The Helmand culture (also Helmand civilization) is a Bronze Age culture that flourished mainly in the Helmand valley in the eastern Iran (Sistan and Baluchestan Province) and south Afghanistan (Helmand Province), predominantly in the third millennium BC.
The people of the Helmand culture lived partly in cities with temples and palaces, providing evidence for a complex and advanced social structure. The main cities so far known are Shahr-e Sukhteh (in modern Iran) and Mundigak (Afghanistan). Research on the finds from both places showed that these cities shared the same culture. These are the earliest cities in this part of the world. It is possible that the Helmand culture formed once one ancient state.
The pottery of the Helmand civilization is colorfully painted with mainly geometrical patterns, plants and animals are also depicted. Bronze was known. In Shahr-e Sukhteh were found texts in Elamite language providing evidence with connections to the west of the Iran. There are also a few connections with the Indus Valley Civilisation, but it seems that the Helmand civilization was earlier and did not overlap chronological very much with the cities in the Indus valley.
- Cameron A. Petrie und Jim G. Schaffer, in: Raymond Allchin, Warwick Ball, Norman Hammond (Hrsg.): The Archaeology of Afghanistan, From earliest Times to the Timurid Period, Edinburgh, University Press, Edinburgh 2019, ISBN 9780748699179, pp. 161–259
- Raffaele Biscione: Relative Chronology and pottery connection between Shahr-i Sokhta and Munigak, Eastern Iran, in Memorie dell'Istituto Italiano di Paleontologia Umana II (1974), pp. 131–145
- Jane McIntosh: The Ancient Indus Valley: New Perspectives, Santa Barbara, California, ISBN 978-1-57607-908-9, pp. 86–87
- Jean-François Jarrige, Aurore Didier, Gonzague Quivron (2011): Shahr-i Sokhta and the chronology of the Indo-Iranian regions, In: Paléorient, 2011, vol. 37, n°2. pp. 7–34.