Description: Bronze Age Bactria bird, 29 mm, 1700 BC-2300 BC; Bronze Bactrian chick bird, with brown patina Weight: 8.85 g; Height: 29 mm Left wing has better details in comparison with right wing. In Mesopotamia, the Bronze Age begins at about 2900 BCE in the late Uruk period, spanning the Early Dynastic period of Sumer, the Akkadian Empire, the Old Babylonian and Old Assyrian periods and the period of Kassite hegemony. In Ancient Egypt, the Bronze Age begins in the Protodynastic period, c. 3150 BCE. The BactriaMargiana Archaeological Complex (or BMAC, also known as the Oxus civilization) is the modern archaeological designation for a Bronze Age civilisation of Central Asia, dated to ca. 23001700 BCE, located in present-day northern Afghanistan, eastern Turkmenistan, southern Uzbekistan and western Tajikistan, centered on the upper Amu Darya (Oxus River). Its sites were discovered and named by the Soviet archaeologist Viktor Sarianidi (1976). Bactria was the Greek name for the area of Bactra (modern Balkh), in what is now northern Afghanistan, and Margiana was the Greek name for the Persian satrapy of Margu, the capital of which was Merv, in modern-day southeastern Turkmenistan. Bactria or Bactriana was the name of a historical region in Central Asia. The English name Bactria is derived from the Ancient Greek ?????????, a Hellenized version of the Bactrian endonym Bakhlo (?????). Analogous names include the Persian/Pashto ????? B?khtar, Uzbek ????, Tajik: ??????, Chinese: ?? Dàxià, and Sanskrit ??????? B?hlika. Bactria was the birthplace of Zoroastrianism, and later important in the history of Buddhism. It became part of the Islamic caliphate during the 7th century. Bactria was located between the Hindu Kush mountain range and the Amu Darya river, covering the flat region that straddles modern-day Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Bactria, the territory of which Bactra [Balkh] was the capital, originally consisted of the area south of the ?m? Dary? with its string of agricultural oases dependent on water taken from the rivers of Bal? (Bactra) [Balkh], Tashkurgan, Kond?z [Kunduz], Sar-e Pol, and ?r?n Tag?? [Shirin Tagab]. This region played a major role in Central Asian history. At certain times the political limits of Bactria stretched far beyond the geographic frame of the Bactrian plain. Pre-Islamic period of Afghanistan Archaeological exploration of the pre-Islamic period of Afghanistan began in Afghanistan in earnest after World War II and proceeded until the late 1970s when the nation was invaded by the Soviet Union. Archaeologists and historians suggest that humans were living in Afghanistan at least 50,000 years ago, and that farming communities of the region were among the earliest in the world. Urbanized culture has existed in the land from between 3000 and 2000 BC. Artifacts typical of the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze, and Iron ages have been found inside Afghanistan. After the Indus Valley Civilisation which stretched up to northeast Afghanistan, it was inhabited by the I_______c tribes and controlled by the Medes until about 500 BC when Darius the Great (Darius I) marched with his Persian army to make it part of the Achaemenid Empire. In 330 BC, Alexander the Great of Macedonia invaded the land after defeating Darius III of Persia in the Battle of Gaugamela. Much of Afghanistan became part of the Seleucid Empire followed by the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom. The area south of the Hindu Kush had been given by Seleucus I Nicator to Chandragupta Maurya and became part of the Maurya Empire. The land was inhabited by various tribes and ruled by many different kingdoms for the next two millenniums. Before the arrival of Islam in the 7th century, there were a number of religions practiced in ancient Afghanistan, including Zoroastrianism, Surya worship, Paganism, Hinduism and Buddhism. The Kaffirstan region, in the Hindu Kush, was not converted until the 19th century.
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