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Chogha Mish Fauna

Zooarchaeological observations from Prehistoric and Achaemenid levels at Chogha Mish, Iran.

Project Abstract

This project uses the publicly available dataset of over 30,000 animal bone specimens from excavations at Chogha Mish, Iran during the 1960s and 1970s.

The specimens were identified by Jane Wheeler in the 1960s and though she never analyzed the data or produced a report, her identifications were saved and later transferred to punch cards and then to Excel. This 'orphan' dataset was made available on the web in 2008 by Abbas Alizadeh (University of Chicago) at the time of his publication of Chogha Mish, Volume II.

The site of Chogha Mish spans the time period from Archaic through Elamite periods, with also later Achaemenid occupation. These phases subdived further into several subphases, and some of those chronological divisions are also represented in this dataset. Thus the timespan present begins at the mid-seventh millennium and continues into the third millennium B.C.E. In terms of cultural development in the region, these periods are key, spanning the later Neolithc (after the period of caprid and cattle domestication, but possibly during the eras in which pigs and horses were domesticated) through the development of truly settled life, cities, supra-regional trade and even the early empires or state societies of Mesopotamia and Iran. Therefore potential questions of relevance to address with this data collection are as follows:

  1. The extent to which domesticated animals were utilized, and how/whether this changed over time
  2. The development of centralized places
  3. Increasing economic specialization
  4. General changes in subsistence economy
  5. The development of social complexity/stratification.

Publication of this dataset accompanied a study of data-sharing needs in zooarchaeology. Preliminary results of this study were presented as a poster titled: "Other People's Data: Blind Analysis and Report Writing as a Demonstration of the Imperative of Data Publication". The poster was presented at the 11th ICAZ International Conference of ICAZ (International Council for Archaeozoology), in Paris (August 2010), in Session 2-4, "Archaeozoology in a Digital World : New Approaches to Communication and Collaboration". The poster presented at this conference accompanies this project.

Note: Open Context editors assigned date ranges for the different stratigraphic phases contained in this dataset based on Alizadeh (2008:Table 1). The data published these data following an editorial process described in this document.


Lev-Tov, Justin, Sarah W. Kansa, Levent Atici, and Jane C. Wheeler

New Light on Faunal Remain from Chogha Mish, Iran. In J. Lev-Tov, P. Hesse, and A. Gilbert (eds.), The Wide Lense in Archaeology: Honoring Brian Hesse's Contributions to Anthropological Archaeology. Atlanta, GA: Lockwood Press. Pp. 443-475.

Atici, Levent, Sarah Kansa, Justin Lev-Tov, and Eric Kansa

Other People's Data: A Demonstration of the Imperative of Publishing Primary Data. Journal of Archaeological Method and Theory1(3): 1-19.

Alizadeh, Abbas

Chogha Mish II: The Development of a Prehistoric Regional Center in Lowland Susiana, Southwestern Iran. The University of Chicago, Oriental Insitute. Oriental Institute Publication Vol. 130. Chicago.
Suggested Citation

Levent Atici, Sarah W. Kansa, Justin SE. Lev-Tov. (2010) "Chogha Mish Fauna". Released: 2010-08-24. Open Context. <> DOI: ARK (Archive):

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