• Space and society at Bam: An archaeological investigation of Iranian urban space.

      Coningham, Robin A.E.; Hodjat, M.; Karimian, Hassan (University of BradfordDepartment of Archaeological Sciences, 2010-06-18)
      During the 1980s, it was frequently claimed that spatial patterns of archaeological and contemporary settlements were closely related to the social nature of the societies which had created and modelled them (Hietala 1984; Hillier & Hanson 1984). Despite a decade of alternative claims, such theories are still widely accepted although in many cases the emphasis has shifted from economic factors to symbolic or social ones. The presence of a class-based social system is one of the major characteristics of Iranian society during the Sasanian era (224-651 CE). This social system was based upon the official religion of Sasanians - Zoroastrianism - and had a major impact on most aspects of Iranian society during this period. The far-reaching impact of this social system on architectural space and urban infrastructure is clearly representative of a class-based society. The collapse of the Sasanian world, accelerated by Arab invasions (641 CE), severely reduced the dominance of Zoroastrianism within Iran, heralding a fundamental change in the social life of its people. These changes, accompanied by the acceptance of a new religion, have been the focus of several researchers over the last decades (Kennedy 2001). In contrast to Sasanian society, Early Islamic social structure was characterised as one of equality and its urban forms as ones with little differentiation as typified by Medina (Zarrinkub 1993). The aim of this dissertation is to test the above assumptions and models with reference to a single urban site - the city of Barn. Selected due to its Pre-Islamic and Islamic occupations, its excellent state of preservation allows a full testing of the above assumptions through archaeological analysis. The results of this research indicate a continuation of patterns of Sasanian space and society into the Islamic period. In addition, the space and society of Bam, documented in this research, provides an important step towards a further understanding of the social and spatial organisation of Sasanian and Early-Islamic cities, as well as providing a foundation for additional research in this field.