Caucasus Indo-Iranians

The Civilization of Urmia

Lake Urmia

Lake Urmia is a salt lake in northwestern Iran near Iran’s border with Turkey. The lake is between the Iranian provinces of East Azerbaijan and West Azerbaijan, west of the southern portion of the similarly shaped Caspian Sea. It is the largest lake in the Middle East, and the third largest saltwater lake on earth, with a surface area of approximately 5,200 km² (2,000 mile²), 140 km (87 mi) length, 55 km (34 mi) width, and 16 m (52 ft) depth.
Along with Lake Sevan in today’s Armenia and Van in today’s Turkey, Lake Urmia was one of the three great lakes of the Armenian Kingdom, referred to as the seas of Armenia. It is named after the provincial capital city of Urmia, originally a Syriac name meaning city of water.
Lake Matianus, a name believed to be related to Mitanni, a mixed Indo-Aryan and Hurrian state some 800 years earlier, is an old name for Lake Urmia. Lake Urmia is from the Assyrian records from 9th century BCE. There, in the records of Shalmaneser III (reign 858–824 BCE), two names are mentioned in the area of Lake Urmia: Parsuwash and Matai.
It is not completely clear whether these referred to places or tribes, or whether the lake took its name from the people or the people from the lake, and what their relationship was to the subsequent list of personal names and “kings”, but the country came to be called Matiene or Matiane, and while the Matais were to become the Medes the linguistically name Parsuwash matches the Old Persian word pārsa, an Achaemenid ethnolinguistic designation.

The Medes

The Medes (from Old Persian Māda-) lived in an area known as Media. They spoke a northwestern Iranian language referred to as the Median language. Their arrival to the region is associated with the first wave of Iranian tribes in the late 2nd millennium BCE (the Bronze Age collapse) through the beginning of the 1st millennium BCE.
From the 10th to late 7th centuries BCE, the Iranian Medes and Persians fell under the domination of the Neo-Assyrian Empire based in Mesopotamia, but an alliance with the Babylonians and the Scythians helped the Medes to capture Nineveh in 612 BCE which resulted in the collapse of the Neo-Assyrian Empire.
The Medes were subsequently able to establish their Median kingdom beyond their original homeland (central-western Iran) and had eventually a territory stretching roughly from northeastern Iran to the Halys River in Anatolia.
In the years between 616 BCE and 605 BCE, a unified Median state was formed, which, together with Babylonia, Lydia, and Egypt became one of the four major powers of the ancient Near East, but the Median kingdom was conquered in 550 BCE by Cyrus the Great, who established the next Iranian dynasty – the Persian Achaemenid Empire.
Ecbatana (Hamadān or Hamedān, Old Persian: Haŋgmatana), the capital city of Hamadan Province of Iran, situated at the foot of Mount Alvand, is supposed to be the capital and royal centre of Astyages (585 BCE-550 BCE), the last king of the Median Empire, who was dethroned in 550 BCE by the Persian emperor Cyrus the Great.
Under the Persian kings Ecbatana became a summer residence. Later, it became the capital of the Parthian kings, at which time it became their main mint, producing drachm, tetradrachm, and assorted bronze denominations.
The Ancient Greek historian, Herodotus, states that it was the capital of the Medes, around 700 BCE. The Greeks thought Ecbatana to be the capital of Media, and ascribed its foundation to Deioces (the Daiukku of the cuneiform inscriptions). It is alleged that he surrounded his palace in Ecbatana with seven concentric walls of different colours. In the 5th century BC, Herodotus wrote of Ecbatana:
However, this association remains problematic. There is currently no evidence of Median existence in Hagmatana hill prior to the Parthian era afterwards. Similarly, Assyrian sources never mention Hagmatana/Ecbatana.
The Alans, or the Alani, occasionally termed Alauni or Halani, were a group of Sarmatian tribes, nomadic pastoralists of the 1st millennium AD who spoke an Eastern Iranian language which derived from Scytho-Sarmatian and which in turn evolved into modern Ossetian.
The various forms of Alan and Iron (a self-designation of the Alans’ modern Ossetian descendants, indicating early tribal self-designation) are Iranian dialectical forms of Aryan.
The Alans were also known over the course of their history by another group of related names including the variations Asi, As, and Os (Romanian Iasi, Bulgarian Uzi, Hungarian Jász, Russian Jasy, Georgian Osi). It is this name that is the root of the modern Ossetian.
These and other variants of Aryan (such as Iran), were common self-designations of the Indo-Iranians, the common ancestors of the Indo-Aryans and Iranian peoples to whom the Alans belonged.
Some scholars believe the problem can be resolved by identifying the Ecbatana/Hagmatana mentioned in later Greek and Achaemenid sources with the city Sagbita/Sagbat frequently mentioned in Assyrian texts, since the Indo-Iranian sound /s/ became /h/ in many Iranian languages. The Sagbita mentioned by Assyrian sources was located in the proximity of the cities Kishesim (Kar-Nergal) and Harhar (Kar-Sharrukin).

