Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Ali Kosh: Agriculture and Domestication

  • Frank HoleEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_2220


Ali Kosh is a small mound on the Deh Luran plain of western Iran, close to the Iraqi border (32033′26 18″ N and 47019′30 11″ E). The site’s prominence owes to its having revealed the first substantial evidence from charred plant remains of early stages of domestication in the Near East. Using the (at the time) new method of flotation, archaeologists recovered tens of thousands of seeds from Ali Kosh (Neolithic) and nearby Tepe Sabz (Chalcolithic), whose analysis by Hans Helbaek, a Danish paleobotanist (Helbaek 1969), showed an evolving competence in agriculture.

Key Issues

Excavated in 1961 and 1963 by Frank Hole and Kent Flannery, Ali Kosh is divided into three phases denoted by changes in plant and animal use, building types, burials, grinding stones, chipped lithics, and other artifacts (Hole et al. 1969; Hole 1977). The Bus Mordeh and Ali Kosh Phases are preceramic, while the Mohammad Jaffar Phase has some of the oldest ceramics in Iran. Radiocarbon dates show that...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyYale UniversityNew HavenUSA