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Elam was an ancient Pre-Iranian civilization centered in the far west and southwest of what is now modern-day Iran, stretching from the lowlands of what is now Khuzestan and Ilam Province as well as a small part of southern Iraq.
See the fact file below for more information on the Elam Civilization or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Elam worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
QUICK FACTS ABOUT ELAM
- Elam was an ancient civilization that was located in the area of the current-day Middle East, in Iran’s southwestern region.
- During the late prehistoric periods, Elam had cultural ties to ancient Mesopotamia.
- Elam’s history can be split into 4 unique periods: Proto-Elamite, Old Elamite, Middle Elamite, and the Neo-Elamite period, all spanning between 3200 BCE to 539 BCE.
- In ancient times, the Elamites (the people who lived in Elam) were known to be a warlike people who were seen as a threat to ancient Babylonia.
- The capital of Elam was Susa, and it became dominant in the year 2000 BCE when Babylon was captured.
- Elam was a formidable force up until the Muslim conquest in the 7th century.
- Historians do not know everything about Elam, as much of its history is fragmented and tricky to decode.
- Proto-Elamite Period (~3400 BCE – 2700 BCE)
- The city of Susa was founded in the watershed of the river Karun and is known to historians as the cultural site of Proto-Elamites.
- This is also the period that written records start (around 3000 BCE).
- It is recognized as the oldest civilization in Iran.
- The Proto-Elamite Period came shortly after the pop-up of settlements along the fertile crescent.
- This was also the period when technologicalinnovations and simple machines were developed, such as the plough, clay tablets (pictured to the right), and sailing boats.
- Other important sites in this period are Anshan and Tepe Sialk, where many artefacts have been found.
- Tablets have been found at many sites including the ones mentioned above, plus Tepe Sialk, Jiroft, Ozbaki, and Shahr-e Sukhteh.
- Evidence of Bronze-making has also been found in Kalleh Nisar, Bani Surmah, and others.
- Old Elamite Period (2700 BCE – 1600 BCE)
- Three dynasties and several kings ruled during this period.
- It was during this time that Mesopotamian sources mentioning Elam became more frequent, as the Mesopotamians became increasingly interested in the resources that the area of Elam had access to (such as wood, stone, and metal).
- Elam declared independence during this time as well, but later became overrun by the Guti, who were another pre-Iranic people.
- This period of Elam is one of the most confusing and also very difficult to reconstruct properly.
- Middle Elamite Period (1500 BCE – ~1100 BCE)
- Great progress has been made in the last century to understand the Middle Elamite history and language.
- The rise of the Anshanite dynasties marked the beginning of this period in Elam’s history.
- It was also during this period that Elamite language and culture grew in importance in the regions it bordered.
- This period includes many rulers, families, princes, princesses, kings, and queens, and is quite complex.
- Many military campaigns into Babylonia occurred, as well as the construction of extravagant temples in Susa.
- Neo-Elamite Period (1100 BCE – 539 BCE)
- One of the most prominent features of this time period in Elam’s history was the migration of Indo-European speaking Iranians to the area (which would later be named Persia).
- Historians uncovered more details about Elam’s culture and society in the 8th century BCE when outside influences allied with the Elamites to defend the Babylonians from Assyria.
- Due to the deterioration of neighboring Assyria, the Elamites took advantage of the chaos and freed themselves from Assyrian rule in 616 BCE. Shortly after, the Medians took control of Elam (Medians were from the Median Empire, which was north of Elam) and became incorporated into the Median Empire.
- By this point, the power and influence of Elam became obsolete.
CULTURE AND SIGNIFICANCE OF ELAM
- It is suggested by historians that the accomplishments of Elam are not varied or extensive (culturally speaking).
- Not very much is known about Elam’s religious beliefs, as no religious materials have been uncovered.
- Elam’s art and architecture styles appear to have been borrowed from Babylonia, with the ziggurat (a pyramidal temple with a core of mud brick and an exterior covered with baked brick) and a few Elam temples remaining.
- Gold and silver figurines from the 12th century BCE often depicted worshippers carrying sacrificial goats and symbolized protection, well-being, and a long life.
- The appearance of metals in Elamite life was evident, as some uncovered figurines were depicted with stylistic features that included intertwined metals.
- Generally, gold or silver statuettes that represented the king also represented the display of wealth.
- Historians believe that the Elamites practised polytheism, which is the belief in multiple deities.
- Their language is thought to be isolated and completely unrelated to other languages in the areas at the time.
- It is believed that the Elam language survived up until the early Islamic period (which was around the same time of the early medieval period in Europe). Some historians believe there is a link between the Elamite language and isolated languages in India.
- Although the Assyrians decimated the Elamite nation, the legacy of the culture and its people carried on to the Hellenistic period (323 BCE – 31 BCE) and beyond.
- Multiple references to the name “Elam” can be found in the New Testament, as the Elamite language is one of the languages heard at the Pentecost, the Christian holiday celebrated after Easter.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Elam across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Elam worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Elam which was an ancient Pre-Iranian civilization.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Figurine Sketch
- Elam Wordsearch
- Mapping the Elamites
- Biblical Elam
- Elam Crossword
- The Kassite State
- Spotlight on Susa
- Ancient Elam Quiz
- Letter from Elam
- Elam Acrostic Poem
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Link will appear as Elam Civilization Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, February 4, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.