The Persians

Parsua (earlier Parsuash, Parsumash) was an ancient land located near Lake Urmia between Zamua (formerly: Lullubi, a group of tribes during the 3rd millennium BC, from a region known as Lulubum, now the Sharazor plain of the Zagros Mountains of modern Iran) and Ellipi, in central Zagros to the southwest of Sanandaj, northwestern Iran. The name Parsua is from an old Iranian word *Parsava and it is presumed to mean border or borderland.
Parsua was distinct from Persis, another region to the southeast, now known as Fars province in Iran. Persian and Greek sources, including the Old Persian texts at Behistun, states that Teispes (675-640 BCE.), the son of Achaemenes, the eponymous ancestor of the Achaemenid Dynasty, led a migration of Persians from Parsua to Persis, formerly the Elamite state of Anshan (modern Tall-i Malyan) in the province of Fars in the Zagros mountains, southwestern Iran. After being freed from Median supremacy he expanded his small kingdom, an Elamite vassal state. Teispes’ great-grandson Cyrus conquered the Medes and established the Persian Empire.
There is evidence that Cyrus I, or Cyrus I of Anshan, king of Anshan in Persia from c. 600 to 580 BC or, according to others, from c. 652 to 600 BC., and Ariaramnes were both his sons. Cyrus I is the grandfather of Cyrus the Great, whereas Ariaramnes is great grandfather of Darius the Great. Teispes’ sons reportedly divided the kingdom among them after his death. Cyrus reigned as king of Anshan while his brother Ariaramnes was king of Parsa.
Anshan, one of the early capitals of Elam, from the 3rd millennium BC., was captured by Teispes (675–640 BC), who styled himself “King of the city of Anshan”, and fell under Persian Achaemenid rule. For another century during the period of Elamite decline, Anshan was a minor kingdom, until the Achaemenids in the 6th century BC embarked on a series of conquests from Anshan, which became the nucleus of the Persian Empire. The most famous conqueror who rose from Anshan was Cyrus the Great.
The ancient Persians were present in the region from about the 9th century BC, and became the rulers of a large empire under the Achaemenid dynasty in the 6th century BC. The ruins of Persepolis and Pasargadae, two of the four capitals of the Achaemenid Empire, are located in Fars.
The chronological placement of this event is uncertain. This is due to his suggested, but still debated identification, with the monarch known as “Kuras of Parsumas”, first mentioned c. 652 BC.
At that year Shamash-shum-ukin, king of Babylon (668–648 BC) revolted against his older brother and overlord Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria (668–627 BC). Cyrus is mentioned being in a military alliance with the former. The war between the two brothers ended in 648 BC with the defeat and reported suicide of Shamash-shum-ukin.
Cyrus is mentioned again in 639 BC. At that year Ashurbanipal managed to defeat Elam and became overlord to several of its former allies. Kuras was apparently among them. His elder son “Arukku” was reportedly sent to Assyria to pay tribute to its King. Kuras then seems to vanish from historical record. His suggested identification with Cyrus would help connect the Achaemenid dynasty to the major events of the 7th century BC.
Ashurbanipal died in 627 BC. Cyrus presumably continued paying tribute to his sons and successors Ashur-etil-ilani (627–623 BC) and Sin-shar-ishkun (623 BC – 612 BC). They were both opposed by an alliance led by Cyaxares of Media (633–584 BC) and Nabopolassar of Babylon (626–605 BC).
In 612 BC the two managed to capture the Assyrian capital Nineveh. This was effectively the end of the Neo-Assyrian Empire though remnants of the Assyrian Army under Ashur-uballit II (612–609 BC) continued to resist from Harran.
Media and Babylon soon shared the lands previously controlled by the Assyrians. Anshan apparently fell under the control of the former. Cyrus is considered to have ended his days under the overlordship of either Cyaxares or his son Astyages (584 BC – 550 BC). Cyrus was succeeded by his son Cambyses I. His grandson would come to be known as Cyrus the Great, founder of the Persian Empire.
It has been noted that this account of his life and reign would place his early activities more than a century before those of his grandson. This would place his fathering of Cambyses very late in life and his death at an advanced age.
It has been argued that Kuras and Cyrus were separate figures of uncertain relation to each other. The latter would have then reigned in the early 6th century BC and his reign would seem rather uneventful. Due to the current lack of sufficient records for this historical period it remains uncertain which theory is closer to the facts.
As the eponymous ancestor of the clan, Achaemenes is very often held to be legendary. Apart from Persian royal inscriptions, there are very limited historical sources on Achaemenes; therefore very little, if anything at all, is known for certain about him. It has been proposed that Achaemenes may merely have been a “mythical ancestor of the Persian royal house”. The “Babylonian” Cyrus Cylinder, ascribed to Cyrus the Great, does not mention Achaemenes in an otherwise-detailed genealogy.
Some historians hold that perhaps Achaemenes was a retrograde creation of Darius the Great, made in order to legitimize his connection with Cyrus the Great, after Darius rose to the position of Shah (i.e. King) of Persia in 522 BC (by killing the usurper Gaumata, the so-called “False Smerdis”, who had proclaimed himself King upon the death of Darius’ predecessor, Cambyses II. According to Darius, Gaumata was an impostor pretending to be Cambyses II’s younger, deceased brother Bardiya.
Darius certainly had much to gain in having an ancestor shared by Cyrus and himself, and may have felt the need for a stronger connection than that provided by his subsequent marriage to Cyrus’ daughter Atossa. An inscription from Pasargadae, also ascribed to Cyrus, does mention Cyrus’ descent from Achaemenes; however, historian Bruce Lincoln has suggested that these inscriptions of Cyrus in Pasargadae were engraved during the reign of Darius in c. 510.
In any case, the Persian royal dynasty from Darius onward revered Achaemenes and credited him as the founder of their dynasty. Very little, however, was remembered about his life or actions. Assuming he existed, Achaemenes was most likely a 7th-century BC warrior-chieftain, or the probable first king, who led the Persians, or a tribe of Persians, as a vassal of the Median Empire.
An Assyrian inscription from the time of King Sennacherib in 691 BC, mentions that the Assyrian king almost repelled an attack by Parsuamash and Anzan, with the Medians and others on the city of Halule. Historians contend that if he existed, Achaemenes had to be one of the commanders, leading his Persians with the independent troops of Anshan, during the indecisive Battle of Halule in 691 BC.
Achaemenes is generally known as the leader of one of the clans, known to the Greeks as the Pasargadae (although this identification may been due to a confusion with the Persian Imperial capital city Pasargadae begun by Cyrus the Great (Cyrus II of Persia) around 546 BC), that was one of the some ten to fifteen Persian tribes. Persian royal inscriptions such as the Behistun Inscription place him five generations before Darius the Great. Therefore, according to the Inscriptions, Achaemenes may have lived around 700 BC. The inscriptions do label him as a “king”, which may mean that he was the first official king of the Persians.
Ancient Greek writers provide some legendary information about Achaemenes: they call his tribe the Pasargadae, and say that he was “raised by an eagle”. Plato, when writing about the Persians, identified Achaemenes with Perses, ancestor of the Persians in Greek mythology. According to Plato, Achaemenes/Perses was the son of the Ethiopian queen Andromeda and the Greek hero Perseus, and a grandson of Zeus. Later writers believed that Achaemenes and Perses were different people, and that Perses was an ancestor of the king.
Assuming he existed, Achaemenes was most likely a 7th-century BC warrior-chieftain, or the probable first king, who led the Persians, or a tribe of Persians, as a vassal of the Median Empire. An Assyrian inscription from the time of King Sennacherib in 691 BC, mentions that the Assyrian king almost repelled an attack by Parsuamash and Anzan, with the Medians and others on the city of Halule. Historians contend that if he existed, Achaemenes had to be one of the commanders, leading his Persians with the independent troops of Anshan, during the indecisive Battle of Halule in 691 BC.

