Tag Archives: Archaeology

Journey to the City

Tinney, Steve & Karen Sonik (eds.). 2019. Journey to the City :A Companion to the Middle East Galleries at the Penn Museum. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

The Penn Museum has a long and storied history of research and archaeological exploration in the ancient Middle East. This book highlights this rich depth of knowledge while also serving as a companion volume to the Museum’s signature Middle East Galleries opening in April 2018. This edited volume includes chapters and integrated short, focused pieces from Museum curators and staff actively involved in the detailed planning of the new galleries. In addition to highlighting the most remarkable and interesting objects in the Museum’s extraordinary Middle East collections, this volume illuminates the primary themes within these galleries (make, settle, connect, organize, and believe) and provides a larger context within which to understand them.
The ancient Middle East is home to the first urban settlements in human history, dating to the fourth millennium BCE; therefore, tracing this move toward city life figures prominently in the book. The topic of urbanization, how it came about and how these early steps still impact our daily lives, is explored from regional and localized perspectives, bringing us from Mesopotamia (Ur, Uruk, and Nippur) to Islamic and Persianate cites (Rayy and Isfahan) and, finally, connecting back to life in modern Philadelphia. Through examination of topics such as landscape, resources, trade, religious belief and burial practices, daily life, and nomads, this very important human journey is investigated both broadly and with specific case studies.

Steve Tinney is Associate Curator-in-Charge of the Babylonian Section and the Clark Research Associate Professor of Assyriology at the University of Pennsylvania.
Karen Sonik is Assistant Professor of Art History at Auburn University.

The Persian Gulf

Nokandeh, Jebrael & Abdolreza Dashtizadeh (eds.). 2019. The Persian Gulf: An archaeological perspective. Tehran: National Museum of Iran, Qeshm Free Zone.

For a partial Table of Contents, see Potts (2019) in the above publication.

A new Achaemenid building-complex in Kerman

Atayi, Mohammad and Shahram Zare. 2019. A new Achaemenid building-complex in Kerman. Evidence from Mahdiābād-e Oliā. ARTA 2019. 003.

The present note provides a general overview of the site of Mahdiābād-e Oliā, 250 km SE of the city of Kerman, discussing objects exposed by the flood in 2017 as well as its architectural remains, with special attention to a complex that includes a square structure, inviting comparison with Achaemenid palaces.

Over the Mountains and Far Away

Avetisyan, Pavel S., Roberto Dan & Yervand H. Grekyan (eds.). 2019. Over the Mountains and Far Away: Studies in Near Eastern history and archaeology presented to Mirjo Salvini on the occasion of his 80th birthday. Archaeopress.

The publication of Over the Mountains and Far Away: Studies in Near Eastern history and archaeology presented to Mirjo Salvini on the occasion of his 80th birthday was initiated by the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, the International Association of Mediterranean and Oriental Studies (Rome, Italy) and the Association for Near Eastern and Caucasian Studies (Yerevan, Armenia) as a tribute to the career of Professor Mirjo Salvini on the occasion his 80th birthday. It is composed of 62 papers written by his colleagues and students from Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Poland, the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, Great Britain, Russian Federation, Israel, Turkey, Islamic Republic of Iran, Georgia, United States and Armenia. The contributions presented here cover numerous topics, a wide geographical area and a long chronological period. However, most of the contributions deal with research in the fields of Urartian and Hittite Studies, the topics that attracted Prof. Salvini during his long and fruitful career most.

For the table of contents click here.

L’Orient est son jardin

Gondet, Sébastien & Ernie Haerinck (eds.). 2018. L’Orient est son jardin: Hommage à Rémy Boucharlat (Acta Iranica 58). Leuven: Peeters.

Le présent volume regroupe 36 articles signés par 49 auteurs et rédigés en hommage à la carrière de Rémy Boucharlat, directeur de recherche émérite au CNRS et spécialiste de l’archéologie du monde iranien et des pourtours du Golfe Persique. Ses nombreuses et importantes contributions ont servi de point d’appui aux spécialistes réunis ici (archéologues, historiens, épigraphistes et historiens de l’art) pour traiter de l’archéologie et de l’histoire des civilisations qui se sont succédé dans cette vaste aire géographique, entre le premier millénaire avant notre ère et le premier millénaire après. Une grande partie des contributions traite de l’archéologie de l’Iran et plus particulièrement de l’époque achéménide qui, depuis ses premières recherches à Suse au cours des années 1970, fait l’objet d’un intérêt constant de la part de Rémy Boucharlat. Les périodes plus anciennes, de l’âge du Fer, et plus récentes, parthes et sassanides, sont également abordées. L’ensemble des articles témoigne de la richesse des thématiques et des terrains que Rémy Boucharlat a explorés, et continue à explorer, ainsi que d’une démarche d’étude des sociétés orientales passées résolument pluridisciplinaire dont il est un des principaux moteurs.

Between Highlands and Lowlands

Wicks, Yasmina. 2019. Between highlands and lowlands. The Ram Hormuz Plain in the neo-Elamite and early Achaemenid periods, and comments on five burials from the Fort Mound at Tal-i Ghazir. Arta 2019.002.


