The Pre-Islamic Period
Archaeological exploration began in Afghanistan in earnest after World War IIand proceeded promisingly until the Soviet invasion disrupted it in December of1979. Artifacts typical of the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze, andIron ages were found. It is not yet clear, however, to what extent these periodswere contemporaneous with similar stages of development in other geographicregions. The area that is now Afghanistan seems in prehistory--as well asancient and modern times--to have been closely connected by culture and tradewith the neighboring regions to the east, west, and north. Urban civilization inthe Iranian plateau, which includes most of Iran and Afghanistan, may have begunas early as 3000 to 2000 B.C. About the middle of the second millennium B.C.people speaking an Indo-European language may have entered the eastern part ofthe Iranian Plateau, but little is known about the area until the middle of thefirst millennium B.C., when its history began to be recorded during theAchaemenid Empire.
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