The Mannaean Kingdom

However, it was in ancient times the center of the Mannaean Kingdom (country name usually Mannea; Akkadian: Mannai, possibly Biblical Minni). Ancient historians including Strabo, Ptolemy, Herodotus, Polybius, and Pliny, mention names such as Mantiane, Martiane, Matiane, Matiene, to designate a region located to the northwest of Media.
The Mannaean kingdom was situated east and south of the Lake Urmia, roughly centered around the Mahabad plain in this part of what’s today are named as “Azerbaijan region of Iran”. Excavations that began in 1956 succeeded in uncovering the fortified city of Hasanlu, thought to be a potential Mannaean site. More recently, the site of Qalaichi (possibly ancient Izirtu/Zirta) has been linked to the Mannaeans based on a stela with this toponym found at the site.
The Mannaeans, which according to the place and personal names found in Assyrian and Urartian texts, spoke a Hurro-Urartian language, a non-Semitic and non-Indo-European language with no modern language connections, was overrun by the people who were called Matiani or Matieni and were subdued by the Scytho-Kimmerians, an Iranian people variously identified as Scythian, Saka, Sarmatian, or Cimmerian, during the seventh and eighth centuries BC., later followed by the unrelated Iranian peoples, the Medes and the Persians.
Before the Mannaeans were overrun they were neighbors of the empires of Assyria and Urartu, as well as other small buffer states between the two, such as Musasir and Zikirta, an ancient land in northern Zagros, which comprised the easternmost part of Greater Mannae. Geographically it corresponds with the modern counties of Takab and Shahindej in northwestern Iran.
The Mannaean kingdom began to flourish around 850 BC. The Mannaeans were mainly a settled people, practicing irrigation and breeding cattle and horses. The capital was the fortified city Zirta. By the 820s BC they had expanded to become the first large state to occupy this region since the Gutians. By this time they had a prominent aristocracy as a ruling class, who somewhat limited the power of the king.
Beginning around 800 BC, the region became contested ground between Urartu, who built several forts on the territory of Mannea, and Assyria. During open conflict between the two, ca. 750-730 BC, Mannea seized the opportunity to enlarge its holdings. The Mannaean kingdom reached the pinnacle of its power during the reign of Iranzu (ca. 725-720 BC).
In 716 BC, king Sargon II of Assyria moved against Mannea, where the ruler Aza, son of Iranzu, had been deposed by Ullusunu with the help of the Urartians. Sargon took Izirtu, and stationed troops in Parsua (Parsua was distinct from Parsumash located further southeast in what is today known as Fars province in Iran). The Assyrians thereafter used the area to breed, train and trade horses.
According to one Assyrian inscription, the Cimmerians (Gimirru) originally went forth from their homeland of Gamir or Uishdish on the shores of the Black Sea in “the midst of Mannai” around this time. The Cimmerians first appear in the annals in the year 714 BC, when they apparently helped the Assyrians to defeat Urartu.
Urartu chose to submit to the Assyrians, and together the two defeated the Cimmerians and thus kept them out of the Fertile Crescent. At any rate, the Cimmerians had again rebelled against Sargon by 705, and he was killed whilst driving them out. By 679 they had instead migrated to the east and west of Mannea.
The Mannaeans are recorded as rebelling against Esarhaddon of Assyria in 676 BC, when they attempted to interrupt the horse trade between Assyria and its colony of Parsuash.
The king Ahsheri, who ruled until the 650s BC, continued to enlarge the territory of Mannea, although paying tribute to Assyria. However, Mannea suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the Assyrians around 660 BC, and subsequently an internal revolt broke out, continuing until Ahsheri’s death.
Also in the 7th century BC, Mannea was defeated by the advancing Scythians, who had already raided Urartu and been repelled by the Assyrians. Somewhat later (585 BC) destroying Mannea. This defeat contributed to the further break-up of the Mannaean kingdom.
King Ahsheri’s successor, Ualli, as a vassal of Assyria, took the side of the Assyrians against the Iranian Medes (Madai), who were at this point still based to the east along the southwest shore of the Caspian Sea and revolting against Assyrian domination.
The Medes and Persians were subjugated by Assyria. However, the Neo Assyrian Empire which had dominated the region for three hundred years began to unravel, consumed by civil war after the death of Ashurbanipal in 627 BC.
The upheavals in Assyria allowed the Medes to free themselves from Assyrian vassalage and make themselves the major power in ancient Iran at the expense of the Persians, Manneans and the remnants of the indigenous Elamites whose kingdom had been destroyed by the Assyrians. The Medes conquered the remnants of Mannea in 616 BC and absorbed the populace.
In the Bible (Jeremiah 51:27) the Mannaeans are called the Minni. In the Jewish Encyclopedia (1906), “Minni” is identified with Armenia, but maybe it could refer to one of the provinces in ancient Armenia; Minni, Ararat and Ashkenaz.
Matiene was ultimately conquered by the Medes in about 609 BCE., and Matiene became a satrapy of the Median Empire until the Persian conquest, when alongside of the Saspires and Alaradians (remnants of Urartians) it became a part of the XVIII satrapy of the Achaemenid Emire. After suffering several defeats at the hands of both Scythians and Assyrians, the remnants of the Mannaean populace were absorbed by the Medes.
According to the Encyclopædia Iranica: It is unlikely that there was any ethnolinguistic unity in Mannea. Like other peoples of the Iranian plateau, the Manneans were subjected to an ever increasing Iranian (i.e. Indo-European) penetration.
Melikishvili (1949, p. 60) tried to confine the Iranian presence in Mannea to its periphery, pointing out that both Daiukku (cf. Schmitt, 1973) and Bagdatti were active in the periphery of Mannea, but this is imprecise, in view of the fact that the names of two early Mannean rulers, viz. Udaki and Azā, are explicable in Old Iranian terms.
In the early 1930s, it was called Lake Rezaiyeh after Reza Shah Pahlavi, but after the Iranian Revolution in the late 1970s, the lake was renamed Urmia. Its ancient Persian name was Chichast, meaning, “glittering” – a reference to the glittering mineral particles suspended in the lake water and found along its shores. In medieval times it came to be known as Lake Kabuda, or “azure/blue”, in Persian, (“Kapuyt/Gabuyd” in Armenian).
Lake Urmia
Lake Matianus

