Approaches to Social Complexity in Kura-Araxes Culture

Alizadeh, Karim, Hamed Eghbal, and Siavash Samei. 2015. Approaches to Social Complexity in Kura-Araxes Culture: A View from Köhne Shahar (Ravaz) in Chaldran, Iranian Azerbaijan, Paléorient. 41(1),37-54.

Due to increasing investigations and studies of the Kura-Araxes cultural communities, our information about this enigmatic
archaeological culture has increased in many respects. Its interactions and regional variations in terms of cultural materials have been analyzed by many scholars. However, our knowledge about its societal variations is still very limited. We do not yet know much about social dynamics behind its material culture that spread out through vast regions in the Caucasus and the Near East. Indeed, there are some fundamental questions about the Kura-Araxes cultural communities that need further investigation. To address these questions, we focus on data collected from Köhne Shahar, a Kura-Araxes site in the Chaldran area of the Iranian Azerbaijan. We concentrate on two major features of the site that we have explored during the past three years: the fortification wall and the stratigraphy. Analysis of the site’s large fortification wall suggests that external threat and conflict could have played a role in the development of political complexity at Köhne Shahar. We further argue that there is a great potential at Köhne Shahar for addressing social complexity and suggest that further investigations at the site may shed more light on social dynamics in the Kura-Araxes cultural communities.