Grounded: A MB Settlement on the Sharur Valley Floor, 2015-2016

Hilary Gopnik, Selin Nugent, Hannah Lau, Lucas Proctor

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


The Naxçivan archaeological project (Emory University and University of Pennsylvania) has undertaken three years of research in the Sharur Valley, Naxçivan , Azerbaijan, funded by two US National Science Foundation research grants (1430403 and 1430404). In the last two years, valley floor excavations revealed an unexpected series of Middle Bronze Age elite structures that challenged the previously well-accepted hypothesis that complex village life had been largely abandoned in the MB period. We propose that in certain well-watered valleys such as the Sharur Valley, populations may have moved from settlements on mounds and hills to the valley floor, perhaps because of a lessening of tensions that required a defensive elevation. These valley floor settlements are very difficult to recover archaeologically because 3,000 years of agricultural activity has tended to destroy them, leaving only the well-known burial mounds on higher noncultivable ridges. What was thought to be a cultural pattern may be a matter of archaeological preservation.
In this paper we present the results of the excavations of MB settlement on the
valley floor as well as of a select group of kurgan burials on the higher ridges
surrounding the valley. In addition to settlement data we present a coordinated
analysis of bioarchaeological data zooarchaeology and paleobotany in order fully to understand the agro-pastoral patterns that may have created this regionally specific settlement system.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2019
EventAIA-SCS Joint Annual Meeting - San Diego, San Diego, United States of America
Duration: 3 Jan 20196 Jan 2019


ConferenceAIA-SCS Joint Annual Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
CitySan Diego


  • Naxcivan
  • Middle Bronze Age

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