Lhuillier, Johanna & Nikolaus Boroffka (eds.). 2018. A millennium of history. The Iron Age in southern Central Asia (2nd and 1st millennia BC). Proceedings of the conference held in Berlin (June 23–25, 2014). Dedicated to the memory of Viktor Ivanovich Sarianidi (Archeology in Iran and Turan 17). Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag.
The volume gives a comprehensive insight into the Iron Age in southern Central Asia, whose beginning and end are marked by two major cultural changes: the end of Bronze Age urban societies with their large burial grounds and the conquest of Central Asia by Alexander the Great. Central to this is the incorporation of this region into the Achaemenid-Persian empire. Profound social changes in settlement, technology, and spiritual life can be linked to the emergence of the Avesta and the Zoroastrian religion, which became the official religion of the Persian Empire. A new look at texts and archaeological research demonstrates the complete incorporation of Bactria and Sogdia into the Achaemenid Empire during the 6th century BC.
Continue reading The Iron Age in southern Central Asia
Issue seven of Historia i Świat (2018) has been published. A number of the contributions relate to Iranian Studies.
Boucharlat, Rémy. 2018. Les traces archéologiques des palais achéménides de Hamadan. Arta 2018.002.
Several tens of incomplete column bases and fragments of column drums and stone capitals testify to the existence of several hypostyle halls on the Hamadan site. The majority of the pieces presented here, often little known, come from Tépé Hegmateneh in the north-east of the modern city center. However, the important excavations on this hill did not reveal any level of Achaemenid times. The buildings of this period must then be sought elsewhere, perhaps on the other nearby hill, Tépé Mosalla.
Cifarelli, Megan. 2018. Gender, Personal Adornment, and Costly Signaling in the Iron Age Burials of Hasanlu, Iran. In Saana Svärd and Agnes Garcia-Ventura (eds.), Studying Gender in the Ancient Near East. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns.
This article explores the role played by personal ornaments in the performance of gender, and in the construction and differentiation of gendered identities, in the early Iron Age (Period IVb) burials at Hasanlu, a site in Northwestern Iran. A small site situated beyond the limits of the Assyrian Empire and in the path of the advancing Urartian kingdom, Hasanlu was caught in, and ultimately lost to, the currents of regional conflicts by around 800 BCE. While certainly subjected to the actions of these larger scale entities, material and visual culture of Hasanlu cannot be understood through the application of the same theoretical and methodological approaches that illuminate the artistic and cultural production of hegemonic states.
A careful analysis of the entire cemetery shows that, compared to earlier burials at the site, the artifacts and ornaments in burials dating between an earlier destruction (ca. 1050 BCE) and the catastrophic destruction (ca. 800 BCE) evidence heightened gender differentiation, an influx of artifact types from regions to the north, and the introduction of military equipment and militaristic ornaments to a range of distinct, elite burial assemblages. These new elements can be interpreted as representing an ideological shift towards militarization at the site, but I will argue that the nature of these objects and the contexts in which they are found demand a methodological approach that looks more closely at the interplay between human choices and cultural norms, in the period leading up to Hasanlu’s catastrophic destruction. The shifts in the material culture evidenced in the Period IVb burials are the record of local, dynamic, and gender specific attempts to negotiate status and identity at the site, in an era of internal unease.
Alizadeh, Karim, Sepideh Maziar & Mirrouhollah Mohammadi. 2018. The end of the Kura-Araxes culture as seen from Nadir Tepesi in Iranian Azerbaijan. American Journal of Archaeology 122(3). 463-477.
By the late fourth to early third millennium B.C.E., Kura-Araxes (Early Transcaucasian) material culture spread from the southern Caucasus throughout much of southwest Asia. The Kura-Araxes settlements declined and ultimately disappeared in almost all the regions in southwest Asia around the middle of the third millennium B.C.E. The transition to the “post–Kura-Araxes” time in the southern Caucasus is one of the most tantalizing subjects in the archaeology of the region. Despite current knowledge on the origins and spread of the Kura-Araxes culture, little is known about the end of this cultural horizon. In this field report, we argue that the Kura-Araxes culture in the western Caspian littoral plain ended abruptly and possibly violently. To demonstrate this, we review the current hypotheses about the end of the Kura-Araxes culture and use results from excavations at Nadir Tepesi in Iranian Azerbaijan.
