Tag Archives: Archaeology

Ancient Knowledge Networks

Robson, Eleanor. 2019. Ancient knowledge networks: A social geography of cuneiform scholarship in first-millennium Assyria and Babylonia. London: UCL Press.

This book is currently available as open access from the publisher's website.

Ancient Knowledge Networks is a book about how knowledge travels, in minds and bodies as well as in writings. It explores the forms knowledge takes and the meanings it accrues, and how these meanings are shaped by the peoples who use it.

Addressing the relationships between political power, family ties, religious commitments and literate scholarship in the ancient Middle East of the first millennium BC, Eleanor Robson focuses on two regions where cuneiform script was the predominant writing medium: Assyria in the north of modern-day Syria and Iraq, and Babylonia to the south of modern-day Baghdad. She investigates how networks of knowledge enabled cuneiform intellectual culture to endure and adapt over the course of five world empires until its eventual demise in the mid-first century BC. In doing so, she also studies Assyriological and historical method, both now and over the past two centuries, asking how the field has shaped and been shaped by the academic concerns and fashions of the day. Above all, Ancient Knowledge Networks is an experiment in writing about ‘Mesopotamian science’, as it has often been known, using geographical and social approaches to bring new insights into the intellectual history of the world’s first empires.

Eleanor Robson is Professor of Ancient Middle Eastern History at UCL.

Archaeology of Empire in Achaemenid Egypt

Colburn, Henry P. 2019. Archaeology of Empire in Achaemenid Egypt. Edinburgh University Press.

Previous studies have characterised Achaemenid rule of Egypt either as ephemeral and weak or oppressive and harsh. These characterisations, however, are based on the perceived lack of evidence for this period, filtered through ancient and modern preconceptions about the Persians.

Henry Colburn challenges these views by assembling and analyzing the archaeological remains from this period, including temples, tombs, irrigation works, statues, stelae, sealings, drinking vessels and coins. By looking at the decisions made about material culture – by Egyptians, Persians and others – it becomes possible to see both how the Persians integrated Egypt into their empire and the full range of experiences people had as a result.

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The Archaeology of Afghanistan

Allchin, Raymond, Warwick Ball & Norman Hammond (eds.). 2019. The archaeology of Afghanistan from earliest times to the Timurid period. Edinburgh University Press.

Afghanistan is at the cultural crossroads of Asia, where the great civilisations of Mesopotamia and Iran, South Asia and Central Asia overlapped and sometimes conflicted. Its landscape embraces environments from the high mountains of the Hindu Kush to the Oxus basin and the great deserts of Sistan; trade routes from China to the Mediterranean, and from Central Asia to the Arabian Sea cross the country. It has seen the development of early agriculture, the spread of Bronze Age civilisation of Central Asia, the conquests of the Persians and of Alexander of Macedon, the spread of Buddhism and then Islam, and the empires of the Kushans, Ghaznavids, Ghurids and Timurids centred there, with ramifications across southern Asia. All of which has resulted in some of the most important, diverse and spectacular historical remains in Asia.

First published in 1978, this was the first book in English to provide a complete survey of the immensely rich archaeological remains of Afghanistan. The contributors, all acknowledged scholars in their field, have worked in the country, on projects ranging from prehistoric surveys to the study of Islamic architecture. It has now been thoroughly revised and brought up to date to incorporate the latest discoveries and research.

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VOL. 20 of Parthica

Volume 20 of the journal “Parthica” (2018) contains several contributions of relevance to Iranian Studies.

Table of contents:

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Iran 57(2)

Volume 57, issue 2 of Iran, Journal of the British Institute of Persian Studies:

Iran 57(2).

Table of Contents:

New Perspectives in Seleucid History, Archaeology and Numismatics

Roland, Oetjen (ed.). 2019. New perspectives in Seleucid history, archaeology and numismatics: Studies in honor of Getzel M. Cohen (Beiträge zur Altertumskunde 355). Berlin: De Gruyter.

Dedicated to Getzel M. Cohen, a leading expert in Seleucid history, this volume gathers contributions on Seleucid history, archaeology, numismatics, political relations, policy toward the Jews, Greek cities, non-Greek populations, peripheral and neighboring regions, imperial administration, economy and public finances, and ancient descriptions of the Seleucid Empire. The reader will gain an international perspective on current research.

Festschrift Mehdi Rahbar

Moradi, Yousef (ed.). 2019. Afarin Nameh: Essays on the Archeaology of Iran in Honour of Mehdi Rahbar. Tehran: The Research Institute of Cultural Heritage and Tourism (RICHT).

Table of Contents

  • Antigoni Zournatzi: “Travels in the East with Herodotus and the Persians: Herodotus
  • (4.36.2-45) on the Geography of Asia”
  • Vesta Sarkhosh Curtis: “From Mithradat I (c. 171-138 BCE) to Mithradat II (c. 122/1-91
  • BCE): the Formation of Arsacid Parthian Iconography”
  • D.T. Potts and R.P. Adams: “The Elymaean bratus: A Contribution to the Phytohistory of
  • Arsacid Iran”
  • Vito Messina and Jafar Mehr Kian: “Anthrosol Detection in the Plain of Izeh”
  • Rémy Boucharlat: “Some Remarks on the Monumental Parthian Tombs of Gelālak and Susa”
  • Edward J. Keall: “Power Fluctuations in Parthian Government: Some Case Examples”
  • Bruno Genito: “Hellenistic Impact on the Iranian and Central Asian Cultures: The Historical Contribution and the Archaeological Evidence.”
  • Pierfrancesco Callieri: “A Fountain of Sasanian Age from Ardashir Khwarrah”
  • Behzad Mofidi-Nasrabadi: “The Gravity of New City Formations: Change in Settlement Patterns Caused by the Foundation of Gondishapur and Eyvan-e Karkheh”
  • St John Simpson: “The Land behind Rishahr: Sasanian Funerary Practices on the Bushehr Peninsula”
  • Barbara Kaim: “Playing in the Temple: A Board Game Found at Mele Hairam, Turkmenistan”
  • Eberhard W. Sauer, Hamid Omrani Rekavandi, Jebrael Nokandeh and Davit Naskidashvili: “The Great Walls of the Gorgan Plain Explored via Drone Photography”
  • Jens Kröger: “The Berlin Bottle with Water Birds and Palmette Trees”
  • Carlo G. Cereti: “Once more on the Bandiān Inscriptions”
  • Gabriele Puschnigg: “East and West: Some Remarks on Intersections in the Ceramic Repertoires of Central Asia and Western Iran”
  • Matteo Compareti: ““Persian Textiles” in the Biography of He Chou: Iranian Exotica in Sui-Tang China”
  • Ritvik Balvally, Virag Sontakke, Shantanu Vaidya and Shrikant Ganvir: “Sasanian Contacts with the Vakatakas’ Realm with Special Reference to Nagardhan”
  • Antonio Panaino: “The Ritual Drama of the High Priest Kirdēr”
  • Touraj Daryaee: “Khusrow Parwēz and Alexander the Great: An Episode of imitatio Alexandri by a Sasanian King”
  • Maria Vittoria Fontana: “Do You Not Consider How Allāh … Made the Sun a Burning Lamp?”
  • Jonathan Kemp and John Hughes: “Analysis of Two Mortar Samples from the Ruined Site of a Sasanian Palace and Il-Khānid Caravanserai, Bisotun, Iran”

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.