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Department of Archaeology


Publication details for UNESCO Professor Robin Coningham

Gillmore, G.K., Coningham, R.A.E., Fazeli, H., Young, R.L., Magshoudi, M., Batt, C.M. & Rushworth, G. (2009). Irrigation on the Tehran Plain, Iran: Tepe Pardis - the site of a possible Neolithic irrigation feature? Catena 78(3): 285-300.

Author(s) from Durham


This paper presents direct evidence in the form of a triangular cross-section channel (1 m in width and 0.24 m in depth), for Late Neolithic artificial water management on the Tehran Plain, which may represent the earliest example of artificial water management in Iran. The antiquity of this channel is supported by dating directly above and below by C14, associated ceramic sherds and correlation with Late Neolithic levels. The nature and function of this channel is evaluated through comparisons with natural channels (ancient and modern) together with evidence from palynology and sedimentology. It is here interpreted as a silted-up artificial canal with infill-deposits that indicate periods of shallow relatively quiet flow, periods of drying-out and occasional episodes of greater flow. This study strongly suggests that 6th millennium farmers at Tepe Pardis in Iran were irrigating their crops, and complements the evidence from Choga Mami in Iraq concerning early irrigation systems.