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Mesopotamian Landscapes

The Deh Luran Plain is separated from the low, saline alluvium of lower Mesopotamia only by low hills. At least since the rise to modern sea level about 5000 B.C., the alluvium has been a mosaic of river levees—the channels of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers—with gallery forests of alluvial desert with seasonal grass cover and dunes, and of fresh water marshes with dense stands of reeds. The lowlands have hot, dry summers with daytime temperatures approaching 50° C, and mild winters with some rain. The main resources of this region are mud and water. Many materials important in traditional technologies, such as woods and stones, are rare.
Above. Euphrates levee near Bat-Ha, Iraq.

Above. The well at Ain At-Timmnar, near Khaidher, Iraq.


North and east of the Deh Luran Plain are the rugged Zagros mountains. Great folds of conglomerate and limestone reach over 2000 meters in altitude, trapping winter rains coming from the west, and sustaining oak forests. These highlands have mild summers, and wet cold winters, with deep snow accumulations. Today the forests are scattered, but before 3000 B.C. with more rainfall and less grazing by goats and sheep, they were probably much denser. This region is a source of woods, various stones, and good summer grazing. Trails lead from Deh Luran up into these mountains and beyond to the high Iranian plateau, rich in stones and metals.


Above. The Izeh Plain and the town of Izeh viewed from
Ishkaft-i Suleiman.
Above. The road to Shami, northeast Khuzestan.