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On the other hand, Azerbaijani archaeologists have found that the history of Nakhchivan dates back to the Stone Age (Paleolithic).As a result of archaeological diggings, archaeologists discovered a great number of Stone-Age materials in different regions of Nakhchivan.The Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic is an autonomous area of Azerbaijan, governed by its own elected legislature. The 19th-century language scholar Johann Heinrich Hübschmann wrote that the name "Nakhichavan" in Armenian literally means "the place of descent", a Biblical reference to the descent of Noah's Ark on the adjacent Mount Ararat.
The area that is now Nakhchivan became part of the Safavid dynasty of Iran in the 16th century.
In 1828, after the last Russo-Persian War and the Treaty of Turkmenchay, the Nakhchivan Khanate passed from Iranian into Imperial Russian possession.
From 640 on, the Arabs invaded Nakhchivan and undertook many campaigns in the area, crushing all resistance and attacking Armenian nobles who remained in contact with the Byzantines or who refused to pay tribute.
In 705, after suppressing an Armenian revolt, Arab viceroy Muhammad ibn Marwan decided to eliminate the Armenian nobility.
First century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus also wrote about Nakhichevan, saying that its original name "Αποβατηριον, or Place of Descent, is the proper rendering of the Armenian name of this very city".
Hübschmann noted, however, that it was not known by that name in antiquity, and that the present-day name evolved to "Nakhchivan" from "Naxčawan".
In the 12th century, the city of Nakhchivan became the capital of the state of Atabegs of Azerbaijan, also known as Ildegizid state, which included most of Iranian Azerbaijan and a significant part of the South Caucasus.
At its heyday, the Ildegizid authority in Nakhchivan and some other areas of South Caucasus was contested by Georgia.
The prefix "Naxč" derives from Naxič or Naxuč (probably a personal name) and "awan" (the modern transcription of Hübschmann's "avan") is Armenian for "place, town".
The oldest material culture artifacts found in the region date back to the Neolithic Age.