Caucasus Indo Aryans

Indo-Aryan temples

Brihadishwara Temple

File:In Dargavs North Ossetia.jpg

Charnel vaults at a necropolis near the village of Dargavs, North Ossetia

Armenia Caucasus

The Holy Triad of Armenia

Ḫaldi – Khaldi





File:Urartu God Shivini.jpg



Urartu, corresponding to the biblical Kingdom of Ararat, or Kingdom of Van (Urartian: Biai, Biainili) was an Iron Age kingdom centred around Lake Van in the Armenian Highlands. The kingdom’s native name was Biainili, also spelt Biaineli, (from which is derived the Armenian toponym “Van”).
It comprised an area of approximately 200,000 square miles (520,000 km2), extending from the river Kura in the north, to the northern foothills of the Taurus Mountains in the south; and from the Euphrates in the west to the Caspian sea in the east.
At its apogee, Urartu stretched from the borders of northern Mesopotamia to the southern Caucasus, including present-day Armenia and southern Georgia as far as the river Kura. Archaeological sites within its boundaries include Altintepe, Toprakkale, Patnos and Cavustepe. Urartu fortresses included Erebuni (present day Yerevan city), Van Fortress, Argishtihinili, Anzaf, Cavustepe and Başkale, as well as Teishebaini (Karmir Blur, Red Mound) and others.
Strictly speaking, Urartu is the Assyrian term for a geographical region, while “kingdom of Urartu” or “Biainili lands” are terms used in modern historiography for the Hurro-Urartian speaking Iron Age state that arose in that region.
The landscape corresponds to the mountainous plateau between Asia Minor, Mesopotamia, and the Caucasus mountains, later known as the Armenian Highlands. The kingdom rose to power in the mid-9th century BC, but was conquered by Media in the early 6th century BC. It is often argued that the heirs of Urartu are the Armenians and their successive kingdoms.
The name Urartu comes from Assyrian sources: the Assyrian King Shalmaneser I (1263–1234 BC) recorded a campaign in which he subdued the entire territory of “Uruatri”. The Shalmaneser text uses the name Urartu to refer to a geographical region, not a kingdom, and names eight “lands” contained within Urartu (which at the time of the campaign were still disunited).
Boris Piotrovsky wrote that the Urartians first appear in history in the 13th century B.C. as a league of tribes or countries which did not yet constitute a unitary state. In the Assyrian annals the term Uruatri (Urartu) as a name for this league was superseded during a considerable period of years by the term “land of Nairi”.
Assyrian inscriptions of Shalmaneser I (c. 1274 BC) first mention Uruartri as one of the states of Nairi  – a loose confederation of small kingdoms and tribal states in Armenian Highland in the 13th to 11th centuries BC which he conquered.
Uruartri itself was in the region around Lake Van. Urartu re-emerged in Assyrian inscriptions in the 9th century BC as a powerful northern rival of Assyria. The Nairi states and tribes became a unified kingdom under king Aramu (c. 860 – 843 BC), whose capital at Arzashkun was captured by the Assyrians under Shalmaneser III.
Shupria (Shubria) or Arme-Shupria (Akkadian: Armani-Subartu) was part of the Urartu confederation. It was a Hurrian-speaking kingdom, known from Assyrian sources beginning in the 13th century BC, located in the Armenian Highland, to the southwest of Lake Van, bordering on Ararat proper. Later, there is reference to a district in the area called Arme or Urme, which some scholars have linked to the name Armenia. Scholars have linked the district in the area called Arme or Armani, to the name Armenia.
Weidner interpreted textual evidence to indicate that after the Hurrian king Shattuara of Mitanni was defeated by Adad-nirari I of Assyria in the early 13th century BC, he then became ruler of a reduced vassal state known as Shubria or Subartu. The name Subartu (Sumerian: Shubur) for the region is attested much earlier, from the time of the earliest Mesopotamian records from the 3rd millennium BC.
The land of Subartu, or Subar, is mentioned in Bronze Age literature. The name also appears as Subari in the Amarna letters, and, in the form Šbr, in Ugarit. It was apparently a polity in Northern Mesopotamia, at the upper Tigris. Most scholars accept Subartu as an early name for Assyria proper on the Tigris, although there are various other theories placing it sometimes a little farther to the east, north or west of there.
Its precise location has not been identified. From the point of view of the Akkadian Empire, Subartu marked the northern geographical horizon, just as Martu, Elam and Sumer marked “west”, “east” and “south”, respectively.
The Sumerian mythological epic Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta lists the countries where the “languages are confused” as Subartu, Hamazi, Sumer, Uri-ki (Akkad), and the Martu land (the Amorites). Similarly, the earliest references to the “four quarters” by the kings of Akkad name Subartu as one of these quarters around Akkad, along with Martu, Elam, and Sumer. Subartu in the earliest texts seem to have been farming mountain dwellers, frequently raided for slaves.
Subartu may have been in the general sphere of influence of the Hurrians. There are various alternate theories associating the ancient Subartu with one or more modern cultures found in the region, including Armenian or Kurdish tribes. Some scholars, such as Harvard Professor Mehrdad Izady, claim to have identified Subartu with the current Kurdish tribe of Zibaris inhabiting the northern ring around Mosul up to Hakkari in Turkey.
Together with Armani-Subartu (Hurri-Mitanni), Hayasa-Azzi and other populations of the region such as the Nairi fell under Urartian (Kingdom of Ararat) rule in the 9th century BC, and their descendants, according to most scholars, later contributed to the ethnogenesis of the early Armenians.
Scholars such as Carl Friedrich Lehmann-Haupt (1910) believed that the people of Urartu called themselves Khaldini after their god Khaldi. This is related to Chaldea, which in the early period was the name of a small territory in southern Babylonia extending along the northern and probably also the western shores of the Persian Gulf, also called in Assyrian mat Kaldi “land of Chaldea”, but also to tribes of Semitic settlers who arrived in the region from the 10th century BC.
The short-lived 11th dynasty of the Kings of Babylon (6th century BC) is conventionally known to historians as the Chaldean Dynasty. This period witnessed a general improvement in economic life and agricultural production, and a great flourishing of architectural projects, the arts and science.
The Iron Age Urartian state was the successor of the Late Bronze Age Hurrian state of Mitanni. The Urartian state was in turn succeeded in the area in the 6th century BC by the Indo-European speaking Orontid Armenian kingdom.
In the early 6th century BC, the Urartian Kingdom was replaced by the Armenian Orontid dynasty. In the trilingual Behistun inscription, carved in 521/0 BC by the order of Darius the Great of Persia, the country referred to as Urartu in Assyrian is called Arminiya in Old Persian and Harminuia in Elamite.
The presence of a Proto-Armenian population in the area already during Urartian rule is subject to speculation: It is generally assumed that Proto-Armenian speakers entered Anatolia from around 1200 BC, ultimately deriving from a Paleo-Balkans context, and over the following centuries spread east to the Armenian Highland.
A competing theory suggested by Thomas Gamkrelidze and Vyacheslav V. Ivanov in 1984 places the Proto-Indo-European homeland in the Armenian Highland, see Armenian hypothesis, which would entail the presence of Proto-Armenians in the area during the entire lifetime of the Urartian state.
According to historian M. Chahin, “Urartian history is part of Armenian history, in the same same sense that the history of the ancient Britons is part of English history, and that of the Gauls is part of French history. Armenian can legitimately claim, through Urartu, an historical continuity of some 4000 years; their history is among those of the most ancient peoples in the world.
Urartian, the language used in the cuneiform inscriptions of Urartu, was an ergative-agglutinative language, which belongs to neither the Semitic nor the Indo-European families but to the Hurro-Urartian family. It survives in many inscriptions found in the area of the Urartu kingdom, written in the Assyrian cuneiform script. There are also claims of autochthonous Urartian hieroglyphs, but this remains uncertain.
Unlike the cuneiform inscriptions, Urartian hieroglyphic “texts” have not been successfully deciphered. As a result, scholars disagree as to what language is used in the “texts”, or whether they even constitute writing at all. In mid-1990s, Armenian scientist Artak Movsisyan published a partial attempted deciphering of Urartian hieroglyphs, suggesting that they were written in an early form of Armenian.

