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Ancient Iran (Room 52)

The Rahim Irvani Gallery
3000 BC – AD 651

Iran was a major centre of ancient culture. It was rich in valuable natural resources, especially metals, and played an important role in the development of ancient Middle Eastern civilisation and trade. Room 52 highlights these ancient interconnections and the rise of distinctive local cultures, such as in Luristan, during the age of migrations after about 1400 BC.

During the sixth century BC, Cyrus the Great founded a mighty Persian empire which eventually stretched from Egypt to Pakistan. Objects on display from this period include the Cyrus Cylinder and the Oxus Treasure. Monumental plaster casts of sculptures from Persepolis are also displayed in Room 52 and on the East stairs.

The later periods of the Parthian and Sasanian empires mark a revival in Iranian culture and are represented through displays including silver plates and cut glass.

Ancient Europe (Room 51) explores how the birth of farming in the Middle East affected life in ancient Europe.

 

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