Ali Kosh

Ali Kosh south section

Map of the Deh Luran Plain

ALI KOSH, Iran Frank Hole, Yale University  Frank.hole@yale.edu Ali Kosh is a small tell on the semi-arid Deh Luran plain of Southwestern Iran, near a seasonal marsh.  Excavated by Frank Hole and Kent Flannery in 1961 and 1963, the site holds evidence for early agriculture and animal husbandry.  With the use of flotation (water separation) of site sediments, excavators recovered thousands of charred seeds of local wild vegetation and domesticated species.  Hans Helbaek, a Danish botanist, examined the seeds recovered from the three distinct phases of occupation at the site.  At the time these were both the most abundant and oldest evidence of agriculture in the Near East, although domestication elsewhere is now known to have preceded its appearance at Ali Kosh.  The botanical sequence from Ali Kosh was augmented by later prehistoric phases at Tepe Sabz, excavated by James Neely.  Together the evidence spanned some thousand years of agricultural innovation and intensification. The sequence in Ali Kosh started with the Bus Mordeh Phase, followed by the Ali Kosh and Mohammed Jaffar Phases.  In Tepe Sabz the sequence continued with the Sabz, Mehmeh and Bayat Phases.  The interpretation of the plant remains led to the recognition of a temporal gap between Ali Kosh and Tepe Sabz, which was later filled through the excavation of Chagha Sefid, by Frank Hole.

In addition to information on agriculture and the gathering of wild plants, the sites contained abundant evidence of developing livestock management.

The Museum of Anthropology at the University of Michigan also has a webpage dedicated to the Deh Luran Project, which may be useful for researchers interested in this topic.

Tepe Sabz west section

Site Phases Date (BC)
Tepe Sabz Bayat
Tepe Sabz Mehmeh
Tepe Sabz Khazineh
Tepe Sabz Sabz
Chagha Sefid Chogha Mami Transitional
Chagha Sefid Surkh
Chagha Sefid Sefid
Chagha Sefid Sabz
Chagha Sefid and Ali Kosh Mohammed Jaffar
Chagha Sefid and Ali Kosh Ali Kosh
Ali Kosh Bus Mordeh

Tepe Sabz Bayat phase plans

Tepe Sabz Mehmeh phase plan

Ali Kosh phase building plan

Ali Kosh – Bus Mordeh phase building plan

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