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Socio-Economic Transformations in the Tehran Plain

A research project of the Department of Archaeology.


Motivated by the destruction of sites in the Tehran plain, the Universities of Tehran, Durham, Leicester and Bradford, and the Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organisation (ICHTO) developed a study of settlement from the beginning of the Holocene to the end of the Chalcolithic.

With funding from The British Academy, the British Institute of Persian Studies and the ICHTO, we have focused on the transformation of simple, egalitarian Neolithic communities into hierarchical ones (c. 6200–3000 BC) with settlement survey, and excavations at Cheshmeh Ali and Tepe Pardis allowing us to model the growth of specialisation, standardisation and networks of exchange.


The project is funded by the following grant.

Socio-economic Transformations (£30077.72 from The British Academy)

Photograph of the excavation of a trench in progress

Published Results

Journal Articles

  • Marghussian, A.K., Coningham, R.A.E. & Fazeli, H. (2017). The Evolution of Pottery Production during the Late Neolithic Period at Sialk on the Kashan Plain, Central Plateau of Iran. Archaeometry 59(2): 222-238.

  • Mayyas, A., Stern, B., Gillmore, G., Coningham, R.A.E. & Fazeli Nashli, H. (2013). Beeswax preserved in a Late Chalcolithic Bevelled-Rim Bowl from the Tehran Plain, Iran. Iran 48: 13-25.

  • Fazeli, Nashali H., Vidale, M., Guida, G. & Coningham, R.A.E. (2010). The evolution of ceramic manufacturing technology during the Late Neolithic and Transitional Chalcolithic periods at Tepe Pardis, Iran. Archaologische Mitteilungen aus Iran und Turan 42: 87-112.

  • Gillmore, G.K., Coningham, R.A.E., Fazeli, H., Young, R.L., Magshoudi, M., Batt, C.M. & Rushworth, G. (2009). Irrigation on the Tehran Plain, Iran: Tepe Pardis - the site of a possible Neolithic irrigation feature?. Catena 78(3): 285-300.

  • Fazeli H., Coningham R.A.E. & Batt C.M. (2004). Cheshmeh-Ali Revisited: Towards an Absolute Dating of the Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic of Iran's Tehran Plain. Iran 42: 13-23.

  • Coningham R.A.E., Fazeli H., Young R.L. & Donahue R.E. (2004). Location, Location, Location: A Pilot Study of the Tehran Plain 2003. Iran 42: 1-12.

  • Fazeli H., Donahue R.E. & Coningham R.A.E. (2002). Stone Tool Production, Distribution and Use During the Late Neolithic and Early Chalcolithic on the Tehran Plain, Iran. Iran 40: 1-14.

  • Fazeli H., Coningham R.A.E. & Pollard A.M. (2001). Chemical Characteristics of Late Neolithic and Chalcolithic Pottery from the Tehran Plain, Iran. Iran 39: 55-71.


  • Manuel, M.J., Coningham, R.A.E., Gillmore, G. & Fazeli, H. (2014). Societal change and sustainability within the Central Plateau of Iran: an archaeological viewpoint. In Sustainable Development: an appraisal from the Gulf Region. Sillitoe, P. Berghahn. 38-61.

  • Fazeli, H., Coningham, R.A.E., Marghussian, A., Manuel, M.J., Azizi, H. & Pollard, A.M. (2013). Mapping the Neolithic occupation of the Kashan, Tehran and Qazvin Plains. In The Neolithisation of Iran: the formation of new societies. Matthews, R. & Fazeli, H. Oxford: Oxbow Books. 114-135.

  • Coningham, R.A.E. & Tremblay, J. (2013). Re-discovering Lumbini: Archaeology and Site Interpretation. In The Sacred Garden of Lumbini: Perceptions of Buddha's Birthplace. Weise, K. UNESCO. 61-95.

  • Kourampas, N., Simpson, I.A., Fazeli, H., Coningham, R.A.E. & Manuel, M.J. (2013). Sediments, soils and livelihood in a Late Neolithic village on the Iranian Plateau. In The Neolithisation of Iran: the formation of new societies. Matthews, R. & Fazeli, H. Oxford: Oxbow Books. 178-189.

  • Gillmore, G.K., Stevens, T. Buylaert, J.P. Coningham, R.A.E., Batt, C. Fazeli, H. Young, R. & Maghsoudi, M. (2011). Geoarchaeology and the value of multidisciplinary palaeo-environmental approaches: a case study from the Tehran Plain, Iran. In Human Interactions with the Geosphere: The Geoarchaeological Perspective. Wilson, L. The Geological Society of London. 352: 49-67.


From the Department of Archaeology