The position of Bampūr near a river and major routes explains the presence there of prehistoric and later settlements at the foot of a fortress on a high mound. While the mound has not been excavated, Sir Aurel Stein carried out sondages nearby during reconnaissance in the Bampūr valley in 1932 (1937, pp. 104-31). In 1966 Beatrice de Cardi initiated further excavations to establish a ceramic sequence for the region, trenches Y and Z producing consistent results within six successive occupational phases designated Periods I-VI (de Cardi, 1967; 1968; 1970).
The earliest occupation contained no material like that known farther west at Čāh-Ḥosaynī or Yaḥyā V a-c (Lamberg-Karlovsky, 1970, p. 95). While its absence does not preclude such deposits elsewhere on the site, no firm date was assigned to Period I, though links with Yaḥyā IVC suggest a settlement existed by the late 4th millennium (Lamberg-Karlovsky, 1972, p. 97). The range of gray and cream-slipped wheel-made wares and associated objects from the mud-brick building comprising Bampūr I-IV reflected strong ties with the Helmand culture as exemplified at Shahr-i Sokhta (Šahr-e Sūḵta) from late II-III and in Mundigak IV 1-2 (Tosi, 1970, p. 13; 1974, p. 32) and is of relevance to the concept of interaction spheres in and around the Indo-Iranian borderlands (Lamberg-Karlovsky, 1972, p. 99).
New ceramics appeared at the end of Bampūr IV, suggesting contact with Fārs, Makrān, and Oman. Buff and red-slipped wares became dominant in Periods V-VI, when streak-burnished, black-on-gray and incised gray wares like those in Shahr-i Sokhta IV (ca. 2200-1800 b.c.) were introduced. Both gray wares occur also in collective burials of the Umm an-Nar (Omm al-Nār) culture of Oman (cf. de Cardi, 1970, figs. 38 and 42; During Caspers, 1970, figs. 45-46, pp. 319-25; de Cardi et al., 1976, figs. 15 and 17, pp. 118-23), and though few of them can be closely dated Hili North Tomb A is ascribed to the last quarter of the 3rd millennium (Cleuziou and Vogt, 1983, p. 43).
While the evidence from Sīstān and Oman points to a terminal date for Bampūr VI in the late 3rd millennium, radiocarbon determinations for Yaḥyā IVB (Lamberg-Karlovsky, 1971, p. 94) suggest an earlier dating and the matter remains unresolved.
R. Biscione, “The Burnt Building of Period Shahr-i Sokhta IV. An Attempt of Functional Analysis from the Distribution of Pottery Types,” in G. Gnoli and A. V. Rossi, eds., Iranica, Naples, 1979, pp. 291-306.
S. Cleuziou and B. Vogt, “Umm an Nar Burial Customs. New Evidence from Tomb A at Hili North ”, Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 13, London, 1983, pp. 37-52.
B. de Cardi, “The Bampur Sequence in the Third Millennium B.C.,” Antiquity 41, 1967, pp. 33-41.
Idem, “Excavations at Bampur, South-East Iran: A Brief Report,” Iran 6, 1968, pp. 135-55.
Idem, “Excavations at Bampur, a Third Millennium Settlement in Persian Baluchistan, 1966,” Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History, New York 51/3, 1970, pp. 233-355.
B. de Cardi, S. Collier, and D. B. Doe, “Excavations and Survey in Oman,” Journal of Oman Studies 2, Oman, 1976, pp. 101-75.
E. C. L. During Caspers, “A Note on the Carved Stone Vases and Incised Grey-ware,” apud de Cardi, 1970, pp. 319-25.
C. C. Lamberg-Karlovsky, “Excavations at Tepe Yahya, Iran, 1967-1969, Progress Report 1,” Bulletin of the American School of Prehistoric Research 27, Peabody Museum, Harvard University, 1970, pp. 1-134.
Idem, “Tepe Yahya 1971 Mesopotamia and the Indo-Iranian Borderlands,” Iran 10, 1972, pp. 89-100.
C. C. Lamberg-Karlovsky and D. Schmandt-Besserat, “An Evaluation of the Bampur, Khurab and Chah Husseini Collections in the Peabody Museum and Relations with Tepe Yahya,” Bibliotheca Mesopotamica 7, Malibu, 1977, pp. 113-34.
