Susa (Shush), in southwestern Iran, was the ancient capital of the Elamites, an administrative center and royal residence under the Achaemenids and the eastern terminus of the Persian Royal Road that ran westward to Lydian Sardis, about 2,575 km (1,600 mi) away. Following the conquests of Alexander the Great, Susa was made a Greek colonial city-state called Seleucia-on-the-Eulaeus; it continued to flourish as a trade center through the Parthian and Sassanian periods, until its capture (AD c.640) by Islamic forces.

    Rediscovered in 1850, Susa has been under almost continuous excavation by French archaeologists since 1897. Although occupation levels date back to Neolithic times (c.4000 BC), the principal objects of interest at the site are four large mounds representing the citadel, the palace of Darius I (r. 521-486 BC), and two sections of the ancient city. Significant finds at Susa have included early painted pottery and seals, proto-Elamite writing, an extensive Parthian cemetery, and the famous stele of Hammurabi bearing his law code.



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