The Proto-Elamite period, also known as Susa III , is the time from ca. 3400 BC to 2500 BC in the area of Elam.In archaeological terms this corresponds to the late Banesh period, and it is recognized as the oldest civilization in Iran.
Elam was an ancient Pre-Iranian civilization centered in the far west and southwest of what is now modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of what is now Khuzestan and Ilam Province as well as a small part of southern Iraq. The modern name Elam stems from the Sumerian transliteration elam(a), along with the later Akkadian elamtu, and the Elamite haltamti. Elamite states were among the leading political forces of the Ancient Near East. In classical literature Elam was also known as Susiana, a name derived from its capital Susa.
Banesh is a village in Beyza District, Sepidan County, Fars Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 2,904, in 688 families.
The Proto-Elamite script is an Early Bronze Age writing system briefly in use before the introduction of Elamite cuneiform.
The Bronze Age is a historical period characterized by the use of bronze, and in some areas proto-writing, and other early features of urban civilization. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the three-age Stone-Bronze-Iron system, as proposed in modern times by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen, for classifying and studying ancient societies.
Elamite cuneiform was a logo-syllabic script used to write the Elamite language. The complete corpus of Elamite cuneiform consists of c. 20,000 tablets and fragments. The majority belong to the Achaemenid era, and contain primarily economic records.
During the period 8000–3700 BC, the Fertile Crescent witnessed the spread of small settlements supported by agricultural surplus. Geometric tokens emerged to be used to manage stewardship of this surplus.The earliest tokens now known are those from two sites in the Zagros region of Iran: Tepe Asiab and Ganj-i-Dareh Tepe.
The Fertile Crescent is a crescent-shaped region in the Middle East, spanning modern-day Iraq, Israel, Palestinian Territories, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Jordan as well as the southeastern fringe of Turkey and the western fringes of Iran. Some authors also include Cyprus.
Stewardship is an ethic that embodies the responsible planning and management of resources. The concepts of stewardship can be applied to the environment and nature, economics, health, property, information, theology, etc.
Ganj Dareh is a Neolithic settlement in the Iranian Kurdistan. It is located in the Harsin County in east of Kermanshah Province, in the central Zagros Mountains.
The Mesopotamian civilization emerged during the period 3700–2900 BC amid the development of technological innovations such as the plough, sailing boats and copper metal working. Clay tablets with pictographic characters appeared in this period to record commercial transactions performed by the temples.
Mesopotamia is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in modern days roughly corresponding to most of Iraq, Kuwait, the eastern parts of Syria, Southeastern Turkey, and regions along the Turkish–Syrian and Iran–Iraq borders.
A plough (UK) or plow is a tool or farm implement used for initial cultivation to loosen or turn the soil in preparation for sowing seed or planting. Ploughs were traditionally drawn by working animals such as oxen and horses, but in modern farms are drawn by tractors. A plough may be made of wood, iron, or steel frame with an attached blade or stick used to cut and loosen the soil. It has been a basic instrument for most of history, and is one of the most significant inventions. The earliest ploughs were wheelless, with the Romans using a wheelless plough called the aratrum, but Celtic peoples began using wheeled ploughs during the Roman era.
The Chalcolithic, a name derived from the Greek: χαλκός khalkós, "copper" and from λίθος líthos, "stone" or Copper Age, also known as the Eneolithic or Aeneolithic is an archaeological period which researchers usually regard as part of the broader Neolithic. In the context of Eastern Europe, archaeologists often prefer the term "Eneolithic" to "Chalcolithic" or other alternatives.
The most important Proto-Elamite sites are Susa and Anshan. Another important site is Tepe Sialk, where the only remaining Proto-Elamite ziggurat is still seen. Texts in the undeciphered Proto-Elamite script found in Susa are dated to this period. It is thought that the Proto-Elamites were in fact Elamites (Elamite speakers), because of the many cultural similarities (for example, the building of ziggurats), and because no large-scale migration to this area seems to have occurred between the Proto-Elamite period and the later Elamites. But because their script is yet to be deciphered, this theory remains uncertain.
Susa was an ancient city of the Proto-Elamite, Elamite, First Persian Empire, Seleucid, Parthian, and Sasanian empires of Iran, and one of the most important cities of the Ancient Near East. It is located in the lower Zagros Mountains about 250 km (160 mi) east of the Tigris River, between the Karkheh and Dez Rivers. The site now "consists of three gigantic mounds, occupying an area of about one square kilometer, known as the Apadana mound, the Acropolis mound, and the Ville Royale mound."
Anshan, modern Tall-i Malyan/Tal-I Malyun/Tal-e Malyan, was an ancient city in Persia. It was located in the Zagros Mountains in southwestern Iran, approximately 46 kilometres (29 mi) north of Shiraz and 43 kilometres (27 mi) west of Persepolis in the Beyza/Ramjerd plain, in the province of Fars. Its location serves as a landmark for Elamite studies.
