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Nakhchivan Tepe — located at the right bank of Naxçıvançay.[1]

Nakhchivan Tepe
Naxçıvan Təpə (Azerbaijan)
Nakchivan 1.jpg
Nakhchivan tepe settlement
Nakhchivan Tepe is located in Azerbaijan
Nakhchivan Tepe
Shown within Azerbaijan
Coordinates39°10′53.7″N 45°25′54.1″E / 39.181583°N 45.431694°E / 39.181583; 45.431694
PeriodsEneolithic Period
CulturesAncient Turks
Site notes
Excavation dates2017
ArchaeologistsVali Bakshaliyev
OwnershipAgriculture and Livestock


Nakhchivan Tepe settlement situated in the territory of Naxçıvan city. Archaeological research in Nakhchivan Tepe began in 2017 under direction Veli Bakhshaliyev by team Nakhchivan Branch Azerbaijani National Academy of Sciences. Existence of connections between the cultures of South Caucasus and those of the Middle East (including Mesopotamia) has drawn the attention of researchers for many years. Researchers such as R.M. Munchayev,[2] O.A. Abibullayev,[3] I.G. Narimanov,[4] T.I. Akhundov [5] and others spoke about the spread and distribution of cultures of from Middle East in South Caucasus. Although the existence of these connections was sometimes demonstrated by single finds, now however these connections are demonstrated by a complex of archaeological materials. One such monument is the settlement of Nakhchivan Tepe which is characterized by Dalma Tepe ceramics. We consider that is necessary to introduce to the scientific community the fact that this cultural assemblage has been revealed for the first time in the South Caucasus, and also to define its place among the other Caucasian cultures. On the basis of these explorations, it is possible to say that the first settlers of Nakhchivan Tepe used semi-dugout rooms, partly dug into the ground, and partly constructed from mud bricks. Rooms of this kind have also been uncovered in excavation of the settlement Ovçular Tepesi and Yeni Yol. Although abundant accumulations of ash were discovered, the remains of charcoal were found very seldom. This demonstrates that wood was used very seldom as a fuel. A majority of archaeological materials from the site are pottery and chips of obsidian. Tools were also fund in a small quantity. Grinding stone are represented by one example. Flint products also are represented by one copy. Tools made of bone are represented by one copy. Among tools in genera., the majority are obsidian. Among the obsidian products, there are a few blades for sickles, which give some information on the character of the economy.The pottery is generally characteristic of the first half of the V millennium BC.


The pottery is generally characterized by Dalma Tepe painted and impressed ceramics. Excluding single finds, an entire complex of such ceramics had not been revealed in the South Caucasus. Therefore, the pottery of the settlement of Nakhchivan Tepe has important value for studying the Chalcolithic Age culture of the South Caucasus, including Azerbaijan. The ceramics can be divided into two periods, based on the stratigraphy of the settlement. However it should be noted that the two groups coincide to a certain degree in terms of the technology of production and ornamentation. The ceramics were mainly produced by the coil method, and the application of two layers of potter's clay to each other. The surfaces of some vessels were covered with a thin layer of clay. The research demonstrates that this was done in some cases to change the color, and in others, for ornament purposes. It is also possible to discuss the products ornamented with finger impressions, which are sometimes are executed inaccurately and mixed together. The study demonstrates that the finger impressions remained after being stuck in the thin upper clay layer. We think that some researchers were right to connect Dalma Tepe ceramics with these ethnographic features. This method of coating was also used in the restoration and repair of ceramics. The pottery is generally made with chaff inclusions, and fired to different shades of red. Pottery with sand inclusion is represented by a single copy. Gray wares are also represented by a single piece. The pottery from the top horizon belongs to the first period. As has already been described, this horizon is characterized by rectangular architecture. The ceramic products of this horizon can be divided into six group. The first group is composed of plain pottery; the second group includes painted ceramics; the third group is the pottery painted in red without ornament; the fourth is ceramics with impressed ornament including fingertip impressions; the fifth group includes pottery decorated with a stamp from the edge of a tool; and the sixth group is that pottery decorated with edge ornament in the form of horizontal strips. The study of bones of animals from this settlement has shown that the residents were generally were engaged in cattle and small cattle breeding.