In 1964 the Centro Ricerche Archeologiche e Scavi di Torino per il Medio Oriente e l’Asia started field research at Seleucia on the Tigris, the Babylonian capital of Seleucid Asia, built in an area where other important capitals such as Parthian Ctesiphon and Sasanian Veh Ardashir were founded, and which is still called in Arabic al- Madā’in (the cities). The city, founded at the end of the 4th century BC, appears to have been the main centre of inner Asia in the Seleucid period and maintained its pivotal role even during the Parthian age (half of the 2nd century BC – beginning of the 3rd century AD), being progressively abandoned from the last quarter of the 2nd century AD, for the nearby bourg of Ctesiphon, grown in importance in the AD centuries as the Parthian capital of the region. Afterwards, during the reign of Ardashir I (AD 224-241), the new Sasanian capital, Veh Ardashir (Coche), vied with Ctesiphon for regional dominance and finally prevailed.
- Michael Alram: “The Numismatic Legacy of the Sasanians in the East”
- Matthew P. Canepa and Johnathan W. Hardy: “Persian Palace Architecture, Garden Design and Digital Archaeology”
- Touraj Daryaee: “The Tripartite Sasanian Vision of the World”
- Antonio Panaino: “Books without Ritual – Ritual without Books”
- Giusto Traina: “The Rise of the Sasanians”
- Yuhan Sohrab-Dinshaw Vevaina: “A Father, a Daughter, and a Son-in-Law in Zoroastrian Hermeneutics”
- Arash Zeini: “The King in the Mirror of the Zand“
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
Shobairi, Seyed Abazar. 2018. Beyond the Palace: Some Perspective on Agriculture and Irrigation Systems in the Achaemenid Heartland. In Barbara Horejs et al (eds.), Proceedings of the 10th International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East, Vol. 2 (Prehistoric and Historical Landscapes & Settlement Patterns), 149-162. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag.
The Achaemenid heartland (Parsa and Pasargadae Plains) is one of the most vital areas in southwestern Iran. These wide regions are watery and have rich lands suitable for farming. Most likely, the formation of the Achaemenid capitals, Pasargadae and Persepolis, by the Sivand and Kur rivers in Fars was neither arbitrary nor did it occur suddenly. Considerable remains of large earthen channel networks branch out from these rivers and are located close to the main Achaemenid sites. In addition, existing qanat systems and the remains of several dams in the Persepolis and Pasargadae plains represent a development and progress in irrigation systems and agriculture in the Achaemenid period. It seems probable that one of the economic aims of the Achaemenids was the development of agriculture as well as increased production. Some of the Persepolis Fortification Tablets attest to the importance of rivers as well as crop farming in Achaemenid era. The broader scope of my research is to arrive at a much more substantial understanding of water supply and management practices in the Persian Achaemenid period.
Askari Chaverdi, Alireza & Pierfrancesco Callieri. 2017. Persepolis West (Fars, Iran): Report on the field work carried out by the Iranian-Italian Joint Archaeological Mission in 2008–2009 (British Archaeological Reports International Series 2870). BAR Publishing.
This book represents the final report on the field work carried out in 2008 and 2009 by the Iranian-Italian Joint Archaeological Mission at the archaeological site of Persepolis West, where parts of the town adjacent to the well-known Achaemenid monumental terrace of Persepolis have been located. The eleven trial trenches excavated in areas indicated by the results of Iranian and Iranian-French geophysical surveys represent the first stratigraphic excavations ever carried out on this site, the dating of which is supported by a rich series of radiocarbon datings. Illustration of the excavations is preceded by an accurate geophysical study of the topographical context and accompanied by a detailed and richly illustrated analysis of pottery and other finds: the safe stratigraphic context makes these finds a particularly important source of evidence for our knowledge of the ceramics of Fars during the historic pre-Islamic age. The excavations largely confirm the location of the built-up area of Parsa indicated by geophysical surveys.
Directed by Pejman Akbarzadeh
7.00pm, Thursday 1 February 2018
Russell Square WC1H 0XG
Taq Kasra: Wonder of Architecture is the first-ever documentary film on the world’s largest brickwork vault. The palace was the symbol of the Persian Empire in the Sasanian era (224-651 AD), when a major part of Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) was part of Persia. Taq Kasra was in serious danger of ISIS attacks in 2015-2016 and this was the main motivation for documentary maker Pejman Akbarzadeh, based in Holland, to travel to Iraq twice and film the arch before it was potentially destroyed. (Read more)
Watch the trailer here.
The documentary is produced by the Persian Dutch Network, in association with Toos Foundation, and partially funded by the Soudavar Memorial Foundation.
Following the screening, a Q&A session will be held with the presence of the documentary director Pejman Akbarzadeh and Vesta Sarkhosh-Curis of the British Museum, a scholar of Persian art in Sasanian and Parthian eras.
Admission Free – All Welcome
Organised by: Centre for Iranian Studies
Khries, Hashem. 2017. The Architecture of the Persian Period in the Levant. Scholar Press.
This book is a comprehensive study of the Levantine architecture in the fifth and fourth centuries B.C.E. The current book is unprecedented in its contents and the manner in which it addresses the subject since it contains all Persian-period sites in the whole Levant -as an integrated entity- that contains building remains. It also handles the Achaemenid impacts – both the direct and indirect ones- on the tradition of the Levantine architecture through conducting a descriptive, analytical and interpretative study of the buildings under consideration. Another perspective adopted here is that of functionally characterizing each excavated context, thus reaching assessments which are not only typologically based. This has resulted in a better understanding of the nature of the social, economic, political, and religious life in the entire Levant.
The waterways of ancient Iraq were crucial to its prosperity. While they were maintained, Iraq and neighbouring Khuzistan, in southwest Iran, were the richest and most productive agricultural areas of the Middle East, supporting the Sasanian, Umayyad and Abbasid empires. When the waterways changed or fell into decay, both the prosperity and the political role of Iraq largely disappeared. Understanding the course of the rivers and how they changed is therefore pivotal to understanding the history of the region. Peter Verkinderen’s important book provides the first major re-examination of the waterways of early Islamic Iraq in almost seventy years. Presenting a much fuller and more accurate picture than has previously been possible through analysis of modern satellite images, this is a work of the utmost importance, unlikely to be superseded for many years to come.
Historiography is the study of the methodology of writing history, the development of the discipline of history, and the changing interpretations of historical events in the works of individual historians. Exploring the historiography of Persian art and architecture requires a closer look at a diverse range of sources, including chronicles, historical accounts, travelogues, and material evidence coming from archaeological excavations.