Sites & cities that bear the name of Tepe Hissar

Tepe Hissar

Today in : Iran (Islamic Republic of)
First trace of activity : ca. 3,900 B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 2nd century B.C.E
Recorded names : Teppe Hissar, Tappeh Hessar, Tépeh Hissar

Description : Tepe Hissar is a prehistoric site located in the village Heydarabad just south of Damghan in Semnan Province in Northeastern Iran. The site was firstly discovered in 1877 by Albert Houtum-Schindler and then investigated in 1931 and 1932 by Erich Schmidt, on behalf of the University of Pennsylvania Museum (Schmidt 1933, 1937). A surface survey was carried out in 1972, while in 1976 a re-study project was performed, utilizing modern methods of stratigraphic assessments, ceramic typological analysis and radiocarbon dating, by the University of Pennsylvania Museum, the University of Turin and Iran Center for Archaeological Research(Dyson and Howard, 1989). Other researches, rescue excavations and salvage works were done in the 1990s. The site is notable for its uninterrupted occupational history from the 5th to the 2nd millennium BCE. The quantity and elaborateness of its excavated artifacts and funerary customs position the site prominently as a cultural bridge between Mesopotamia and Central Asia. The human occupation has been divided into three major periods (I, II and III) (Voigt and Dyson 1992). The earliest dating is uncertain but established as after 5000 BCE in the Chalcolithic period. This period (Hissar IA and IB) is characterized by mud-bricks buildings and hand-made (IA) and fine wheel-made (IB) ware, decorated with geometric, plant and animal patterns. The most widespread shapes are represented by small cups, bowls and vases. In the second period (Hissar IIA and IIB), dated to the 4th millennium BC and the beginning of the 3rd, the burnished grey ware becomes predominant and the large number of lapis lazuli beads and alabaster finds, as well as the evidence of large-scale production of copper-based alloys and lead-silver, suggests that the site was playing a very important role in the trade and export of metal artifacts and semi-precious stones from the Middle Asia quarries to Mesopotamia and Egypt. The third period of development (Hissar IIIA, IIIB and IIIC, chronologically attributed to the second half of the 3rd millennium BC and the beginning of the 2nd (Bronze Age), can be described as a proto-urban phase, mainly characterized by increased wealth, demographic concentration, mass production of plain ware and the construction of large public and ceremonial buildings. There is considerable cultural continuity from the early Cheshmeh Ali-period settlements in Iran, and into the later Hissar period. "Traditionally, the early ceramic sequence of north-eastern Iran begins with Neolithic Soft Wares (c. 6000 BC), then Djeitun wares (sixth millennium BC), Cheshmeh Ali “clinky” wares (c. 5300–4300? BC), and finally Hissar IA wares."

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