Examining the architecture of the proto Elamite and Elamite periods according to Tal-e-Malyan as ancient city of Anshan in Fars

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Associate Professor, School of Architecture, College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran

2 Architecture, University College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

3 Faculty of Architecture, University College of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


The city of Anshan in the basin of the Kur River is the heart of the Elamite land during the late third millennium/early second millennium BC. However, there are important architectural remains in Proto Elamit period in this city During 3400-2800 B.C. as well. Numerous Elamite inscriptions found in Susa cited the Middle Elamite Empires, kings of Susa or Anshan. Although Susa has a continuity of accommodation during the pre-Islamic period and the site is well recognized, the exact location of Anshan was ambiguous. There were several discussions and assumptions about the location of the capital of Anshan (For example by Roman Ghirshman). After the excavations of William Sumner and Elizabeth Carter in 1970s, new findings specifically the Lambert brick, the Elamite Cuneiform inscriptions of clay tablets found in burned building of EDD operation and Elamite glazed clay knob, showed Tall-e-Malyan is the city of Anshan. Despite the importance of this city and rich archeological resources in English, a careful study of its findings and architectural remains in the excavated area of Tal-e-Malyan is limited in Persian. The research method is monograph and due to the lack of architectural remains on the ground, it has been done with the help of studying the first-hand sources such as monographs of (Sumner, 2003), (Nicolas, 1990), (Carter, 1996), (Miller, 2004), and (Alden, 2005). At first, evidences of city of Anshan found in Malyan were presented in archeological findings. Later, the plan of buildings were analyzed. Every important object or building division and details that were related to the rooms, open spaces and corridors of excavated plan such as copper objects or hearts were documented in analytic tables and were presented by color coding of the plans. In ABC, 4 building levels and in AUD, 3 building levels were examined in Proto Elamit period. In EDD, an important building with a corridor and central courtyard is examined in middle Elamite period. Findings showed that there are important evidences of advanced architectural remains in details, functions and divisions in Malyan, proper for an important city such as:1- A 20 m wide city wall that encloses a 200-hectare area (Miller, Sumner, 2004) 2-The high-status residential area and commercial-scale craft production and associated record keeping in proto Elamite period (Sumner, 2003) and extra-local trade in the Middle Elamite period (Carter, 1996). 3.Progress in architectural structure and space such as regular size mud brick, use of lime mortar, use of installation-related details such as drainage pits, regular masonry work as perpendicular walls with bonded intersections, linear spatial organization, presence of decorated spaces with wall paintings, elaborated rooms with rectangular hearth in proto Elamite period. Two important features in Iranian architecture as central courtyard and a columned corridor around it which is common specifically in caravanserais of Sassanid period in found in burned building of Middle Elamite period in EDD operation which turn the origin of these two important features back to second millennium B.C. The research ends with a focus of the need to preserve Malyan as an important heritage of Proto Emlite and Elamite period.


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