EARLY IRON AGE
In the first half of the 1st millennium B.C. goods made from iron started to appear in Central Asia and gradually spread. Having learnt the technique of melting iron ore, humanity entered into a new historical epoch, the Early Iron Age. The society got an opportunity to advance its technical development, which in turn meant speeding up the process of formation of classes and governmental structure.
Written documents recording the political events in Central Asia have a legendary character till the middle of the 6th century B.C. Records became more reliable when the Central Asian states of Baсtria, Sogdiana, Parthia and Khorezm became part of the Achaemenian empire (6th-4th cc. B.C.), the first in history to claim its supremacy over the countries of the East and the West of the region.
In this period craftwork reaches an advanced level. A definite standardisation can be obversed in the shapes of the pottery, which was typical across a large number of Central Asian provinces, especially the cylindrical vessels. They were found in south Tajikistan in the site of Kalai Mir in Qubodiyon district, Khatlon oblast. Half of the constructions which were excavated during this time showed houses with several rooms and walls made of red, unbaked brick. The site of Baitudasht IV, situated in the Panj district, Khatlon oblast, has been excavated and investigated.
Some sedentary-agricultural settlements from the 6th to 5th centuries B.C. were investigated in the Vakhsh valley, as it appears in the early cultural layers of Baldaiteppa.
To the north of the Turkestan ridge, in Sughd oblast among the sites and settlements which were found the site of Nurteppa is to be distinguished. The layers corresponding to the 6th to 4th centuries B.C. were found throughout the site. The town, during this period had a citadel and was protected by a fortified wall laid from pakhsa (pressed mud) and unbaked bricks. The Achaemenian period was investigated in the various layers of the site of Shirin. In Khujand the exploration showed findings pertaining to the 6th to 4th centuries B.C., situated in the lower layers of the Khujand citadel and in the remnants of the fortress walls. During this time, in spite of sedentary-agricultural settlements continuing their customary works of agriculture and distant cattle breeding, the steppe and foot-hills regions opened up to the tribes of nomads and cattlemen. The cemetery of Dashti Asht, situated in Asht district gives evidence of this situation.
Accidental findings from the later Achaemenian period include the bronze, almost life-sized, sheep heads, which were found in the Isfara valley in north Sogdiana, the bronze hollow sculptures of heads and the front part of the torso of a wild mountain goat and zebra, which were recovered in Semiganj region in Hissar valley (north Bactria).