Prehistory of Iran
Historical classification in Iran,Prehistory
The long prehistoric period in Iran is known to us mostly from excavation work carried out in a few key sites, which has led to the establishment of a chronology of distinct periods, each one characterized by the manufacture of certain types of pottery, tools and other objects in daily use. Among the most important sites are Tappeh Stalk, near Kshan, which was first occupied in the fourth millennium BC, Tappeh Giyan near Nehvand and Tappeh Hissar near Dmghan.
The Birth of Cities in Iran: Susa and Elam
It was in the Susian plain, near Iraq, that urban civilization first developed in Iran as a direct result of the presence nearby of Mesopotamia and the Sumerian civilization of Uruk. In the sixth millennium BC, a first centre had already been established in
Susiana at Choga Mish, and around 3900 BC, a religious and administrative town was built nearby at Susa. During the fourth millennium BC the region remained under the influence of Sumer, but was invaded by a new culture, known today as proto-Elamite, which occupied all the mountainous areas from Fars to Kerman and even into Sistan. Because of its geographic location, the fate of the Susian plain was closely linked to that of Mesopotamia. With the rise of the archaic dynasties a Babylon, around 2800 BC, Susiana once again came under the influence of Sumer and, around 2300 BC, was annexed by Sargon, founder of the empire of Akkad.
Babylonian sources mention the presence of other peoples in western Iran at this period, notably the Guti the Lullubi and the Kassites. These peoples, who lived in the mountainous areas separating the Mesopotamian plain from the Iranian, plateau, controlled many of the routes that crossed these regions, in particular the Hamedan-Baghdad road which was one of the few natural ways onto the plateau from the West. These tribes took advantage of periods of weakness of Babylonian power to rush down and raid the settlements of the plain and, around 2200 BC, the Guti even succeeded in invading Babylon, causing the fall of the empire of Akkad.
This fall allowed Elam, which, in the meantime, had become an independent state, to capture Susa, a city which was to be one of the capitals of the kingdom.
Until approximately the l5th century BC, Elam continued to be strongly influenced by Mesopotamian culture while gradually developing its own identity. During the l3th and l2th centuries BC, at the height of its glory, Elam defeated Assyria and
Babylon, capturing from the latter fabulous treasures, including the famous Code of Hammurabi, now in the Louvre Museum in Paris.