[6] Hunting took an the insignificant place in the economy. Bones of horses and dogs are represented by single examples. The botanical remains have so far been absent. The fact is that in the settlement layers, the remains of charcoal are insignificant. And washing the ashy remains from the various hearth hasn’t yielded results yet. We hope that this type of research in the future will reveal information on the part of economy of ancient settlers to Nakhchivan Tepe. The pottery of the settlement of Nakhchivan Tepe can be dated the first half of the V millennium BC.[7] The analysis of coal from the lower horizon has shown 4945 BC.[8] As at the valley Nakhchivançay and Sirabçay, in 2010-2016 new monuments of Chalcolithic Age have been reported.[9] The settlement of Nakhchivan Tepe together with other settlements of the valley Nakhchivançay and Sirabçay allow us to specify a periodization the Chalcolithic Age monuments of South Caucasus including Azerbaijan. At the same time, the ceramic complex of the settlement Nakhchivan Tepe, which almost repeats that of Dalma Tepe, draws attention. The painted ceramics of the Dalma Tepe type are known from the settlement of Uzun Oba and Uçan Ağıl. Impressed ceramics have been attested at the settlement Uçan Ağıl, by a single copy. In other settlements, this has not yet been discovered. Similar ceramics have been found in isolated copies also in monuments of Karabakh. Research demonstrates that that in the monuments located on the basin of the lake of Urmia generally use the Syunik obsidian.[10] Among the the settlements of Nakhchivan, they generally used Gekche obsidian, from the lake basin in present-day Sevan. In spite of the fact that Syunik is closer to Nakhchivan than Gekçe, in Nakhichevan’s monuments the Syunik obsidian isn't as common, and by percent is in the second place. Apparently, the tribe occupying the Lake Urmia basin had communications with the obsidian deposits of the Zangezur Mountains by means of the tribes of Nakhchivan. It should be noted that recently, one stone hammer was found in the Nakhchivançay valley, with remains of copper ore on it, which demonstrates that the connections between these tribes with Zangezur Mountain were not caused not only deposits of obsidian, but also by copper deposits. As is well-known, Dalma Tepe ceramics were explored for the first time at the settlement of the same name, at Charles Burney’s excavation in 1959, and then also in 1961 to Cuyler Young.[11] Other similar ceramics have been uncovered from the settlements of Hasanlu, Haji-Firuz[12] and Tepe Seavan.[13] The Dalma Tepe have been found, in the territory of Iran and Iraq, together with typical Halaf and Obeid ceramics. Similar ceramics were discovered on a survey of Zagros Mountains monuments, such as settlements of the Kangavar valley like Seh Gabi B and Godin Tepe, where Dalma Tepe period layers were found. Numerous Dalma Tepe ceramics were also found at the Mahidasht valley, among the surface materials of 16 settlements. Among these monuments is the Tepa Siahbid settlement as well as Choga Maran, which was investigated by a sounding, and Tepe Kuh,[14] investigated by survey. Among superficial material at Tepe Kuh, ceramics like those from Dalma Tepe prevailed. Similar ceramics have also ben found in Iraq at the settlement of Jebel, Kerkuk , Tell Abad, Kheit Qasim and Yorgan Tepe. It should be noted that such ceramics also prevailed in the Kangavar valley, but that in the Mahidasht valley, the percent of Dalma Tepe ceramics decreased very sharply. Whereaas in the Kangavar valley these ceramics comprised 68%, and Mahidasht the number was 24%.[15] The research shows that this type of ceramics lessened to the south. Although it had earlier been assumed that the similar ceramics were widespread to the South and the West of the Urmia basin, now we understand that similar ceramics were also present in the north of Lake Urmia, and now in Nakhchivan. In the territory of Iranian Azerbaijan, this culture is also revealed from the settlement at Culfa Kültepe, Ahranjan Tepe, Lavin Tepe, Ghosha Tepe, Idir Tepa and Baruj Tepe. Now similar ceramics have been discovered in the territory of Southern Azerbaijan at more than 100 monuments. Some of these settlements belonged to settled population, while others to tribes living a nomadic way of life.[16] According to researchers, this culture blossomed in North Western Iran, and extended from here to the South and the West of Urmia basin. Chemical analysis of Dalma Tepe ceramics has shown that they were the product of local manufacture. Thus it can be concluded that the area of formation and distribution of Dalma Tepe culture included Nakhchivan's territories. Undoubtedly, subsequent studies will clarify some questions of the nature of the mutual ties between the tribes of the basin of Urmia and Nakhchivan. We think that the issues related to the birthplace of Dalma Tepe culture will also be clarified. The pottery is painted and impressed ceramics. Excluding single finds, an entire complex of such ceramics had not been revealed in the South Caucasus. Therefore, the pottery of the settlement of Nakhchivan Tepe has important value for studying the Chalcolithic Age culture of the South Caucasus, including Azerbaijan.


