|Province :||Sistan and Balochistan|
|Time zone :||UTC +3: 30|
Schahr-e Suchte ( Persian شهر سوخته, DMG šahr-e sūḫte , 'Burned City', other spellings Shahr-i Sokhta , Shahr-e Sukhteh and Shahr-e Sookhte ) is an archaeological site on the banks of the Helmand River in the province of Sistan and Balochistan in Iran . It is located halfway between the cities of Zabol and Zahedan . The place lies in a salt steppe - only on the banks of the perennial river there is gallery forest . Schahr-e Suchte was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in June 2014.
The first excavations were carried out in 1967-78 by the Iranian Center for Archaeological Studies and the Italian Institute of the Middle and Far East . Further investigations were carried out from 1979 to 1997 and later. A publication of the research results is planned.
With a size of more than 300 hectares , the site is considered the largest prehistoric site in Iran. Another 40 satellite cities have been identified in their vicinity. The site provided important information about Bronze Age settlements in the region (3rd millennium BC).
The city is divided into four construction periods and was burned down three times.
Period I is only known from deep cuts. At that time, Schahr-e Suchte had contacts with Elam (a proto-Elamite cuneiform tablet and seal was found in Tiefschnitt XDV) and with southern Turkmenistan . In period II the settlement expanded greatly; Various handicrafts such as the production of pearls from semi-precious stone, basket weaving and wool processing can be proven. Period III shows a strong expansion of the settlement and evidence of social differentiation. Pottery was imported from Mundigak (Afghanistan) and the Quetta Valley in Pakistan , among others . Together with Mundigak, the city was one of the main places of the Helmand culture . After the destruction around 2100, the settlement was largely abandoned, as were other sites in Sistan and Turkmenistan.
Schahr-e Suchte was on the so-called Amu road, which led from Central Asia via Samarkand , Bukhara , Merw , Sarachs, Maschhad , Gonabad and Schahr-e Suchte to Kerman , Tepe Yahya to Hormuz , from where the goods were shipped to Mesopotamia were transported
The oldest known prosthetic eye , an artificial eyeball, was found here. The archaeologists discovered it in the grave of a 25–30 year old woman and suspect the material to be a mixture of tar and animal fat .
Organic remains have also been excellently preserved under the salt crust. Fine linen fabrics of local origin (evidence of linseed), but also fibers of Sunn hemp (Crotalaria juncea), which comes from South Asia, and jute (Corchorus) were found, which also prove extensive trade relations.
Lapis lazuli , a blue mineral, was found as a raw material in the form of small blocks, semi-finished parts and cut pearls. This included tools for stone processing: over 200 drills and 50 blades made of flint , pestles, a hammer and several smoothers made of jasper . The finds belonged to a period between 2600 and 2400 BC. Workshop dated to the 3rd century BC, in which lapis lazuli beads were made. The imported mineral came from the northeastern Afghan province of Badakhshan, 2000 kilometers away .
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