Investigations at “Chakherbaz Holes”, Western Iran, Kurdistan: A Possible Ancient Mining/Smelting Site

Document Type : Original Research Article


1 Geoarchaeology Research Group, Zaminrizkavan Research Co., Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Natural Heritage, Research Institute of Cultural Heritage and Tourism, Tehran, Iran


Chakherbaz Holes are two contiguous semi-circular holes, one larger and more preserved than another, on siliciclastic base rocks, first identified as possible meteorite impact structures. In search for evidence of meteorite impact, metal-bearing slag fragments and partially oxidized iron particles were found along with iron-stained mineralized breccias fragments within soil and rubble covering the inside and outside surfaces of the holes suggesting a mining/metallurgical site for the origin. Native iron was detected by the EDAX analyses of the metallic globules enclosed in two small slag fragments found at the site. During the magnetic survey within soils covering the inside and outside surfaces of them, metallurgical iron particles were detected as proved by their respected EDAX spectra. Whether the metal particles of smelting or smithing origin are not yet clear. The observation of copper sulfides within matrices of iron particles is evidence for possible iron-fluxed copper metallurgy at the site. Further proof for this hypothesis is the presence of copper ore minerals associated with breccia fragments around the holes. The collective evidence suggests the Chakherbaz Holes to be an ancient mining site with negligible smelting practices. This is supported by the discovery of a Sherd in the fill materials. The abundance of iron in the metallurgical finds and since no typical hammerstones have been identified imply an age probably not older than the Iron Age for the site which is compatible with the age of most archaeological sites, like Ziwiyeh and Ghalaichi, at this part of western Iran.


Main Subjects

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