News ID: 238884
Published: 1226 GMT February 15, 2019

Sialk Mounds of Kashan, Iran’s oldest human settlement

Sialk Mounds of Kashan, Iran’s oldest human settlement

The Sialk mounds of Kashan city, Isfahan Province, also known as ‘Tappe Sialk’, is located approximately three kilometers southwest of the city center. These ancient mounds are more than 7,000 years old. Cultural heritage experts regard it as one of the tourist attractions of Kashan.

The site includes two separate mounds 600 meters from each other and located near the Kashan-Fin road. Nowadays, with the urban developments both in Kashan and Fin, you can say that the site is within Kashan toward Fin neighborhood. There are two major cemeteries in Sialk historic mounds according to the archeological findings. One dates back to 3,500 years ago while the other is 3,000 years old, wrote.



Relics from Sialk Mounds, the oldest human settlement


Archeologists have conducted numerous studies on Sialk mounds and registered countless discoveries. They believe the people of the area had chosen this spot to settle in since approximately 7,000 years ago. At that time, it had an ideal condition for cultivation and that is why people began to inhabit this spot.

There are two main reasons why ancient people had chosen this location to settle in:


The existence of the water running from Soleymaniyeh Fountain since 7,000 years ago, which is still flowing.

● The discovery of a one-meter-thick sedimentary layer that must be the evidence of a river from this Fountain.



The river originating from Soleymaniyah Fountain irrigated the Fin gardens before heading toward Kashan City until the last century. The ancient city of Kashan, which emerged later, owes its existence somewhat to Soleymaniyeh Fountain.

Studies conducted by Roman Ghirshman, the famous French archeologist, and his colleagues led to the discovery of valuable remnants and objects in this archeological site. They managed to unearth the valuable treasures in the city, which are symbolic of the culture and civilization of the area. Due to these archeological studies, today we consider Sialk mounds the oldest human settlement on the Iranian plateau.

Ghirshman and his colleagues discovered numerous archeological findings in this historic mound from 1933 to 1937. They published their findings in foreign journals. The research team studied Sialk mounds and its cemeteries and published the conclusion of their studies in 1938.

During studies and discoveries on Sialk mounds, archeologists discovered a large number of clay objects and several human skeletons. The National Museum of Iran maintains and exhibits some of these objects to visitors.

The research team discovered a number of potteries in different shapes dating back to about 3,500 years ago.

Archeologists found out that people who lived in Kashan on these historic mounds used metals to make their own tools and essentials. The discovery of metal tools, such as spears and spindles, is a solid proof for that.


Pottery with embossed patterns


According to archeologists’ reports of excavations in Sialk mounds, the earliest inhabitants of this settlement constructed their houses in the form of mud huts. The ancient people of the area built their houses using sun-dried clay. According to historical findings, the construction of mud huts in Sialk mounds of Kashan has evolved over time.

Archeologists believe that these people used kilns to make various potteries. The potteries unearthed in this site are full of varied and attractive patterns and motifs.

The settlers of this area made jars of various sizes and many of them had narrow spouts and large bodies. Potters used to carve plant or animal motifs on the jar bodies and then placed them in the kilns to form their final shape.

According to recent findings, archeologists have unearthed a large number of ancient metal objects and potteries from the cemeteries of the area. The discovery made the researchers infer that people living at this site believed in life after death. Therefore, they buried some objects and equipment along with the dead bodies.

When Ghirshman and his assistants began to study the second cemetery of these historic mounds, they found out that the mounds relics were much older than they thought. Unfortunately, a large number of these objects are lost.

They examined the graves in the area and recorded their findings. Based on these findings, people used cut stones or bricks to make the grave. They also found lots of specially designed potteries in the graves.


Sialk Mounds, industrial area throughout history


The Louvre Museum in Paris houses some of the objects of these ancient mounds. The potteries with beautiful designs are among the valuable and unique objects of Sialk mounds. In addition, the researchers discovered melting kilns in the southern part of the mounds.

The discovery of metal-melting kiln by archaeologists indicates that people in the area used metals in the millennia BC to make tools. This led archeologists to identify the region as an industrial city in the antiquity.

The artisans in that era used decorative ornaments, bread-baking ovens and particular seals with special scripts for the exchange of goods. These handmade products are among other archeological discoveries of the area.

To date, the Sialk mounds experienced many changes. Therefore, the historic values of the site have largely diminished. However, the tourism authorities of Iran have recently organized the site to attract more tourists. More can be done so that people can get a better understanding of this ancient human settlement and the importance of the site for Iranian history.

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