Cultures > Proto-Elamite Period

Proto-Elamite Period


It is first believed that the civilization of Elam got started about 4,000 BCE and occurred when the Proto-Elamite states of states of Anshan, Awan and Shiamashki all banded together in order to prevent an invasion from neighboring Sumer. The following period is known as the Proto-Elamite Period (3200–2700 BCE). The political strength of Elam depended on the ability of the kings to hold the government together in a coordinated structure and defend against invaders. Natural and material resources needed to be equally distributed to the various cities under a federal government structure due to the differences in location in order to maintain stability.

During the early period of Elam they were sometimes controlled by neighboring Sumer but sometimes had independence. While the older archaeological record shows unique pottery unlike anything in all of Mesopotamia, by the Uruk Period (4100-2900 BCE) of Sumerian history there appears significant influence on the culture of Elam. This influence becomes really profound around 3200 BCE

Elamite Language

The earliest written records we have for Elam date back to 3000 BCE which is common throughout the region. This is known as the Proto-Elamite language and has not yet been deciphered. It is actually very interesting to researchers because it is considered a language isolate. This style of language appears until 2700 BCE when the Old Elamite Period begins. The Proto-Elamite period and this language would all disappear on the establishment of the Awan Dynasty.


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Secondary Sources