  1. Vəli Baxşəliyev, Zeynəb Quliyeva, Turan Həşimova, Kamran Mehbaliyev, Elmar Baxşəliyev. Naxçivan təpə yaşayiş yerində arxeoloji tədqiqatlar. Naxçıvan, Əcəmi, 2018, 266 s.
  2. Мунчаев Р.М., Амиров Ш.Н. Взаимосвязи Кавказа и Месопотамии в VI-IV тыс. до н.э. Международная научная конференция, 11-12 сентября 2008, Баку: Чашыоглы, 2009, с.41-52.
  3. Абибуллаев О.А. Энеолит и бронза на территории Нахичеванской АССР. Баку: Элм, 1982, c. 72.
  4. Нариманов И.Г. Обеидские племена Месопотамии в Азербайджане. Тезисы Всесоюзной археологической конференции. Баку, 1985, c. 271-277.
  5. Achundov T. Sites des migrants venus du Proche-Orient en Transcaucasie, in Les cultures du Caucase (VIe - IIIe millénaires avant notre ère). Leurs relations avec le Proche Orient, B. Lyonnet ed., Éditions Re-cherche sur les Civilisations, CNRS Éditions: Paris, 2007, p. 95-122.
  6. The Faunal remains are investigated by Remy Berthon.
  7. Charcoal is analyzed on laboratory of the city Lesse of Italy.
  8. This work was supported by the Science Development Foundation under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan - Grant № EİF-KETPL-2-2015-1(25)-56/47/5.
  9. Бахшалиев В.Б новые энеолитические памятники на территории нахчывана// Российская археология, 2014, № 2, c. 88-95; Бахшалиев В.Б. Новые материалы эпохи неолита и энеолита на территории Нахчывана // Российская археология, 2015, № 2, с. 136-145
  10. Khademi N., F., Abedi A., Glascock M. D., Eskandari N. and Khazaee M. Provenance of prehistoric obsidian artifacts from Kul Tepe, Northwestern Iran using X-ray fluorescence (XRF) analysis // Journal of Archaeological Science, 2013, 40. P.1956-1965.
  11. Hamlin C. Dalma Tepe, Iran, 13, 1975, pp. 111–127.
  12. Voigt M.M. Hajji Firuz Tepe, Iran: The Neolithic Settlement. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1983, p. 20.
  13. Solecki R. L. and Solecki R. S. Tepe Sevan: A Dalma period site in the Margavar valley, Azerbaijan, Iran, Bulletin of the Asia Institute of Pahlavi University, 3, 1973, pp. 98–117.
  14. This settlement some researchers it is called as Pushti Kuh (Henrickson, 1983, p. 436) or Kuhi Sefid (Henrickson and Vanda, 1987, s. 38)
  15. Henrickson. E. F. and Vitali. V. The Dalma Tradition: Prehistoric Inter-Regional Cultural Integration Highland Western Iran, Paleorient, Vol. 13, № 2, 1987, pp. 37-45.
  16. Abedi A. Iranian Azerbaijan Pathway From The Zagros To The Caucasus, Anatolia And Northern Mesopotamia: Dava Göz, A New Neolithic And Chalcolithic Site In NW Iran. Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry, Vol. 17, № 1 (2017) pp. 69-87.