Located c80 km southwest of Kerman in southern Iran, Tal-i Iblis is a tell settlement occupied in the 5th, 4th and 3rd millennia be. The earliest occupation, dating to the early 5th millennium be (Tal-i Iblis 0), is characterized by coarse-tempered red burnished ware made into a variety of simple forms. In the next phase, dated by radiocarbon to the late 5th millennium be (Tal-i Iblis I), small quantities of painted ware, in maroon or black on a buff ground, appear in a settlement of mud-brick houses, each consisting of a central area of storerooms, surrounded by living rooms with red plaster floors. Domesticated goats were bred and perhaps also sheep and cattle; bread wheat and probably emmer wheat were cultivated; wild cattle, gazelle, onager and horse were hunted. This layer has also produced abundant evidence of copperworking, in the form of hundreds of pieces of crucibles with copper stain; this evidence, along with remains from both Susa and Sialk, suggests that the communities of Iran were at least as developed as those of Mesopotamia, if not more so, in the practice of metallurgy. The exploitation of copper and steatite and trade in these commodities to the civilizations of southern Mesopotamia and Susiana in the 4th and early 3rd millennia bc allowed Tal-i Iblis to grow to urban or proto-urban status. Clay tablets inscribed in the Proto-Elamite script demonstrate the connections that linked communities throughout Iran at this time.