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Pre-Achaemenid Iran: Kerman, Sistan and Baluchistan
Mirroring Elam's development in soutwestern Iran, the Shahr-e-Sukhte (Burnt City) developed as a civilized center in southeastern Iran. To date 40,000 graves have been uncovered yielding over 4 billion artifacts. The site was inhabited as far back as 3200BCE. Life expectancies of the city's citizens ranged from late 20's to mid 50's. The local inhabitants began a trading hub near the Hirmand River, just outside of modern-day Zabol. Later, the city grew as a trading hub between the Harrapans of the Indus Valley and the Elamites and Mesopotamians of West Asia. Its wealth attracted other settlers who formed satellite villages (dozens of which have been discovered) in the surrounding hills. Some believe these cities may have been part of a larger civilization. In any case, they manufactured complex jewelry, accurate rulers, fashionable clothing, and many other ornaments. They are also believed to have played backgammon after discoveries of dice and a board. The rulers they used were accurate within half a millimeter, indicating that the civilization must have had some headway in mathematics and geometrey. The most common animals depicted on the pottery are goats and fishes, most likely because they were important to these peoples. Some of the pottery depicts movement in repetitive images to such a subtle extent that a team of archaeologists managed to make a 20-second animation out of it! The reason for the accuracy of these drawings and animation likely stems from the use of the accurate rulers. The variety of finds at the Shahr-e-Sukhte continue to shock the world. Archaeologists have even discovered the oldest known artificial eyeball as reported by the Cultural Heritage News Agency here.

To the West in Kerman, around in the Halil Rud (river) region, archaeologists have discovered the remains of the Jiroft Kingdom, a mysterious civilization dating back to 5000BCE. Inscriptions on the palace in early Elamite predate those found at Susa. Some speculate that writing in Iran first developed in Jiroft and then emanated outward to Elam. Bronze, copper, and silver artifacts have been discovered in Jiroft. Cups, vases, goblets, and tools have been found made out of clay, chlorite, precious metals, and lapis lazuli. The citadel of Jiroft may have been a center of trade and commerce like its neighbors to the east. Nearby at the Yahya Tappe, remains of perfume trade remain as well as evidence of cosmetics that were used and traded.




Further Readings
Madjidzadeh and Jiroft
Mythological Reliefs
Ruler found at the Burnt City
Jiroft agriculture
Shahr-e-Sukhteh Map
Shahr-e-Sukhteh


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