Around 5000 BC, the earth underwent a dramatic change in climate due to the formation of farms and meadows. This caused the cavemen of the Iran plateau to choose the plains for living. The beginning of this way of life caused them to make significant progress compared to previous eras; Among the cavemen of that time, the Silk people were the oldest people to live in the plains, and the history of Silk Hill, which is about 7,000 years old, is the proof of this claim.
Silk hill is an ancient region in the southwest of Kashan. This region is known as the first civilization of urban life in central Iran. This hill is a place of worship for the people and is built of clay and pottery. The architectural style of this ziggurat (a rectangular stepped tower, sometimes surmounted by a temple) or shrine is very similar to the cities of Mesopotamia and Iran and the top of it is in the shape of a pyramid.
Excavations at Silk Hill uncovered the Silk Shrine, called the Ziggurat in the Akkadian language. Also, the skeletons of several people along with ancient vessels are other valuable discoveries of this region, some of which are kept in the Louvre Museum in Paris and others in the Museum of the Fin Garden in Kashan. According to archaeologists, the people of this civilization buried their dead on the floor of the room. These rooms had no paving and bricks, and the interior walls of the rooms were made of mud. They seem to have buried the dead in a squatting or crouching position and placed several objects next to them.
Shredded pottery dating back several thousand years is scattered on and around the hillside. Some tools are made of metal, which shows the ability of these people to melt metals. In the southern part of Silk, furnaces for melting metals have been discovered, indicating that the Silk civilization is one of the most advanced civilizations of antiquity. Also, the existence of weaving and spinning Spindles indicates the existence of the spinning and weaving industry in this civilization.
The results of archeological excavations on the Silk Hills divide its civilization into six distinct cultural eras, which are:
This period is related to the oldest or the first inhabitants of the northern hill, which was formed about seven thousand years ago. According to Gershman (a famous French archeologist specialist in ancient Persia), early settlers lived in makeshift huts made of straw and twigs and covered with mud. Then the houses were built with stratified walls. People living in the northern hills probably baked their pottery in kilns.
The second era
In the second era, geometric, plant, and animal motifs were used on pottery surfaces. The people of this period hunted and farmed, and also found natural copper stones and extracted them to make small ornaments. They buried their dead, burying the surface of their bodies with a thin layer of ocher solution, and burying them under the floor of their houses with gifts. They also made the walls of their houses with handmade clay.
About 6,100 years ago, the inhabitants of the northern hills left their homes, and some of them probably settled about 600 meters south of the northern hills (that is, in the southern hills). During this period, houses were built with rectangular bricks and the culture of burying the dead was the same as in the previous period.
In the middle of the third era, people used pottery wheels and the pottery was baked in special ovens that could control their heat. In addition to previous motifs, human motifs were also used to decorate these potteries. Botanical research shows that “Kashan” had a temperate climate in this period. During this period, artisans learned how to extract silver from ore and made ornaments from silver. One of the most important cultural phenomena of the late third era is the use of flat seals.
This period, which began about 5,000 years ago and lasted for about 4,500 years, is called the beginning of writing or the beginning of the urbanization period. The most important cultural development of this period is the emergence of calligraphy and writing in its original form. In this period, cylindrical seals painted in animal or geometric shapes were used, which represented the commercial progress in that period, and due to the favorable living conditions, the population growth increased.
The fifth era
This period, which dates back to about 3,200 years ago, is related to the migration of new settlers to Silk. The most important culture of these tribes is to make gray pottery. The architecture of these immigrants was built on the remains of buildings of the previous period. During this period, the burial culture of the dead was transformed using separate cemeteries. People’s Cemetery (Cemetery A) was located 200 meters south of the southern hills, which has been destroyed today, and only 15 graves of this cemetery have been excavated by French explorers. Also, because they believed in life after death, they placed pottery, iron tools, and seals next to their dead.
The sixth era
The southern hills, which are about 2,800 to 2,900 years old, belonged to people who buried their dead in a cemetery 250 meters west of South Hill (Cemetery B). According to Gershman, they were new settlers who settled in the southern hills. During this period, the entire surface of the hill was flattened, and as a result, the architecture of the fifth period was destroyed. Burial culture also changed slightly, and in addition to previous activities, grave pits were turned into hills, and some of these graves were covered with cut stones or large bricks, which probably represented the status of the dead. A total of 200 tombs from this period have been excavated by the French team.
Among the characteristics of the sixth period is pottery that had a burial use, some of these vessels are tubular or shaped like animals and birds, and their surfaces are decorated with geometric, animal, and human motifs.