Tepe Sialk is a large ancient archeological site in a suburb of the city of Kashan, Isfahan Province, in central Iran, close to Fin Garden. The culture that inhabited this area has been linked to the Zayandeh River Culture.
Some anthropologists, such as John Alden, maintain that Proto-Elamite influence grew rapidly at the end of the 4th millennium BC and declined equally rapidly with the establishment of maritime trade in the Persian Gulf several centuries later.
The Persian Gulf is a mediterranean sea in Western Asia. The body of water is an extension of the Indian Ocean through the Strait of Hormuz and lies between Iran to the northeast and the Arabian Peninsula to the southwest. The Shatt al-Arab river delta forms the northwest shoreline.
Proto-Elamite pottery dating back to the last half of the 5th millennium BC has been found in Tepe Sialk, where Proto-Elamite writing, the first form of writing in Iran, has been found on tablets of this date. The first cylinder seals come from the Proto-Elamite period, as well.
It is uncertain whether the Proto-Elamite script was the direct predecessor of Linear Elamite. Both scripts remain largely undeciphered, and it is mere speculation to postulate a relationship between the two.
A few Proto-Elamite signs seem either to be loans from the slightly older proto-cuneiform (Late Uruk) tablets of Mesopotamia, or perhaps more likely, to share a common origin. Whereas proto-cuneiform is written in visual hierarchies, Proto-Elamite is written in an in-line style: numerical signs follow the objects they count; some non-numerical signs are 'images' of the objects they represent, although the majority are entirely abstract.
Proto-Elamite was used for a brief period around 3000 BC(Jemdet Nasr period in Mesopotamia), whereas Linear Elamite is attested for a similarly brief period in the last quarter of the 3rd millennium BC.
Proponents of an Elamo-Dravidian relationship have looked for similarities between the Proto-Elamite script and the Indus script.
The Proto-Elamite writing system was used over a very large geographical area, stretching from Susa in the west, to Tepe Yahya in the east, and perhaps beyond. The known corpus of inscriptions consists of some 1600 tablets, the vast majority unearthed at Susa.
Proto-Elamite tablets have been found at the following sites (in order of number of tablets recovered):
None of the inscribed objects from Ghazir, Chogha Mish or Hissar can be verified as Proto-Elamite; the tablets from Ghazir and Choga Mish are Uruk IV style or numerical tablets, whereas the Hissar object cannot be classified at present. The majority of the Tepe Sialk tablets are also not proto-Elamite, strictly speaking, but belong to the period of close contact between Mesopotamia and Iran, presumably corresponding to Uruk V - IV.
Although Proto-Elamite remains undeciphered, the content of many texts is known. This is possible because certain signs, and in particular a majority of the numerical signs, are similar to the neighboring Mesopotamian writing system, proto-cuneiform. In addition, a number of the proto-Elamite signs are actual images of the objects they represent. However, the majority of the proto-Elamite signs are entirely abstract, and their meanings can only be deciphered through careful graphotactical analysis.
While the Elamite language has been suggested as a likely candidate underlying the Proto-Elamite inscriptions, there is no positive evidence of this. The earliest Proto-Elamite inscriptions, being purely ideographical, do not in fact contain any linguistic information, and following Friberg's 1978/79 study of Ancient Near Eastern metrology, decipherment attempts have moved away from linguistic methods.
In 2012, Dr Jacob Dahl of the Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Oxford, announced a project to make high-quality images of Proto-Elamite clay tablets and publish them online. His hope is that crowdsourcing by academics and amateurs working together would be able to understand the script, despite the presence of mistakes and the lack of phonetic clues.Dahl assisted in making the images of nearly 1600 Proto-Elamite tablets online.
Proto-Elamite seals follow the seals of the Uruk period, with which they share many stylistic elements, but display more individuality and a more lively rendering.
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Writing is a medium of human communication that represents language and emotion with signs and symbols. In most languages, writing is a complement to speech or spoken language. Writing is not a language, but a tool used to make languages be read. Within a language system, writing relies on many of the same structures as speech, such as vocabulary, grammar, and semantics, with the added dependency of a system of signs or symbols. The result of writing is called text, and the recipient of text is called a reader. Motivations for writing include publication, storytelling, correspondence, record keeping and diary. Writing has been instrumental in keeping history, maintaining culture, dissemination of knowledge through the media and the formation of legal systems.
The 35th century BC in the Near East sees the gradual transition from the Chalcolithic to the Early Bronze Age. Proto-writing enters transitional stage, developing towards writing proper. Wheeled vehicles are now known beyond Mesopotamia, having spread north of the Caucasus and to Europe.
The Third Dynasty of Ur, also called the Neo-Sumerian Empire, refers to a 22nd to 21st century BC Sumerian ruling dynasty based in the city of Ur and a short-lived territorial-political state which some historians consider to have been a nascent empire. The Third Dynasty of Ur is commonly abbreviated as Ur III by historians studying the period.
The Uruk period existed from the protohistoric Chalcolithic to Early Bronze Age period in the history of Mesopotamia, following the Ubaid period and succeeded by the Jemdet Nasr period. Named after the Sumerian city of Uruk, this period saw the emergence of urban life in Mesopotamia and the Sumerian civilization. The late Uruk period saw the gradual emergence of the cuneiform script and corresponds to the Early Bronze Age; it may also be called the Protoliterate period. It was during this period that pottery painting declined as copper started to become popular, along with cylinder seals.
Jemdet Nasr is a tell or settlement mound in Babil Governorate (Iraq) that is best known as the eponymous type site for the Jemdet Nasr period. The site was first excavated in 1926 by Stephen Langdon, who found proto-cuneiform clay tablets in a large mudbrick building thought to be the ancient administrative centre of the site. A second season took place in 1928, but this season was very poorly recorded. Subsequent excavations in the 1980s under British archaeologist Roger Matthews were, among other things, undertaken to relocate the building excavated by Langdon. These excavations have shown that the site was also occupied during the Ubaid, Uruk and Early Dynastic I periods.
Haft Tepe is an archaeological site situated in the Khuzestan Province in south-western Iran. At this site the remains of the Elamite city of Kabnak were discovered in 1908, and excavations are still carried out.
Linear Elamite is an undeciphered Bronze Age writing system used in Elam, known from a few monumental inscriptions only. It was used contemporaneously with Elamite Cuneiform and possibly records the Elamite language.
The Early Dynastic period is an archaeological culture in Mesopotamia that is generally dated to c. 2900–2350 BC and was preceded by the Uruk and Jemdet Nasr periods. It is part of the History of Mesopotamia. It saw the development of writing and the formation of the first cities and states. The ED itself was characterized by the existence of multiple city-states: small states with a relatively simple structure that developed and solidified over time. This development ultimately led to the unification of much of Mesopotamia under the rule of Sargon, the first monarch of the Akkadian Empire. Despite this political fragmentation, the ED city-states shared a relatively homogeneous material culture. Sumerian cities such as Uruk, Ur, Lagash, Umma, and Nippur located in Lower Mesopotamia were very powerful and influential. To the north and west stretched states centered on cities such as Kish, Mari, Nagar, and Ebla.
Many undeciphered writing systems date from several thousand years BC, though some more modern examples do exist. The term "writing systems" is used here loosely to refer to groups of glyphs which appear to have representational symbolic meaning, but which may include "systems" that are largely artistic in nature and are thus not examples of actual writing.
Tepe Yahya is an archaeological site in Kermān Province, Iran, some 220 kilometres (140 mi) south of Kerman city, 90 kilometres (56 mi) south of Baft city and 90 km south-west of Jiroft.
The Kish tablet is a limestone tablet found at Tell al-Uhaymir, Babil Governorate, Iraq – the site of the ancient Sumerian city of Kish. A plaster-cast of the artifact is today in the collection of the Ashmolean Museum.
The Jemdet Nasr Period is an archaeological culture in southern Mesopotamia. It is generally dated from 3100–2900 BC. It is named after the type site Tell Jemdet Nasr, where the assemblage typical for this period was first recognized. Its geographical distribution is limited to south-central Iraq. The culture of the proto-historical Jemdet Nasr period is a local development out of the preceding Uruk period and continues into the Early Dynastic I period.
Tappeh-ye Choghā Mīsh dating back to 6800 BC, is the site of a Chalcolithic settlement in Western Iran, located in the Khuzistan Province on the Susiana Plain. It was occupied at the beginning of 6800 BC and continuously from the Neolithic up to the Proto-Literate period. Later, the nearby Susa became culturally dominant in this area.
The art of Mesopotamia has survived in the archaeological record from early hunter-gatherer societies on to the Bronze Age cultures of the Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian and Assyrian empires. These empires were later replaced in the Iron Age by the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian empires. Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Mesopotamia brought significant cultural developments, including the oldest examples of writing.
The prehistory of the Iranian plateau, and the wider region now known as Greater Iran, as part of the prehistory of the Near East is conventinally divided into the Paleolithic, Epipaleolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age periods, spanning the time from the first settlement by archaic humans about a million years ago until the beginning historical record during Neo-Assyrian Empire, in the 8th century BC.
The Sukkalmah Dynasty, also Epartid Dynasty after the founder Eparti/Ebarat, was an early dynasty of West Asia in the ancient region of Elam, to the southeast of Babylonia. It corresponds to the latest part of the Old Elamite period.