Canepa, Matthew. 2018. The Iranian expanse: Transforming royal identity through architecture, landscape, and the built environment, 550 BCE-642 CE. Oakland, California: University of California Press.
The Iranian Expanse explores how kings in the ancient Iranian world utilized the built and natural environment–everything from royal cities and paradise gardens, to hunting enclosures and fire temples–to form and contest Iranian cultural memory, royal identity, and sacred cosmologies over a thousand years of history. Although scholars have often noted startling continuities between the traditions of the Achaemenids and the art and architecture of medieval or Early Modern Islam, the tumultuous millennium between Alexander and Islam has routinely been downplayed or omitted. The Iranian Expanse delves into this fascinating period, examining royal culture and identity as something built and shaped by strategic changes to architectonic and urban spaces and the landscape of Western Asia. Canepa shows how the Seleucids, Arsacids, and Sasanians played a transformative role in developing a new Iranian royal culture that deeply influenced not only early Islam, but also the wider Persianate world of the Il-Khans, Safavids, Timurids, and Mughals
Delshad, Soheil. 2017. Report on inscribed fragments excavated from drainage system of Southern courtyard of Tačar. In Asadi, A. and M. Mansouri (eds.), Excavation reports of the third season of archaeological excavations at Persepolis drainage system, 121–135. Persepolis World Heritage Site.
During the second and third seasons of excavations at Persepolis drainage system (led by A. Asadi and M. Mansouri), three inscribed fragments have been excavated. The exact findspot of those fragments is the water channel at the southern courtyard of Tačara Palace. The first two fragments have been found during the third season of excavations (i.e., 1396: 2017) and the third fragment has been revealed to the excavators in the second season (i.e., 1393: 2014).
دلشاد، سهیل. 1396. گزارش خردهکتیبه های شناسایی شده از آب راه حیاط جنوبی تچر. گزارش فصل سوم کاووشهای باستانشناختی آبراهههای تخت جمشید (ا. اسدی-م. منصوری)، پایگاه میراث جهانی تخت جمشید، صفحات 121-135.
Askari Chaverdi, Alireza . 2017. Post-Achaemenid legacy of the Persian Gulf hinterland: Systematic survey of surface remains from Tomb-e Bot, Fars, Iran. Ancient Civilizations from Scythia to Siberia 23(1). 127–150.
The archaeological site of Tomb-e Bot, located in the Mohr County of southern Fars Province, is a major settlement of Arsacid and Sasanid date. The site was selected for detailed investigation from among the 76 sites recorded by the general survey of southern Fars region to provide answers to outstanding questions on ancient Iran, in particular during the period from the Achaemenids to the Sasanids. The survey team systematically collected all visible architectural remains, including capitals with volutes and addorsed animal protomes as well as surface ceramics and attempted to draw and register the whole assemblage of finds. Documenting and analyzing the assemblage revealed that centuries after the Achaemenid demise the Persepolis artistic legacy had run on at the site in religious beliefs and among the local groups, from the Seleucid and Arsacid periods up to the rise of the Sasanids.
Álvarez-Mon, Javier, Gian Pietro Basello & Yasmina Wicks (eds.). 2018. The Elamite World (Routledge Worlds). London: Routledge.
Amongst the civilizations to participate in the dynamic processes of contact and interchange that gave rise to complex societies in the ancient Near East, Elam has remained one of the most obscure, at times languishing in the background of scholarly inquiry. In recent years, however, an increasing body of academic publications have suggested that the legacy of Elam was more considerable and long-lasting than previously estimated.
The Elamite World assembles a group of forty international scholars to contribute their expertise to the production of a solid, lavishly illustrated, English language treatment of Elamite civilization, covering topics such as its physical setting, historical development, languages and people, material culture, art, science, religion and society. Also treated are the legacy of Elam in the Persian empire and its presence in the modern world.
This comprehensive and ambitious survey seeks for Elam, hardly a household name, a noteworthy place in our shared cultural heritage. It will be both a valuable introductory text for a general audience and a definitive reference source for students and academics.
Continue reading The Elamite World