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Ancient Bactra: new elements on the Iron Age occupation of Bactra oasis


The French Archaeological Delegation in Afghanistan (DAFA) has been carrying out research in the Bactra Oasis since 2005 (first, under the direction of R. Besenval and then, under the following directors of the DAFA), shedding new light on the chronology of the area. This paper focuses on the data related to the Iron Age by cross-comparing stratigraphic data and the study of the pottery. Indeed, a thorough examination of the pottery excavated in different parts of the ancient city of Bactra itself indicates an occupation earlier than previously assumed and gives some initial indications about the development of the city. The Bala Hissar seems to have been settled first, during the Early Iron Age (Yaz I period), with a continuous occupation during the pre-Achaemenid period (Yaz II period). The Tepe Zargaran and the Northern Fortification Wall (Rempart Nord) seem to have been occupied from the Achaemenid period (Yaz III period) onwards, which indicates a large extension of the city at this time or the dislocation of the occupied areas, even though the data related to this period is scarce. South of Bactra, another site, Cheshme-Shafa, was likely founded during this period, suggesting a link between the extension of the settled area and the development of military architecture during the Achaemenid period. These initial results help with a further understanding of the settlement pattern in the Bactra Oasis prior to and during the period of Achaemenid occupation in Central Asia.


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hal-03093862 , version 1 (04-01-2021)


  • HAL Id : hal-03093862 , version 1


Johanna Lhuillier, Julio Bendezu-Sarmiento, Philippe Marquis. Ancient Bactra: new elements on the Iron Age occupation of Bactra oasis. Johanna Lhuillier. The Archaeology of Central Asia during the 1st Millennium BC. From the Beginning of the Iron Age to the Hellenistic Period. Proceedings of the Workshop held at the 10th ICAANE in Vienna, April 2016, 18, Austrian Academy of Sciences, pp.33-47, 2021, Oriental and European Archaeology, 978-3-7001-8449-2. ⟨hal-03093862⟩
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