عنوان مقاله [English]
The issue of economic interactions is one of the components of the reconstruction of the social history of human societies based on real evidence that has received attention since the middle of the twentieth century in research about changes in ancient social organizations. From the middle of the twentieth century onwards, efforts have been made to explain the cultural changes of the societies in the past in relation to their environmental resources from a processed-based evolutionary perspective )Steward, 1942: 337- 43(. These topics continued to expand and improve in the form of research about economic and social dynamics and social and economic relations of ancient societies) Polanyi, 1963: 30-45(. Influenced by new archaeological approaches, issues such as organization and scale of production and distribution, and cultural interactions were introduced to investigate the social and economic history of ancient societies )Costin, 1991: 1-55). In the course of cultural interactions between different regions in Southwest Asia, trade networks, mechanisms for the exchange of raw materials and handicrafts, and trans-regional relations emerged. Accordingly, people could travel between societies and exchange ideas. Additionally, political principles and central institutions were formed and the economic-social dynamics came about (Brumfiel and Earle, 1971: 1-9). Furthermore, the Iranian Plateau has also played an important role in the developments in the 3rd and 4th millennia B.C. in Southwest Asia (Tosi, Malek Shahmirzadi & Joyenda, 1992: 310-261).
The cultural relations between Iran and its neighbors, including Mesopotamia and the Indian subcontinent, have existed for thousands of years. Relations between these regions have long been considered by researchers from different disciplines such as archeology, economics, history, politics, and culture and art (Majidzadeh, 1989: 150-152). The proximity of these civilizations encouraged many interactions. One of the most important fields that investigate these interactions is archeology, which can help reconstruct cultural and economic interactions and relations between the human settlements in the Iranian Plateau and the neighboring regions, by using various research instruments and patterns and by studying discovered cultural artifacts (Seyyed Sejjadi, 2001: 131-140). Most of these regions were known as one geographic region in the past. By looking at their past, we find that the third millennium B.C. was one of their most important periods. Among the most significant regions that had direct relations with their neighboring civilizations is Southeast Iran, with urban civilizations such as Shahr-e Sukhteh (the Burned City), Bampur, Yahya and Jiroft, which have been studied. Accordingly, the following questions can be raised:
1. What has been the role of precious stones trade in the development of settlements in the southeastern part of the Iranian Plateau during the third millennium?
2. How was precious stones trade done and how did it find its way to neighboring territories, especially Mesopotamia and the Indian subcontinent?
The purpose of this study was to study part of this enormous economic system and the relations through trade between the settlements in southeastern Iran and the neighboring tribes, especially in Mesopotamia and the Indian subcontinent civilizations (i.e. Harappa, Mohenjo-Daro, and Baluchestan in Pakistan) during the third millennium B.C. This can be an important step in understanding the regional production system and commercial-cultural exchanges in the Iranian Plateau, given the special features of this region with its easily accessible enormous mines.
3- Research methodology
The present research is based on information obtained from archaeological explorations and studies on the subject of the study as well as library resources. The research data were collected using the descriptive-comparative study methodology, where similar and contemporaneous data were compared and analyzed to form a conclusion.
One of the most important factors that account for the growth and development of human civilizations has been the commercial relations between different peoples. These complex and dynamic relations, which comprise part of the productive activities of a community, are a vital part of any social and economic structure. Of the major trade items were precious stones (turquoise, soapstone and lazuli) that were widely used in the ancient world, especially in the third millennium B.C. (Jarrige and Meadow, 1980: 101). The greater bulk of the discovered stones are from different sites in Mesopotamia, Iran, and the sub-continent of India, which are all come from the eastern parts of Iran. For example, soapstone that was discovered in Mesopotamia, comes from Yahya Hill and Shahdad Hill in southeastern Iran. Another precious and important stone type is the lapis lazuli (Figure 1), which played a major role in the third millennium trades. Coming from Badakhshan mines (Maps 1 and 2), lapis lazuli stones have been discovered as finished and unfinished artifacts in Shahr-e Sukhteh (the Burned City), Shahdad and Mesopotamia.
As previously mentioned, the history of Iran's cultural relations with its neighbors, including Mesopotamia, India and Pakistan, goes back to prehistoric millennia. In the third millennium B.C., factors such as natural resources, natural evolution and population growth led to the emergence of urban communities in southeastern Iran, which led to creation of regional and trans-regional trade networks in order to meet their needs. Based on a typological comparison of cultural artifacts, it was revealed that the eastern regions in the Iranian Plateau had extensive relations with their neighboring regions in Mesopotamia, India (the Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro civilizations) and Pakistan (Baluchestan). It should be noted that relations between cultures, especially in the Bronze Age, is a complex topic, particularly when our research is limited to cultural artifacts such as pottery and mineral materials. To compensate for it, other cultural finds which have been obtained through archaeological explorations should be incorporated into the comparative view. The study describes the factors that contributed to formation of relations during the third millennium B.C., including most notably, the geographical proximity of the regions to each other and the need for goods, particularly minerals and raw materials. This led to the expansion of trade and cultural-artistic, economic, and even socio-political relations. As an example, the need for Badakhshan lapis lazuli stone was one of the most important reasons for developing relations in those communities.
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