Iran Historical Sites

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Burnt City

Iran's 'Burnt City', a Bronze Age archeological treasure trove, was once one of the world's largest communities at the dawn of urban settlement. The city, called Shahr-e-Sookhteh, sits on the banks of the Helmand river along the Zahedan-Zabol road in the southeast province of Sistan.

Covering an area of 151 hectares, the city was built around 3200 BC and abandoned over a millennium later in 2100 BC. The city experienced four stages of civilization and was burnt down three times. It took its eventual named because it was never rebuilt after the last fire. The site was discovered in 1967 and has been continually excavated since the 1970s by Iranian and Italian archaeological teams; new discoveries are reported from time to time.

The oldest known backgammon, dice and caraway seeds and numerous metallurgical finds, such as pieces of slag and crucible, are among the city's excavated artifacts. The unearthed game of backgammon is made of 60 pieces from turquoise and agate, and has a rectangular ebony board.

Other objects found at the site include a human skull with signs that suggest brain surgery was conducted on it in this prehistoric city.

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