MORPHOLOGY OF ANCIENT POTTERIES USING X-RAY DIFFRACTION ANALYSIS AND X-RAY FLUORESCENCE IN SISTAN PLAIN, EASTERN IRAN
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AbstractSistan plain, located in the north of Sistan and Baluchestan province, is one of the most significant cultural area in eastern Iran. This region is located between south Asia (Indus valley) and Western Asia (Mesopotamia) and also has been a connector between cultures of Central Asia and South of Persian Gulf area. Sistan was the main area to connecting between west and south Asia. Much of the cultural items found in the site under exploration were huge bulk of diverse pottery. Most pieces of pottery found in the Sistan plain were of the pottery belonging to Shahr-e Sukhteh, and its villages dating back to the third millennium BC, Dahane Gholaman of the Achaemenid period 550 BC and a large number of sites belonging to the Islamic period, which vary in term of the colour ranging from buff, gray, black and red and in terms of thickness. This study aims to determine the morphological relations of the pottery of Sistan plain using semi-quantitative X-ray diffraction (XRD) and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) methods. In this regard, 52 pieces of pottery from prehistoric, historic and Islamic eras, which were collected from archaeological surveys, were analysed. The samples were gathered from Gerdi domain, Dahaneh Gholaman, Shahr-e Sukhteh, south of the Hamoun Lake, Rostam castle and around the Shileh River. The instrumentation and cluster analysis of pottery sherds indicated that the prehistoric pottery pieces of Sistan plain have a different composition compared with that of Sistan area. Moreover, the glazed pottery pieces of the Islamic era are different from those of Sistan plain in terms of their chemical and have silica compounds, gypsum and aluminosilicate, which indicates the continuity of local technology, production and trade in Sistan to the Islamic period. In addition, the composition and structure of pottery in this region accounts for the high level of skills and knowledge of potters, who made a variety of pottery pieces with diverse applications in the local communities, which continued from prehistory to the Islamic era in this plain.