation of Communities in Prehistoric Khorasan. Kyle Olson. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429477)

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Community Gis Iran

Geographic Keywords
West Asia

Spatial Coverage

min long: 25.225; min lat: 15.115 ; max long: 66.709; max lat: 45.583 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15840