C. C. Lamberg-Karlovsky and M. Tosi, “Shahr-i Sokhta and Tepe Yahya: Tracks on the Earliest History of the Iranian Plateau,” East and West, N.S. 23/1-2, 1973, pp. 21-53.
Sir Aurel Stein, Archaeological Reconnaissances in North-Western India and South-Eastern Iran, London, 1937.
M. Tosi, “Excavations at Shahr-i Sokhta, a Chalcolithic Settlement in the Iranian Sistan: Preliminary Report on the First Campaign, October-December 1967,” East and West, N.S. 18/1-2, 1968, pp. 9-66.
Idem, “Excavations at Shahr-i Sokhta. Preliminary Report on the Second Campaign, September-December 1968,” East and West, N.S. 19/3-4, 1969, pp. 283-386.
Idem, “A Tomb from Damin and the Problem of the Bampur Sequence in the Third Millennium B.C.,” East and West, N.S. 20/1-2, 1970, pp. 9-50.
Idem, “Bampur: A Problem of Isolation,” East and West, N.S. 24/1-2, 1974, pp. 29-49.
Idem, “The Dating of the Umm an-Nar Culture and a Proposed Sequence for Oman in the Third Millennium B.C.,” Journal of Oman Studies 2, Oman, 1976, pp. 81-92.
(B. de Cardi)
Bampūr, a baḵš and qaṣaba (borough) in the šahrestān of Īrānšahr in the province of Balūčestān o Sīstān, bounded by the baḵšes of Bazmān to the north, Sarbāz to the east, Nīkšahr and Qaṣr-e Qand to the south, and Kahnūj (šahrestān of Jīroft) to the west. The plain of Bampūr is encircled by several high mountains: Jebāl-e Bārez and Kūh-e Bazmān to the north, the mountains of Bašākerd, Fannūj, and Čāmp to the south, the mountains of Esfandeqa to the west, and Zardkūh, Espīdān, and Sīāhband to the east. For this reason the spring floods flow through riverbeds that are dry or almost dry during the rest of the year (e.g., Šahābrūd, Kūskīnrūd, and the Kahūr and Lāšār rivers) onto the plain of Bampūr. The Bampūr river, originating in the northeastern mountains of Īrānšahr, is fed by the Konārakī, Dāmen, and Kārvāndar rivers and waters most of the arable land of Bampūr before flowing into the Hāmūn-e Jāz-e Mūrīān 50 km to the west. The river is never dry and other streams that flow underground in sandy terrain also feed it. Earthen dams divide the Bampūr into eight branches, which permit irrigation of 12 villages (1,300 ha). Arable land that lies too far from the river is irrigated by qanāts and, more recently, deep wells. Modern agricultural technology, like machinery and chemical fertilizers, has been little exploited in this district, and production is therefore lower than in comparable areas in central and southern Iran. Thanks, however, to plentiful and relatively good water and mild weather, the plain of Bampūr is one of the most productive agricultural regions of Baluchistan. The main products are wheat, barley, corn, and dates (which are not exported because packing facilities are lacking). The land is partly state-owned and partly belongs to small landowners. In the 1960s state land yielded about 1,500 tons of wheat and 600 tons of corn yearly, most of which was exported across the southeastern borders of Iran (Nāṣeḥ, p. 166). Owing to good pastureland in the valleys around Bampūr, dairy products are also important. In 1336 Š./1957, 2,000 cows, 6,000 sheep, 4,000 camels, and 400 donkeys were counted in the area (ibid., p. 162), in 1360 Š./1981, 1,180 cows and calves and 34,280 sheep, goats, and kids (Āmārgīrī-e Rūstāʾī-e Jehād-e Sāzandagī, year 1360 Š./1981-82).
The baḵš of Bampūr is divided into two sections: the mountainous area, including the dehestān of Čānf, which is situated in the valleys of the Āhūrān range, and the plain including the dehestāns of Ḥūma and Maskūtān. The lowest point in the plain lies 900 m above sea level; the highest mountain peak is the volcanic Kūh-e Bazmān (2,500 m).
Bampūr, like other baḵšes of the province, has a mild and relatively humid climate. In June and July the temperature often rises to 48°C; in winter it falls to 2°C. Annual rainfall in the center of the baḵš is about 120 mm (Našrīya-ye Dāʾera-ye Joḡrāfīāʾī-e Setād-e Arteš-e Jomhūrī-e Eslāmī-e Īrān. Ostān-e Sīstān o Balūčestān, Tehran, 1364 Š./1985, p. 12). Until a few years ago the entire population of Bampūr retreated to ḵārḵānas (q.v.) in the hot season, and most inhabitants still do.
