team of American Archaeologists of the Oriental Institute
of the University of Chicago, who started excavations in
the southwestern province of Khuzestan last year for the
first time after the 1979 Revolution, will
travel there once more in February 2004 to study the first
signs of irrigation systems in Ancient Iran.
According to Chicago Chronicle, published by Chicago
University, the new round of the Archaeological studies in
Khuzestan province will aim to gather more information on
a region where some of antiquity’s most dramatic
hydro-engineering projects were once located.
"There are two major revolutions in human history,
and both of them are well represented in this area,”
said Professor Abbas Alizadeh, Senior Research Associate in the
Oriental Institute. “The first revolution was the
agricultural revolution, in which people gained control
over their food supply and began living in villages. The
second revolution was the urban revolution in which people
developed cities and created the institutions we have
Important changes began in the area in the fourth
millennium B.C., when a climatic change brought on a need
to create irrigation. Research by the team showed that the
plains were periodically flooded, and early farmers
probably planted crops in the freshly moistened land, much
as Egyptian farmers planted their fields after the
flooding of the Nile.
Farmers may have begun channeling water during the time
when the area was flooded, and that could have provided
knowledge that later led to the building of irrigation
canals, the researchers said.
That change in farming practices spurred the development
of urban civilization as a greater degree of organization
was required to manage irrigation systems than was needed
in farming villages using conventional agriculture. The
irrigation system in Khuzestan probably developed
contemporaneously with the emergence of irrigation in
nearby Mesopotamia, which likely connected the people in
the two areas, Alizadeh said.
“Many of the mega-projects of the ancient Near East were
developed in Khuzestan, dams that were the Hoover Dams of
their day, for instance,” Nicholas Kouchoukos, Assistant
Professor in Anthropology, said. The region was the home
of Elamite culture, which also was known as the Susiana
culture, named for Susa, one of the capitals of Elam.
Last fall, Alizadeh and Kouchoukos visited the
archaeologically rich area of Khuzestan, and Alizadeh
stayed in Iran to work with local archaeologists on the
development of a new research center at the National
Museum, also taking part in the first international
conference of "Ancient Cultural Relations between
Iran and West Asia".