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Archaeo News 

7 November 2011
Ancient 'takeout' window discovered in Iran

Some 5,200 years ago, in the mountains of western Iran, people may have used takeout windows to get food and weapons, newly presented research suggests. The find was made at Godin Tepe, a site that was excavated in the 1960s and 1970s by a team led by T. Cuyler Young Jr., a curator at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada, who died in 2006. The takeout window idea was first proposed by Young and is based mainly on the windows' height and location beside the central courtyard.
     A group of researchers later took up Young's work, and recently published the results of the excavation, along with more recent research on the artefacts, in the book 'On the High Road: The History of Godin Tepe'.
     Godin Tepe started out as a simple settlement. "For about 1000 years the mound was occupied by a small village of farmers and shepherds," said Hilary Gopnik of Emory University. "Sometime in about 3,200 BCE somebody razed those houses and built this oval enclosure." The mud-brick structure had a central courtyard surrounded by buildings, including one particularly prominent structure with two windows "The windows and the walls of the main building are very unusual for architecture of this period," says Gopnik. "As far as I know, that is the only example of those odd, framing windows. We don't usually find windows at all," in the Middle East.
     Inside the building, researchers discovered beveled-rimmed bowls (a pot type found throughout the Middle East), food remains, a fireplace, and 1,759 sun-dried clay bullets for slings - weapons used for hunting and warfare. Clay tablets were also found within the structure. A wide variety of food remains have been found at Godin Tepe. "There [were] lentils, there was goat bone, sheep bone, there was also beer and wine," Gopnik said.
     Virginia Badler, a doctoral student of Young's who contributed to the book, suggests soldiers were the main patrons. Mesopotamian rulers had problems protecting trade caravans at the time, and weapons, including a spear point and a mace head, were also found at Godin. She said that when ancient military sites were abandoned in Mesopotamia, clay sling bullets were often left behind. The compound was abandoned and partially burned in about 3,000 BCE.
     Badler also suggests that the beveled-rim bowls found there may have been used for water rations. "There's no reason to have that bevelling except that it's a wonderful place to put your lip when you drink out of it," Badler said. A few of the bowls were also lined with bitumen, a substance used for waterproofing.

Edited from LiveScience (28 October 2011)

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