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Department of Archaeology

Current Research Postgraduates

Miss Zahra Afshar

(email at

Research Topic

Mobility and economic transition in the population of the Central Plateau of Iran (5th to the 3rd millennium BC)


Iranian archaeology has so far been preoccupied with unexplained events occurring during the 5th to the 3th millennium BC in the Central Plateau settlements of Iran. These events show changes and transformations as witnessed by excavated archaeological materials, with the introduction of new ceramics and abandonment of some sites. These have been generally attributed to the arrival of new population into the Iranian Central Plateau.
Tepe-Hissar represents one of the largest known urban settlements in the Central Plateau of Iran and was occupied almost immediately following the desertion of the Early Plateau sites. There are lots of discussions about the origin of the earlier population of Tepe-Hissar. Archaeological evidence shows that during the later phases of occupation (2400BC) the people of Tepe-Hissar traded lapis lazuli widely from Badakhshan in Afghanistan through Iran to Mesopotamia. According to the archaeological evidence from Hissar II and III, there was a connection with the west (Giyan V and Susa) as well as with Mesopotamia (Jamdet Nasr and Early Dynastic) in the third millennium BC.
The aim of this project is to investigate the biological relationships, impact of dietary diversity, economic transition and mobility on the inhabitants of the ancient civilization of Tepe-Hissar dated to the mid 5th to early 2nd millennium BC. This will be achieved by using specific analytical methods: skeletal and dental metrical and non-metrical analyses (biological affinity), including measures of stature (biological affinity, stress), and dental enamel hypoplasia (stress, health). This research also aims to go beyond the basic biological data and use stable isotope analyses of carbon and nitrogen to study diet and use oxygen levels to investigate mobility.

Is supervised by

Research Groups

  • Bioarchaeology Research Group