Iranian Chalcolithic

  • Brian L. Peasnall


The Chalcolithic tradition in Iran coincided with the latter part of the Climatic Optimum (10,000-6000 b.p.). Due to greater solar insulation, summers were somewhat hotter and winters colder than today. In neighboring Mesopotamia, the Chalcolithic tradition was marked by a wet monsoonal climatic regime, with rainfall beginning earlier in the fall and ending later in the spring. Annual seasonality appears to have been extreme, especially in northern Mesopotamia. Summers were intensely arid. During the winter, violent rainstorms resulted in erosion of the dry soils, incision of wadis, and the possible destruction of settlements. The extent to which Iran was affected by these climatic events is uncertain, since the mountain-ringed plateau configuration would have sheltered it from these conditions to some extent. The southern plateau region, which is affected by the monsoon system today, would have been affected by these climatic shifts to a greater degree than the interior face of the Zagros mountains. Like today, summers in this part of the plateau were hot, and winters were relatively mild, occasionally dropping slightly below freezing.


Wild Boar Ceramic Vessel Peabody Museum Zagros Region Spindle Whorl 
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Suggested Readings

  1. Carter, E., and M. Stolper (1984). Elam: Surveys of Political History and Archaeology. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian L. Peasnall
    • 1
  1. 1.Near East SectionUniversity of Pennsylvania MuseumPhiladelphiaUSA

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