The Holy Triad

Ḫaldi (Ḫaldi, also known as Khaldi or Hayk, or Haik Nahapet (Hayk the Tribal Chief) of Ardini (Muṣaṣir), the legendary patriarch and founder of the Armenian nation), the weather-god, Theispas, notably the god of storms and thunder, and sometimes the god of war, of Kumenu, and the Urartian solar god Shivini, or Artinis (the present form of the name is Artin, meaning “sun rising” or to “awake”, and it persists in Armenian names to this day), of Tushpa, was the three chief deities of Ararat (Urartu). Together they make a triad cognate with the triad in Hinduism called Shivam.
Of all the gods of Ararat (Urartu) panthenon, the most inscriptions are dedicated to Khaldi. Khaldi was a warrior god whom the kings of Urartu would pray to for victories in battle. The temples dedicated to Khaldi were adorned with weapons, such as swords, spears, bow and arrows, and shields hung off the walls and were sometimes known as ‘the house of weapons’. His wife was the Urartian’s goddess of fertility and art, Arubani. He is portrayed as a man with or without a beard, standing on a lion.
The Assyrian god Shamash is a counterpart to Shivini. He was depicted as a man on his knees, holding up a solar disc. His wife was most likely a goddess called Tushpuea who is listed as the third goddess on the Mheri-Dur inscription. It is hypothesized that the winged female figures on Urartian ornaments and cauldrons depict this goddess, and that the city of Tushpa derived its name from her. Shivini is generally considered a good god, like that of the Egyptian solar god, Aten, and unlike the solar god of the Assyrians, Ashur to whom sometimes human sacrifices were made.
Theispas is a counterpart to the Assyrian god Adad, and the Hurrian god, Teshub. He was often depicted as a man standing on a bull, holding a handful of thunderbolts. His wife was the goddess Huba, who was the counterpart of the Hurrian mother goddess Hebat, known as “the mother of all living”. The ancient Araratian cities of Teyseba and Teishebaini were named after Theispas.
Together with Teshub, Hebat is mother of Sarruma and Alanzu, as well mother-in-law of the daughter of the dragon Illuyanka. Sarruma’s name means “king of the mountains”. He is the brother of the goddess Inara, the goddess of the wild animals of the steppe, and often depicted riding a tiger or panther and carrying an axe (cf. labrys). His wife is the daughter of the dragon Illuyanka. Inara corresponds to the “potnia theron” of Greek mythology, better known as Artemis.
In one story Telepinu, the Hittite god of the farming, and son of the weather and fertility god, disappears, the Storm-god complains to the Hurrian mother goddess Hannahannah (from Hittite hannas “grandmother”), identified with the Hurrian goddess Hebat, and related to the pre-Sumerian goddess Inanna. She sends him to search himself and when he gives up, she dispatches a bee, charging it to purify the god by stinging his hands and feet and wiping his eyes and feet with wax. She then recommends to the Storm-god that he pay the Sea-god the bride-price for the Sea-god’s daughter on her wedding to Telipinu.
After Inara consulted with Hannahannah, she gave her a man and land. Inara then disappears. Soon after, Inara is missing and when Hannahannah is informed thereof by the Storm-god’s bee, she apparently begins a search with the help of her female attendant.
Apperently like Demeter, Hannahanna disappears for a while in a fit of anger and while she is gone, cattle and sheep are stifled and mothers, both human and animal take no account of their children. The story resembles that of Demeter and her daughter Persephone, in Greek myth.
After her anger is banished to the Dark Earth, she returns rejoicing, and mothers care once again for their kin. Another means of banishing her anger was through burning brushwood and allowing the vapor to enter her body. Either in this or another text she appears to consult with the Sun god and the War god, but much of the text is missing.
In another myth the dragon Illuyanka wins an encounter with the storm god. The latter then asks Inara to give a feast, most probably the Purulli festival. Inara decides to use the feast to lure and defeat Illuyanka, who was her father’s archenemy, and enlists the aid of a mortal named Hupasiyas of Zigaratta by becoming his lover. The dragon and his family gorge themselves on the fare at the feast, becoming quite drunk, which allows Hupasiyas to tie a rope around them. Inara’s father can then kill Illuyanka, thereby preserving creation.
Puruli was a Hattian spring festival, held at Nerik, dedicated to the earth goddess Hannahanna, who is married to a new king. The central ritual of the Puruli festival is dedicated to the destruction of the dragon Illuyanka by the storm god Teshub. The corresponding Assyrian festival is the Akitu of the Enuma Elish. Also compared are the Canaanite Poem of Baal and Psalms 93 and 29.