The baḵš of Bampūr includes the following dehestāns: Ḥūma, Maskūtān, Lāšār, Čānf, Fannūj, Bent, and Malūrān, comprising 160 villages and more than 500 settlements (Afšār Sīstānī, pp. 293-340). The total population in 1335 Š./1956, was 40,041 (Jahānbānī, p. 74); in 1345 Š./1966 it was reported as 51,606 for the baḵš and 15,686 for the dehestān (Afšār, pp. 301-40). The population is mostly Baluch, belonging to the two tribes of Mobārakī and Šīrānī, and follows the Hanafite school. It speaks Baluchi and its entire lifestyle is Baluchi (Nāṣeḥ, p. 165).
The administrative center of the baḵš is situated at 60°7’15" E, 27°11’35" N (Afšār, p. 294). It lies on the Čāhbahār highway 25 km west of Īrānšahr, 363 km from Čāhbahār, and 392 km from Zāhedān. A 350-km asphalt road connects Nōkjūb 4 km east of Bampūr to the city of Bam (Āmārgīrī-e Rūstāʾī, p. 13). The central dehestān of Bampūr includes 29 villages and 7 farms and has a total population of 4,182, housed in 3,881 dwellings (mostly reed huts). Drinking water is supplied through pipelines from a deep well in the vicinity of the Bampūr dam. Electricity is supplied from Irānšahr. The dehestān has eight public baths, six infirmaries, twenty-three elementary schools, seven intermediate schools (rāhnamāʾī), one high school, eighteen mosques and ḥosaynīyas, five post offices, and a telegraph office. There are 2,500 ha of arable land, irrigated by the Bampūr river, three qanāt systems, and thirteen deep and medium wells (Āmārgīrī-e rūstāʾī, 1360).
Old Bampūr was situated 500 m from the main street of the modern town of Bampūr, on the top of a hill, where its remains are still visible. The hill rises about 80 m above the surrounding area; because of its strategic position, it was the site of the residence of the governor of Baluchistan until the end of the 13th/19th century. As the frontier army in this area was also garrisoned there, it was one of the most developed parts of the province. It was often demolished and rebuilt during the rebellion of the Baluch chieftains in the last century and also during the rise of Āqā Khan (1257/1841) and his brother Abu’l-Ḥasan Khan in 1260/1844 (Fīrūz Mīrzā, p. 30, quoting Nāseḵ al-tawārīḵ; Afšār, p. 236). But the unfavorable climate, the unhealthy drinking water, which had to be carried from the river, and also the wind called lawār blowing from the Lūt desert caused a high death rate among the soldiers assigned to this post from other towns in Kermān. This is quite apparent from the large numbers of soldiers’ tombs surrounding the fortress (Fīrūz Mīrzā, pp. 29, 39). Finally, in 1297/1880, Fīrūz Mīrzā Noṣrat-al-Dawla, the governor of Kermān and Makrān, made a trip to Baluchistan and transferred the army garrison from the half-ruined fortress of Bampūr to the village of Fahraj (now Īrānšahr) four parasangs away, where the climate was more favorable. Since then Bampūr has lost its former importance (Fīrūz Mīrzā, pp. 32, 36, 38; Afšār, p. 295).
I. Afšār Sīstānī, Negāh-ī be Sīstān o Balūčestān, Tehran, 1363 Š./1984.
Fīrūz Mīrzā Farmānfarmā Noṣrat-al-Dawla, Safar-nāma-ye Kermān o Balūčestān, ed. M. Neẓām Māfī, Tehran, 1342 Š./1963.
A. Jahānbānī, Sargoḏašt-e Balūčestān o marzhā-ye ān, Tehran, 1338 Š./1959.
Ḏ. Nāṣeḥ, Balūčestān, Tehran, 1345 Š./1966.
(B. de Cardi, ʿA.-A. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī)
Originally Published: December 15, 1988
Last Updated: December 15, 1988
This article is available in print.
Vol. III, Fasc. 6, pp. 662-663
B. de Cardi, ʿA.-A. Saʿīdī Sīrjānī, “BAMPŪR,” Encyclopaedia Iranica, III/6, pp. 662-663, available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/bampur (accessed on 30 December 2012).