DALMĀ TEPE, an archeological site in western Azerbaijan. It is a small mound located about 5 km southwest of Ḥasanlū Tepe just north of the modern village of Dalmā in the Soldūz valley at the southwestern edge of Lake Urmia. The mound rises about 4 m above the plain level and is approximately 50 m in diameter at the base. It was excavated by Charles Burney in 1958 and 1959 and T. Cuyler Young, Jr., in 1961, as part of the Hasanlu Project of The University Museum of Archaeology/Anthropology of the University of Pennsylvania and collaborating institutions (Hamlin).

The excavations revealed a mass of handmade, chaff-­tempered pottery with fine grit inclusions, fired to orange or pink, frequently with a gray core (see ce­ramics iv). A few sherds have smoothed, undecorated surfaces and have been labeled “Dalma plain ware.” A second variety, Dalma impressed ware, was made by impressing the surface of the wet clay with fingertips, textiles, reeds, and other implements. Dalma red-­slipped ware was covered with a uniform coat of dark­-red paint; it occurred in a variety of shapes, including distinctive “decanting vessels” and horned lugs. Dalma painted ware consists of deep globular vessels with pinched rims decorated with bold, sweeping patterns of triangles painted in plum, maroon, or brown shades on red (Figure 36; see also EIr V, p. 279 fig. 20). The small objects found at the site are mainly conical clay spindle whorls with concave bases.

Dalma pottery has been found at other sites in the Soldūz valley and along the western side of Lake Urmia. Contemporary and closely similar pottery was excavated at Tepe Seavan (Sīāvān) in the Margavar valley west of Urmia (Solecki and Solecki, figs. 1-6). Dalma pottery is characteristic of period IX in the main sequence at Ḥasanlū Tepe and can be dated by radio­carbon and comparisons with other sites to around 5000-4500 b.c.e. (Voigt and Dyson, I, pp. 174, 175; II, p. 137 table 2). Imported pottery at Dalmā Tepe links it with level XVI at Tepe Gawra (= Ubaid 3) in northern Iraq.

Pottery similar to Dalma ware has been found at Seh Gābī and Godin (Gowdīn) Tepe (period X) in the Kangāvar valley to the south (Young and Levine, p. 11). Pottery of Dalma type has also been found in surveys between the Soldūz and Kangāvar valleys (Swiny, pp. 79-81; Young).



C. Hamlin, “Dalma Tepe,” Iran 13, 1975, pp. 111-28.

R. W. Solecki and R. S. Solecki, “Tepe Seavan. A Dalma Period Site in the Margavar Valley, Azerbaijan,” Bulletin of the Asia Institute 3, 1973, pp. 98-117.

S. Swiny, “Survey in North-West Iran, 1971,” East and West 25, 1975, pp. 77-98.

M. M. Voigt and R. H. Dyson, Jr., “The Chronology of Iran, ca. 8000-2000 B.C.,” in R. W. Ehrich, ed., Chronologies in Old World Archaeology, 3rd ed., I, Chicago, 1992, pp. 122-78.

T. C. Young, Jr., “Sur­vey in Western Iran, 1961,” JNES 25, 1966, pp. 228-­39.

Idem and L. D. Levine, Excavations of the Godin Project. Second Progress Report, Royal Ontario Museum Occasional Papers 26, Toronto, 1974.

Figure 36. Drawings of impressed, red-slipped, and painted wares from Dalmā Tepe. Photograph Hasanlu Project, The University Museum of Archaeology/ Anthropology.

(Robert H. Dyson, Jr.)

Originally Published: December 15, 1993

Last Updated: November 11, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. VI, Fasc. 6, p. 611