Muṣaṣir (Assyrian: Mu-ṣa-ṣir and variants, including Mutsatsir, Akkadian for Exit of the Serpent/Snake ), in Urartian Ardini (likely from Armenian Artin) was an ancient city of Urartu, attested in Assyrian sources of the 9th and 8th centuries BC.
It was acquired by the Urartian King Ishpuini ca. 800 BC. The city’s tutelary deity was Ḫaldi. The name Musasir in Akkadian means exit of the serpent.
The Kelashin Stele (also Kelishin Stele) found in Kelashin, Iraq, bears an important Urartian-Assyrian bilingual text dating to ca. 800 BC, first described by Friedrich Eduard Schulz in 1827. Part of Schulz’s notes were lost when he was killed by Kurdish bandits, and later expeditions were either prevented by weather conditions or the brigands, so that a copy (latex squeeze) of the inscription could only be made in 1951 by G. Cameron, and again in 1976 by an Italian party under heavy military protection.
The inscription describes the acquisition of the city of Musasir (Ardini) by the Urartian king Ishpuini.
The city’s location is not known with certainty, although there are a number of hypotheses, all in the Zagros south of Lake Urmia. François Thureau-Dangin tentatively located it at Mudjesir, 10 km west of Topzawa. Reza Heidari, an archaeologist of the “Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization” of Iran’s West Azarbaijan Province claims Rabat Tepe near Sardasht, Iran as the location of Muṣaṣir. Lynch claimed that it was close to the modern town of Rowanduz in Iraqi Kurdistan.


Kummanni (Hittite: Kummiya) was the name of the Anatolian kingdom of Kizzuwatna. Its location is uncertain, but is believed to be near the classical settlement of Comana in Cappadocia.
Kummanni was the major cult center of the Hurrian chief deity, Tešup. Its Hurrian name Kummeni simply translates as “The Shrine.”
The city persisted into the Early Iron Age, and appears as Kumme in Assyrian records. It was located on the edge of Assyrian influence in the far northeastern corner of Mesopotamia, separating Assyria from Urartu and the highlands of southeastern Anatolia. Kumme was still considered a holy city in Assyrian times, both in Assyria and in Urartu. Adad-nirari II, after re-conquering the city, made sacrifices to “Adad of Kumme.”


Tushpa, the capital of Urartu, was located near the shores of Lake Van, on the site of what became medieval Van’s castle, west of present-day Van city. The ruins of the medieval city of Van are still visible below the southern slopes of the rock on which Van Castle is located.
Tushpa (Armenian: Tosp, Assyrian: Turuspa) was the 9th-century BC capital of Urartu, later becoming known as Van which is derived from Biaina the native name of Urartu. The ancient ruins are located just west of Van and east of Lake Van in the Van Province of Turkey.

Caucasus Iran

Solduz – Naqadeh

Urartu in Iran

Iraq map


The UNESCO World Heritage Committee will consider Iran’s second case of geo-park in the country’s northwest for a possible inscription on the World Heritage list, an Iranian official said.

UNESCO to consider Iran second geo-park for heritage list

The Gadar River

The Gadar River rises in the Iranian Zagros Mountains near the point where the borders of Iran, Turkey and Iraq meet. From its source, the river first flows towards the southeast and then changes course due east through the Ushnu-Solduz valley. After leaving the valley, the river turns north and flows into marshes bordering Lake Urmia.
The length of the river is approximately 100 kilometres (62 mi), its drainage basin is variously estimated as 1,900 square kilometres (730 sq mi) and 2,123 square kilometres (820 sq mi) and its discharge is 0.34 cubic metres (12 cu ft) per second. The Ushnu-Solduz valley has been occupied since many millennia, as testified by the excavations at sites like Hasanlu Tepe and Hajji Firuz Tepe.

