EARLY CIVILIZATIONS IN IRAN
Man’s presence on the Iranian plateau during the Paleolithic and Mesolithic ages has not yet been properly studied. Life during the Neolithic period, however, is much better known. Considerable geological and natural evidence has proven that Iran was home to one of mankind’s first major cultures, ahead of every other part of the world except Egypt, Mesopotamia, and India. Significant shifts in tool manufacture, settlement patterns, and subsistence methods, including domestication of plants and animals, characterize the Neolithic Iranian settlements, all of which date wholly or in part from the 8th and 7th millennia. Iranians were probably the first to cultivate wheat and dates, and to tame camels and sheep. The existence of rich mines in Iran can be an indication that metal was excavated and processed here since ancient times. One of the recently excavated archaeological sites — Arisman— has proved to be one of the world’s earliest centers of the metallurgical industry. By approximately the 6th millennium B.C., village farming was widespread over much of the Iranian plateau and in lowland Khuzestan. Among others, Sialk on the rim of the central salt desert has yielded evidence of fairly sophisticated patterns of agricultural life.
Having begun in the Paleolithic era, Iran’s first vigorous growth had developed by the 3rd millennium B.C. into a civilization of great sophistication — Elam.
c. 8000-7500 BC : Pre-Pottery Neolithic period
c. 8000 BC : First settlements on the Iranian plateau; the earliest domestication of sheep and goats in Iran
c. 7500-5000 BC : Pottery Neolithic period
c. 6300 BC : First evidence of copper smelting in Iran
c. 5000 BC : A wine jar discovered at the Haji Piruz Mound proves to be the World’s oldest evidence of wine-making
c. 4000 BC : Sialk Mounds yield some of the most ancient remains of settled life on the Iranian plateua
c. 3400-3100 BC : Ceramics and sculpture is Khuzestan are virtually identical to those from southern Mesopotamia