Landscape change and settlement dynamics in Prehistory and Late Antiquity in the Firuzabad plain (South Fars, Iran); a preliminary consideration - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports Year : 2023

Landscape change and settlement dynamics in Prehistory and Late Antiquity in the Firuzabad plain (South Fars, Iran); a preliminary consideration

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Abstract

The Firuzabad Plain in south Fars (Iran) is well known due to the circular city of Ardashir-Xurra, the first Sasanian (220 – 651 CE) capital, built by Ardashir Papakan around 220 CE, but its landscape evolution is not. Firuzabad is a relatively large and well-watered intermediate plain in the Zagros folded belt, about 80 km south of Shiraz. The archaeological record suggests a thin and sporadic prehistoric occupation compared to a dense and planned occupation with extensive land use in Later Antiquity. Historical accounts suggest a drastic and anthropogenically triggered landscape change in the third century CE, during the city’s foundation, including draining the swamps and changing the course of the main river to make the supposedly unhabitable wetlands of Firuzabad into a flourishing plain with a perfectly planned circular city. Such large-scale projects are known from other areas as part of the early Sasanian Iranshahr concept and have been historically discussed. However, their proposed landscape change has never been investigated using interdisciplinary methods to support or falsify this narrative. Therefore, the Firuzabad Plain has been subjected to a recent interdisciplinary project to comprehend its landscape evolution from Prehistory to Late Antiquity and address this issue with geoarchaeological data. This paper reports the preliminary results of this project and discusses future steps to address the proposed wetlands of Firuzabad. The authors present the area in geomorphological and archaeological terms and elaborate on geoarchaeological analyses, including surface and sub-surface soil and sediment texture, organic matter, slope, and elevation of the plain, as well as integrated archaeological and historical investigation. Based on these results, the landscape of Firuzabad seems to have changed from its original state of a heterogeneous, poorly drained, and highly eroded plain in Prehistory into a mosaic of well-planned and extensively used anthropogenic landscapes in Late Antiquity. Independent comparisons with regional paleoenvironmental records support those interpretations. This is considered a case study for investigating long-term human-environment interactionwithin the framework of Niche Construction Theory in the archaeology of the Ancient Near East
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Dates and versions

hal-03924570 , version 1 (05-01-2023)

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Elnaz Rashidian, Morteza Djamali. Landscape change and settlement dynamics in Prehistory and Late Antiquity in the Firuzabad plain (South Fars, Iran); a preliminary consideration. Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, 2023, 47, pp.103805. ⟨10.1016/j.jasrep.2022.103805⟩. ⟨hal-03924570⟩
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