Schahr-e wanted

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Schahr-e wanted
One of the excavations in Schahr-e Suchte
One of the excavations in Schahr-e Suchte
Shahr-e Suchte (Iran)
Schahr-e wanted
Schahr-e wanted
Basic data
Country: IranIran Iran
Province : Sistan and Balochistan
Coordinates : 30 ° 39 ′  N , 61 ° 24 ′  E Coordinates: 30 ° 39 ′  N , 61 ° 24 ′  E
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.

Excavation history

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.

The location

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 Dating Settlement area
I. 3200-2800 10-20 ha
II 2800-2500 45 ha
III 2500-2300 100 ha
IV 2300-2100

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


Most of the finds were made between 2700 and 2300 BC. Dated. They suggest that the city was a junction of the Persian , Mesopotamian, Indian and Chinese civilizations.

The finds include seals , a complex trading network, the oldest backgammon game that has been found so far, and processed artificial stones made of alabaster and sandstone .

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 .

See also


  • Lorenzo Costantini: Le Piante. In: La Città Bruciata del Deserto Salato . Ed. Tucci. Pp. 159-228. Erizzo, Venice 1977.
  • Lorenzo Costantini: Wood Remains from Shahr-i Sokhta. In: South Asian Archeology. M. Taddei, Naples 1979, pp. 87-121. ISSN  0066-2011
  • Lorenzo Costantini, Biasini L. Costantini: Palaeoethnobotanical Studies of Prehistoric Settlements in Soughun and Dowlatabad Valleys, Iran. In: Newsletter of Baluchistan Studies 2, Naples 1985, pp. 16-230.
  • Irene Good: Invisible Exports in Aratta. Enmerkar and the Three Tasks. In: Carole Gillis, Marie-Louise B. Nosch: Ancient Textiles - Production, Craft and Society. Proceedings of the First International Conference on Ancient Textiles, Held at Lund, Sweden, and Copenhagen, Denmark, on March 19-23, 2003. Oxbow Books, Oxford 2007. ISBN 1-8421-7202-6
  • Giuseppe Tucci (ed.). La Città Bruciata del Deserto Salato . Erizzo, Venice 1977.
  • Matthias Schulz: Forgotten Message. In: Der Spiegel . Hamburg 2010, 3, p. 105f. ISSN  0038-7452
  • Maurizio Tosi (ed), Prehistoric Sistan 1 , Rome 1983.

Web links

Commons : Schahr-e Suchte  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Entry on the UNESCO World Heritage Center website ( English and French ).

Individual evidence

  1. Shahr-I Sokhta. UNESCO, June 22, 2014, accessed June 23, 2014 .
  2. a b c Schahr-e Suchte In: Enzyclopaedia Britannica.
  3. Burnt City Recognized as Iran's Largest Prehistoric Site by Soudabeh Sadigh
  4. CAIS NEWS: The Burnt City, a Great Civilization in a Small Desert by Nastaran Zafar Ardalan, accessed June 28, 2013
  5. Jahanshah Derakhshani: Materials and industries from the Iranian highlands in the Middle Eastern markets of the 4th to 2nd millennium BC Chr. In: Iran and the Caucasus. Leiden 3.1999-2000, 42nd ISSN  1609-8498
  6. World's Oldest Backgammon Discovered In Burnt City on April 12, 2004, accessed June 28, 2013
  7. 4800-Year-Old Artificial Eyeball Discovered in Burnt City , accessed June 27, 2013.
  8. Horst Klengel : Trade and traders in the ancient Orient. Köhler & Amelang, Leipzig 1979, p. 25 f