The plain of Ram Hormuz was a strategically important area of southwest Iran connecting the Susiana lowlands with the Zagros highlands, and undoubtedly a critical zone of Elamite and Iranian interaction in the centuries leading up to the emergence of the Persian Empire. Its archaeological remains must therefore be regarded as a vital key to our comprehension of the processes of acculturation that gave rise to the Elamo Persian culture of the early Achaemenid period. While the plain has been extensively surveyed, its only excavated site remains Tal-i Ghazir where just two seasons of excavation were conducted in 1948/49 by Donald E. McCown under the auspices of the Oriental Institute. McCown worked in three separate mounds— Mounds A and B, and the so-called Fort Mound—but he never published his results. Almost half a century later, Elizabeth Carter (1994) published a series of burials in the Fort Mound from his field notes, and another two decades later, Abbas Alizadeh (2014) published the complete records of the Tal-i Ghazir excavations. The purpose of this paper is to outline the evidence for the Neo-Elamite (ca. 1000 525 BCE) and Achaemenid periods (ca. 525-330 BCE) collected during the surveys across the Ram Hormuz plain and the excavations at Tal-i Ghazir, with special attention to the burials in the Fort Mound.

Manches de miroirs égyptiens de Suse

Qaheri, Sepideh & Julien Cuny. 2018. Manches de miroirs égyptiens de Suse. Revue d’égyptologie 68: 253-259.


This paper proposes a new function for a group of Egyptian objects from the Achaemenid city of Susa. These objects, which were previously known as architectural elements or ritual vessels, are in fact the handles of massive mirrors attested in Egypt from the Late Period onwards. They are more probably related to the chronological context of the Second Persian Period: they would reveal the Egyptian religious practices and reflect the diversity of the cults rendered in the heartland of the Persian Empire.

The Concept of Monument in Achaemenid Empire

Soheil, Mehr Azar. 2019. The concept of monument in Achaemenid Empire. New York: Routledge.

The aim of this book is to explore the significance of the concept of ‘monument’ in the context of the Achaemenid Empire (550-330 BC), with particular reference to the Royal Ensemble of Persepolis, founded by Darius I and built together with his son Xerxes. While Persepolis was built as an ‘intentional monument’, it had already become an ‘historic monument’ during the Achaemenid period. It maintained its symbolic significance in the following centuries even after its destruction by Alexander of Macedonia in 330 BC. The purpose of building Persepolis was to establish a symbol and a common reference for the peoples of the Empire with the Achaemenid Dynasty, transmitting significant messages and values such as peace, stability, grandeur and praise for the dynastic figure of the king as the protector of values and fighting falsehood.
While previous research on Achaemenid heritage has mainly been on archaeological and art-historical aspects of Persepolis, the present work focuses on the architecture and design of Persepolis. It is supported by studies in the fields of archaeology, history and art history, as well as by direct survey of the site. The morphological analysis of Persepolis, including the study of the proportions of the elevations, and the verification of a planning grid for the layout of the entire ensemble demonstrate the univocal will by Darius to plan Persepolis following a precise initial scheme. The study shows how the inscriptions, bas-reliefs and the innovative architectural language together express the symbolism, values and political messages of the Achaemenid Dynasty, exhibiting influence from different lands in a new architectural language and in the plan of the entire site.

The Monumental Reliefs of the Elamite Highlands

Javier Álvarez-Mon. 2019. The Monumental Reliefs of the Elamite Highlands: A Complete Inventory and Analysis (from the Seventeenth to the Sixth Century BC). Eisenbrauns.


The Monumental Reliefs of the Elamite Highlands documents and analyzes for the first time a corpus of eighteen monumental highland reliefs from the Elamite civilization in ancient Iran, which—hitherto preserved by their remote location and anonymous existence—have recently become imperiled by an influx of tourists and the development of the surrounding landscapes. With this book, Javier Álvarez-Mon aims to safeguard this important part of Iran’s cultural heritage.
The eighteen reliefs presented in this volume are spread across the valley of Izeh/Malamir (Xong-e Azdhar, Shah Savar, Shekaft-e Salman, and Kul-e Farah), the Ghale Tol plain (Qal-e Tul), the Mamasani Fahliyan river region (Kurangun), and the Marvdasht plain (Naqsh-e Rustam). In his analysis of these reliefs, Álvarez-Mon draws from the complementary disciplines of art history and archaeology, giving equal weight to the archaeological context of these artifacts and traditional methods of artistic analysis in order to determine the nature and significance of each artifact’s form and theme. At the same time, the book’s dual emphases on ritual-religious and aesthetic-ecological phenomena respond to the contemporary challenges of the dissociation of human existence from nature and the commodification of the environment on an unsustainable scale, presenting the preservation of this remarkable corpus of monumental art as a matter of urgency.


Richly illustrated with hundreds of color photographs and line drawings, The Monumental Reliefs of the Elamite Highlands is sure to become an invaluable reference to scholars who study the Elamite and other ancient civilizations.

IRANICA ANTIQUA, VOLUME 53

The table of contents of the latest issue (53) of the journal Iranica Antiqua: