Both casting and repoussé techniques were employed. the “front” and “back” of the mountain respectively); this range, the highest in the region, runs northeast-southwest, as do most of the mountains and valleys of Luristan. The first canonical Luristan bronzes to be published were two cheekpieces from a horse bit obtained in Bombay, India, from a Parsi family that claimed to have had them “from time immemorial”; supposedly these pieces had been brought from Iran by their ancestors. Unfortunately, a considerable number of stray artifacts, mostly weapons, that bear Mesopotamian royal or dedicatory inscriptions in cuneiform dating from the 3rd to the 1st millennium B. have been improperly accepted as from Luristan and western Iran (Calmeyer, pp. They cannot therefore serve as evidence for contacts between Mesopotamia and Luristan, movements of peoples or mercenaries, or the languages spoken or read in Luristan (Muscarella, 1988a, p. 59f.), but with­out texts scholars are not in a position to explore the dynamics of manufacturing: how copper and tin were obtained and how payments, transport, design, and production were organized.Among the highly stylized human and animal forms the zoomorphic juncture plays an important part, especially on pins, bracelets, and weapons (for more detailed description and discussion of the characteristics of Luristan bronzes, see Vanden Berghe, 1968, pp. In 1930 it was first acknowledged that an assortment of bronze artifacts of various forms and functions then circulating in quantity on the Iranian and European antiquities markets came from plundered tombs in this region (Pope, 1930a, pp. Furthermore, without ex­cavated settlements there is no evidence bearing on distribution and administrative centers, so that no focused perception of a political system or systems is possible.

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In arguing for this last dating, Edith Porada presented a skillful analysis of the style of the finials and standards, proposing stages of develop­ment from naturalistic to more stylized and elaborated forms, a progression originally outlined by J. Nevertheless, it has been established that iron was first used in that phase and had become common by Luristan Iron III.

Luristan Iron II is the most poorly documented and therefore the least understood.

The earliest came from Luristan Iron I burials at Bard-i Bal; they include animal finials, animal-headed whetstones, and spike-butted axes (1973, pp. The fact that no standards or horse cheekpieces have yet been found in Iron I may support Porada’s hypothesis that they developed at a later phase.

Canonical Luristan bronzes were found in tombs from periods I and III, so that their relative chronological positions are secure. The finials are fairly naturalistic, except for spiral embellishments on the sides, but, as no other figural pieces were excavated, it is not possible to be certain whether they do in fact represent the earliest phase of development.

He claimed, without docu­mentation, that they had been discovered there, and he considered them to fit into a Cimmerian or Scythian milieu (7th-4th centuries B. It is not yet possible to speak of regional or cultural boundaries within Luristan.

II, V) attributed a small group of Luristan bronzes (and some other material) in the Louvre and the British Museum to Cappadocia in Turkey. It might be expected that objects deposited in burials and a sanctuary would generally reflect different functions, and the very limited evidence available suggests that was indeed so in Luristan.

As his material came only from burials, there is no stratigraphic evidence; nevertheless, he was able, on the basis of style and the relative distribution and use of bronze and iron, to define three phases of what archeologists call the Iron Age of Luristan (distinct from the three so-called Iron Age periods in northwestern Iran): I, II, and III.

Porada dated the inception of the earliest stage, to which she assigned the finials (pl. According to Porada, figured cheekpieces also first appeared in the 8th century B. Vanden Berghe’s excavations made it possible for the first time to arrange the material in a chronological sequence that, though fragmented, is anchored to independent fixed dates.

A single such horse bit was apparently excavated at Ḵātūnbān but remains unpublished. The more elaborate type may have evolved from the group with heads alone; as the central figure is clearly more prominent, it may represent a deity (see below; Moorey, 1971, pls. It is possible to suggest that the material from Luristan Iron I was manufactured in the years around 1000 B.