Hasanlu Tepe

Hasanlu Tepe is a large, mounded archaeological site of an ancient city located in northwest Iran (in the province of West Azerbaijan), a short distance south of Lake Urmia (ancient name: Lake Matiene). It is the largest site in the Gadar River valley and dominates the small plain known as Solduz, today known as Naqadeh.
Hasanlu Tepe is the largest site in the Gadar River valley and dominates the small plain known as Solduz. The site consists of a 25m high central “citadel” mound, with massive fortifications and paved streets, surrounded by a low outer town, 8m above the surrounding plain. The entire site, once much larger but reduced in size by local agricultural and building activities, now measures about 600m across, with the citadel having a diameter of about 200 m.
The site was inhabited fairly continuously from the 6th millennium BC to the 3rd century AD. It is famous for the “Gold Bowl” found by a team from the University of Pennsylvania led by Robert Dyson.
The nature of its destruction at the end of the 9th century BC essentially froze one layer of the city in time, providing researchers with extremely well preserved buildings, artifacts, and skeletal remains from the victims and enemy combatants of the attack.
Hasanlu was the focus of excavations carried out by the University of Pennsylvania Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York, and the Archaeological Service of Iran from 1956 to 1977 under the general direction of Robert H. Dyson, Jr.
The site of Hasanlu was excavated in 10 seasons between 1956 and 1974 by a team from the University Museum, University of Pennsylvania and the Metropolitan Museum. The project was directed by Robert H. Dyson, Jr. and is considered today to have been an important training ground for a generation of highly successful Near Eastern archaeologists.
Originally, excavations in the Ushnu-Solduz Valley were intended to explore a series of stratified occupation levels in the area with the objective of reconstructing a regional cultural history from Neolithic times until Alexander the Great’s conquest of Persia beginning in 334 BC, such that any conclusions would rely solely on material evidence from the region itself, independent of linguistic or literary evidence from adjoining regions.
The unexpected discovery of the famous “Gold Bowl” at Hasanlu in 1958 led to the project shifting its focus to the Iron Age levels at this site, although several other sites in the region were also excavated in order to stay in line with the project’s broader objective. These other excavations were conducted at Dinkha Tepe, Dalma Tepe, Hajji Firuz Tepe, Agrab Tepe, Pisdeli, and Seh Girdan.
The excavators originally divided the site’s occupation history into ten periods based on the nature of material finds in the different strata: the oldest, period X, stretches back to the Neolithic period, after which there was fairly continuous occupation until the early Iron Age (ca 1250-330 BC), followed by a hiatus before subsequent reoccupation; occupation finally ends in Iran’s medieval period (Hasanlu period I).
Starting in the Middle Bronze III period or hasanlu VIa (1600–1450 BC), there are important changes in material culture. This is best attested at the site of Dinkha Tepe, but is also present at Hasanlu.
The most obvious change is the rapid abandonment of old styles of pottery, especially painted Khabur Ware, and the increased importance in producing monochrome unpainted pottery that is frequently polished or burnished. This ware is known as Monochrome Burnished Ware or, formerly, “Grey Ware” — the ware occurs in a wide range of colors and this is something of a misnomer.
In the Late Bronze Age or Hasanlu Period V, Monochrome Burnished Ware comes to dominate the ceramic assemblages of the Ushnu and Solduz valleys of the southern Lake Urmia Basin. Some scholars link changes in pottery forms to cultural contact with Assyria, this being a period of expansion for the Middle Assyrian kingdom, when such kings as Adad-nirari I (1295-1264 BC), Shalmaneser I (1263-1234 BC), and Tukulti-Ninurta I (1233-1197 BC) were conducting campaigns into the Zagros mountains to the south. During this time, there was occupation on the High Mound and Low Mound of Hasanlu, and graves have been excavated at Dinkha Tepe and Hasanlu.
At around 1250 BC, there are some changes in the material culture at Hasanlu and in the graves excavated at Dinkha. This marks the beginning of the Iron I period, formerly identified with Hasanlu Period V but now the equivalent of Hasanlu IVc.
While this period is designated the Iron I, there is virtually no iron in use during this period – two iron finger rings are known from Hasanlu. The High Mound of Hasanlu was almost certainly fortified during this period, and an internal gateway, large residential structures, and possibly a temple were located in this citadel.
The Low Mound was also occupied. The best evidence of this coming from a house excavated in 1957 and 1959 dubbed the “Artisan’s House”. This structure derives it name from the fact that evidence for metalworking, primarily the casting of copper/bronze objects, was found there.
At the end of Hasanlu IVc/Iron I, Hasanlu was destroyed by a fire. Evidence of this destruction was discovered on the High andLow Mound. This destruction dates to around 1050 BC and it marks the beginning of the Iron II period.
While the destruction was extensive, the settlement’s occupants seem to have rebuilt the citadel and the buildings of the Lower Town rapidly, cutting down the mudbrick walls of the burned structures to their stone footings and erecting new brick walls.
The buildings of the Iron II settlement were based on their Iron I precursors, but were also larger and more elaborate in their layout and ornamentation. The primary example of this being the monumental columned halls of the citadel.
The continued presence in significant quantities of Assyrian goods or copies, alongside objects of local manufacture, attest to continued cultural contact with Assyria at this time; iron first appears in bulk at Hansanlu at around the same time Assyria seized control of the metal trade in Asia Minor.
While the Neo-Assyrian Empire was beginning a period of renewed power and influence in the 9th century, it is also at this time that the existence of the kingdom of Urartu, centered around Lake Van, is first attested in the Neo-Assyrian annals and related literature. By the time we hear about it, it is already a fully developed state – the circumstances attending its rise in the 2nd millennium are obscure.
Urartu’s expansion during this period brought the area south of Lake Urmia under its influence, although material finds at Hasanlu suggest that the city may have remained independent. Nevertheless, Hansanlu was catastrophically destroyed,
We know a great deal about Iron II/Hasanlu IVb because of the violent sacking and burning at around 800 BC, probably by the Urartians. Over 150 human victims were found where they had been slain. Some victims were mutilated and distributions of other bodies and the wounds they received suggest mass executions.
Amid the burned remains of the settlement the excavators found thousands of objects in situ. Hasanlu IVb is a veritable Pompeii of the early Iron Age Near East. Some have suggested that the Iron II culture of Hasanlu, which has close ties to Mesopotamia and northern Syria, indicates the settlement came under the control of a foreign power, or experienced an influx of new occupants, or perhaps made internal changes to its political system.
The Iron II settlement was fortified and was perhaps entered via a fortified road system located on the southwest side of the High Mound, although this interpretation of the archaeological remains of this area has come under increasing scrutiny in more recent analyses. Two areas of the citadel were investigated by the Hasanlu Project.
In the west, buildings that served to control access into the citadel, a possible arsenal (Burned Building VII), and a large residential structure (Burned Building III) were investigated. South of this was Burned Building (BB) I and BB I East.
These buildings formed a fortified gateway into the Lower Court area. BBI was also an elite residence. It was in this building in 1958 that the famous Gold Bowl of Hasanlu was discovered.
The buildings of the Lower Court (BBII, BBIV, BBBIV East, and BBV were arranged around a stone-paved court. Burned Building II likely served as a temple, and it was in this building that the excavators found over 70 massacred women and children — only a few adult males were found among the victims.
Following Hasanlu’s destruction, the High Mound was used as the site for a Urartian fortress. A fortification wall with towers at regular intervals was constructed around the edges of the High Mound. Hasanlu was occupied fairly continuously during Period IIIa (the Achaemenid Period) and Period II (the Seleuco-Parthian Period).
The Hasanlu Publications Project was initiated in 2007 to produce the official monograph-length final reports on the excavation. Currently two Excavation Reports and several Special Studies volumes have been completed.
The purpose of this website is to present the results of the Hasanlu Publications Project, which is currently preparing the final excavation reports on the massive corpus of data produced by the excavations and archaeological surveys carried out at Hasanlu and in the surrounding region.  Currently we are working on the final report on Hasanlu Period IVb, the famous citadel that was sacked and burned around 800 B.C., a veritable Pompeii of the Iron Age Near East.

