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Shahr-i Sokhta

Shahr-i Sokhta (Burnt City) was enlisted in WHC UNESCO Sites in the year 2014. Shahr-i Sokhta is an archaeological site and an urban settlement of the Bronze Age which is located at a distance of 60 km from the city of Zabol in Sistan and Baluchestan province in southeastern Iran. Shahr-e Sookhte or Shahr-i Sookhta  was one of the world’s largest cities at the dawn of the urban era. This ancient city dates back to the 4th and 3rd millennium B.C. It covers an area of 151 hectares with a vast graveyard measuring 25 hectares in the western part of the site. The graveyard contains between 25,000 and 40,000 ancient graves.

Excavation

Istituto Italiano per l’Africa e l’Oriente excavated the site of Shahr-i Sokhta for the first time in 1967, and continued until 1978. The work was resumed at a much later time by the Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization team. On the basis of the discoveries from this area, the city was a hub of trading routes that connected Mesopotamia and Iran to the Central Asian and Indian civilizations, even as far as China.

Shahr-i Sokhta is a UNESCO-Listed Site in southeastern Iran

Shahr-i Sokhta, a UNESCO-Listed Site in southeastern Iran

History

The settlement appeared around 3200 B.C. had four stages of civilization before the settlers abandoned the area in 1800 BC. During Period I, it shows close connections with the eastern and north eastern regions. These regions included southern Turkmenistan, Kandahar in Afghanistan, the Quetta and the Bampur valleys near Helmand River and Hamoun Lake. And it also had connections with the Proto-Elamite cities of Khuzestan and Fars in Iran during this period. During Period II, Shahr-i Sokhta was in contact with the pre-Harappan centers of the Indus Valley in eastern Baluchestan. At same period the contacts with the Bampur Valley continued.

Findings

Shahr-i Sokhta remained under 20 centimeters of thick layers of ash and dust for 4000 years before the archaeologists discovered it. The climate of the region is dry desert which helped preserve the remains of this settlement. For many years researchers believed that the ancient city burnt down three times, leading to the decline of its civilization. But the reason for its destruction still remains a mystery. Nevertheless, findings from the settlement demonstrate no evidence of any scorching or wars. It was an industrial place with skilled people who achieved a great deal of development and advancement in civilization. They were experts in many arts like goldsmithing, metal work, jewelry making, wicker work, and pottery making. They were also proficient in architecture, farming, animal husbandry, and fishing, and used furnaces and fire.

Thus, the designation of the name ‘Burnt City’ was due to the piles of ashes found in the settlement. No traces of war or armament were found to prove the demise of this civilization was the result of a scorching. The inhabitants were peaceful people and they had no fortress or walls around their city.

 

Archeologists have discovered 100 mounds and thousands of graves and many interesting artifacts in the settlement, including pottery vessels with drawings, seals, and a human skull indicating that the settlers practiced brain surgery at that time. The archaeologists have found the world’s earliest known artificial eyeball here, placed inside the left eye socket of a woman.

 

Shahr-i Sokhta

Shahr-i Sokhta (Burnt City) was enlisted in WHC UNESCO Sites in the year 2014. Shahr-i Sokhta is an archaeological site and an urban settlement of the Bronze Age which is located at a distance of 60 km from the city of Zabol in Sistan and Baluchestan province in southeastern Iran. Shahr-e Sookhte or Shahr-i Sookhta  was one of the world’s largest cities at the dawn of the urban era. This ancient city dates back to the 4th and 3rd millennium B.C. It covers an area of 151 hectares with a vast graveyard measuring 25 hectares in the western part of the site. The graveyard contains between 25,000 and 40,000 ancient graves.

Excavation

Istituto Italiano per l’Africa e l’Oriente excavated the site of Shahr-i Sokhta for the first time in 1967, and continued until 1978. The work was resumed at a much later time by the Iranian Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization team. On the basis of the discoveries from this area, the city was a hub of trading routes that connected Mesopotamia and Iran to the Central Asian and Indian civilizations, even as far as China.

Shahr-i Sokhta is a UNESCO-Listed Site in southeastern Iran

Shahr-i Sokhta, a UNESCO-Listed Site in southeastern Iran

History

The settlement appeared around 3200 B.C. had four stages of civilization before the settlers abandoned the area in 1800 BC. During Period I, it shows close connections with the eastern and north eastern regions. These regions included southern Turkmenistan, Kandahar in Afghanistan, the Quetta and the Bampur valleys near Helmand River and Hamoun Lake. And it also had connections with the Proto-Elamite cities of Khuzestan and Fars in Iran during this period. During Period II, Shahr-i Sokhta was in contact with the pre-Harappan centers of the Indus Valley in eastern Baluchestan. At same period the contacts with the Bampur Valley continued.

Findings

Shahr-i Sokhta remained under 20 centimeters of thick layers of ash and dust for 4000 years before the archaeologists discovered it. The climate of the region is dry desert which helped preserve the remains of this settlement. For many years researchers believed that the ancient city burnt down three times, leading to the decline of its civilization. But the reason for its destruction still remains a mystery. Nevertheless, findings from the settlement demonstrate no evidence of any scorching or wars. It was an industrial place with skilled people who achieved a great deal of development and advancement in civilization. They were experts in many arts like goldsmithing, metal work, jewelry making, wicker work, and pottery making. They were also proficient in architecture, farming, animal husbandry, and fishing, and used furnaces and fire.

Thus, the designation of the name ‘Burnt City’ was due to the piles of ashes found in the settlement. No traces of war or armament were found to prove the demise of this civilization was the result of a scorching. The inhabitants were peaceful people and they had no fortress or walls around their city.

 

Archeologists have discovered 100 mounds and thousands of graves and many interesting artifacts in the settlement, including pottery vessels with drawings, seals, and a human skull indicating that the settlers practiced brain surgery at that time. The archaeologists have found the world’s earliest known artificial eyeball here, placed inside the left eye socket of a woman.

 

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