Hajji Firuz Tepe

Hajji Firuz Tepe is an archaeological site located in West Azarbaijan province in northwestern Iran. The site was excavated between 1958 and 1968 by archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The excavations revealed a Neolithic village that was occupied in the second half of the sixth millennium BC where some of the oldest archaeological evidence of grape-based wine was discovered in the form of organic residue in a pottery jar.
Although the excavations focused primarily on the Neolithic occupation layers of the site, evidence for later occupation was also attested. On different parts of the tell, material from the Chalcolithic, Late Bronze Age/Iron Age and Islamic (eleventh century AD) periods was recovered, although the Neolithic occupation seems to have been the most significant occupation.
Hajji Firuz Tepe is a tell, or settlement mound, of roughly oval shape measuring 200 by 140 metres (660 by 460 ft) at its base and reaching an elevation of 10.3 metres (34 ft) above the plain, but archaeological deposits also continue to an unknown depth below the modern surface of the plain.
The plain in which Hajji Firuz Tepe is located lies in the northwestern part of the Zagros Mountains at an elevation of 1,300–1,350 metres (4,300–4,430 ft) amsl. The Gadar River flows through it toward the east to eventually end in marshes bordering Lake Urmia.
The area is an important crossroads, with routes leading in all directions, including an easy route toward the west, crossing the Zagros Mountains via Rowanduz and Arbil toward the Mesopotamian Plains. The Gadar River valley falls within both the modern and ancient distribution zones of the wild grape (Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris) and of the terebinth.
The evidence for winemaking consisted of six 9-litre (2.4 US gal) jars that were embedded in the floor of what archeologists suspect was a kitchen area in a mudbrick building that was inhabited some time between 5400–5000 BC. Inside was yellowish deposits that chemical analysis showed contained residue of tartaric acid and calcium tartrate. Additionally, analysis found deposit of resin, identified as from the terebinth tree (Pistacia terebinthus) that grew wild in the area. It is possible that the resin was used as a preservative, in a manner similar to the Greek wine Retsina still being produced today, suggesting that winemaking in Hajji Firuz Tepe was deliberately taking place over 7,000 years ago.
While the residue in the jar is not definitive proof of winemaking, it does provide strong evidence for the possibility. Grapes are unique in being one of the few natural sources for tartaric acid, which is the most abundant acid in wine and often crystallizes into deposits that are left in containers that have held wine. Grapes also have a natural propensity to break down into alcohol by a process that we now know as fermentation where the yeast on the grape skins metabolize the sugar in the grapes into alcohol. This happens most readily in a close container that is kept in room temperature. Whether or not the action was deliberate, storing grapes in jars that were then embedded in the floor would have created conditions favorable for wine production.
The presence of the terebinth resin deposits in the same container as the wine give a stronger indication that winemaking was perhaps deliberate in Hajji Firuz Tepe. Resin has had a long history of being used as ancient sealant and preservative, even before it became associated with winemaking by the ancient Greeks. The volume that was stored (54 litres (14 US gal)) also seems to indicate large scale production beyond just household storage of a food product for sustenance. Additionally, archaeologists found clay stoppers, corresponding in size to the opening of the jars, nearby that also suggest a deliberate attempt at long term preservation and protection from air exposure.
The Zagros Mountains, which separate modern day Iran from Armenia, Iraq and Turkey, is home to many wild species of grapevines in the Vitis family. While wild vines are distinguished by separate male and female vines, the potential for pollination and the production of grapes could have easily happened, providing the Aryan inhabitants access to grapes.
Several archaeological sites in the Zagros Mountains have uncovered similar findings as Hajji Firuz Tepe of jars containing tartaric deposits and wine residues. South of Hajji Firuz Tepe is Godin Tepe, a site that appears to have been inhabited just after the neolithic period (around 3500–3000 BC).
Archaeologists there have discovered even more evidence of large scale winemaking with 30-litre (7.9 US gal) and 60-litre (16 US gal) wine jars as well as large basins containing wine residue, indicating that they might have been used for treading grapes as an early wine press. The residue on the jars was also found on the side of the containers, rather than the bottom, indicating that these jars were kept on their side, most likely for long term storage.

Godin Tepe

Godin Tepe is an archaeological site in western Iran, situated in the valley of Kangavar in Kermanshah Province. Discovered in 1961, the site was excavated from 1965 to 1973 by a Canadian expedition headed by T. Cuyler Young Jr. and sponsored by the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto, Canada). The importance of the site was due to its control over the early lapis-lazuli trade between Badakhshan in Afghanistan and the Mesopotamian flood plain. Cuyler-Young suggested the existence of Elamite trading posts at the site established by merchants from Susa.
Although the excavations concentrated on levels II (ended c. 500 BC?) to V (c. 3200 BC-3000 BC), the site was inhabited since much earlier, c. 5000 BC. Traces of wine and beer found in ceramics dated to c. 3500 BC. and along with the findings at Hajji Firuz Tepe, provide evidence of the early production of those beverages in the Zagros Mountains
During the 1973 campaign, level V was excavated through a deep cut from the citadel. It was occupied during the period 3200 BC-3000 BC. At the end of level V there was a clear gap in the settlement sequence. There were signs of fire, such as room 22 whose roof was burned. The houses were in general well-preserved and contained many artefacts, but objects made of the precious metal were lacking. The archaeological evidence support the idea the settlement was abandoned quickly, but in an orderly manner.
The pottery of level V show influences from the Uruk culture, with parallels at Susa, Uruk (IV) and Nippur. The typical Jemdet Nasr tall storage jars, known from Nippur, and the bevelled rim bowls of Uruk are missing however.
Thirteen seal impressions and two cylinder seals were found at level V. They were obviously produced locally, as shown by the discovery of an uncarved cylinder. The seal impressions show a parallel with Uruk, Susa and other sites in Khuzestan. They were partly decorated with drill holes. Steatite served as raw material for these, sometimes treated with tempering.
At level V some 43 clay tablets were found of which 27 were preserved in one piece. They contained primarily accounts, like those discovered at temporary Proto-Elamite and Uruk period sites in western Iran and Mesopotamia.
Level IV (3000-2650 BC) represents the “invasion” of the northern Yanik-culture (or Transcaucasian Early Bronze I culture), best known from Yanik Tepe (Azerbaijan). The only notable architectural remains of this period consist of a number of plastered hearths.
T.Cuyler Young Jr. defined three main groups of pottery for Level IV. Two of these groups belong to Transcaucasian Early Bronze Age Culture. One of these groups bears two types of coarse ware tempered with coarse grit.
One of these types is characterized by a grey-black burnished surface mostly with contrasting colours in the interior and exterior of the vessels. This type of coarse ware was used for producing bowls entirely. Conical bowls decorated with incised and excised designs are common; the incised designs are occasionally filled with a whitish paste.
The second type of coarse ware is lighter in colour, often tan or pinkish buff. The surface of the vessels is either burnished or plain. Besides bowls there are jars with protruding rims and concave or recessed necks .
The second group of Transcaucasian Pottery found at Godin Tepe was classified as Common Ware. The fabric of this group was tempered by medium-fine grit and was not well-fired. This group of pottery has the same colour range like the coarse ware. The surfaces are highly burnished though the vessels with a light interior and dark exterior are predominant. The forms consist entirely of cups, including the recessed neck types. The decoration is similar in style and technique to the previous coarse wares, but the excised designs are less common.
Level III (c. 2600 BC-1500/1400 BC) shows connections with Susa and most of Luristan, and it has been suggested that it belonged to the Elamite confederacy. Near 1400 BC, Godin Tepe was abandoned and was not re-occupied until c. 750 BC.
Level II is represented by a single structure, a fortified, mud brick walled architectural complex (133 m x 55 m) occupied by a Mede chief. The columned halls are in the same architectural tradition of the later Persian halls (Pasargadae, Susa, Persepolis), first documented at Hasanlu (V). The Level II pottery (only wheel-made micaceous buff ware) have strong parallels with Iron Age sites as Baba Jan (I), Jameh Shuran (IIa), Tepe Nush-i Jan and Pasargadae.
Godin was again abandoned during the 6th century BC, perhaps as a result or in anticipation of the expansion of Cyrus the Great (c. 550 BC) (Brown 1990) or due to the interruption of a social stratification and secondary State formation process after the fall of Assyria.
Hasanlu Tepe
Hajji Firuz Tepe
Godin Tepe