Fellow Program 2021

The Iranian-German DFG Priority Program (SPP 2176) 'The Iranian Highlands: Resilience and Integration of Premodern Societies' invites applications for a new Fellow Program in 2021. This fellowship supports short-term research visits for young researchers (early career researchers) at universities or institutions that are associated with the SPP 2176.
The SPP 2176 is an interdisciplinary research program focusing on expressions of resilience in premodern Iranian Highland communities, their environment and long-term developments in the Iranian Highlands. It is represented by 12 individual projects employing archaeology, inorganic and organic archaeometry, geo-sciences, ancient history, Near Eastern studies and linguistic research. Key research areas are: i) Landscapes and raw material regimes; ii) Daily life and institution; iii) Mobility and networks.
We invite researchers and particularly Iranian young researchers to submit proposals for the Fellow Program 2021 to carry out their own research in cooperation with a university or institution that is associated with the SPP 2176. Young researchers can apply for the funds by submitting separate applications for travel cost and research expenses. For both forms of applications (travel and research) the agreement of the respective institution is required. In addition to the fellowship, a family allowance for parents with young children can be granted. Due to the current situation the program will additionally support successful applicants in mandatory measures related to Covid-19 when necessary. The following average rates can be considered as a guideline for the Fellow Program:


Travel costs / fellows from Iran: up to € 800,-
Travel costs / fellows from Europe: up to € 500,-
Travel costs / fellows from Overseas other than Iran: up to € 1000,-
Research grants for Iranian scientists: up to € 2500,-
Family Allowance: up to € 800,-


Applications should consist of a brief project description (max. 700 words) including project goals, applied methods, a research schedule, a feasible and detailed budget plan and a commitment from the host university or institution for research and/or travel costs.
The Fellow Program supports any kind of research activity (e.g. archaeological, laboratory or archival research, museum studies, or workshop or conference contributions) but proposals have to relate to at least one of the listed key research areas; proposals must be submitted in English.
The deadline for submission is 15. November 2020. Proposals submitted after the deadline and proposals that do not meet the above listed requirements will not be considered.
Successful applicants will be notified in January 2021.


Please send your application to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


For details of the program, please check https://iranhighlands.com/index.php/en/ or https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/402379177?language=en 
For questions, the committee of the grants program is at your disposal: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


*** Please note that 'The Iranian Highlands' Fellow Program also includes opportunities for Senior and Junior Fellows starting in late 2021. ***

Applicant: Professor Dr. Stefan R. Hauser
Universität Konstanz
Fach Geschichte
Professur für Archäologie der altmediterranen und vorderasiatischen Kulturen
Subject Area: Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies
Term: since 2019
Project identifier: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) - Projekt number 424639275

Project Description

The south-western Iranian province of Fars is known as the origin of the two Persian empires of the Achaemenids and Sasanians. But in defiance of the long-standing interest in their history and in the light of limited archaeological research, the history of the wider Fars region even in those periods is only partially understood. Particularly in western Fars settlement dynamics and changes in the social structure are difficult to reconstruct. Current debates concern the role of nomads in the region’s history and differences between Arsacid and Sasanian as well as Sasanian and early Islamic rule and material culture, which appears ambiguous. The proposed project on the Bozpar valley in western Fars attempts to contribute meaningful to these questions.Bozpar is a small, secluded valley in the Zagros mountains (Bushehr province). While Herzfeld documented Sasanian monuments in the neighboring Sar Mashhad plain in 1924, Bozpar valley was first visited in 1961. Vanden Berghe noticed numerous ruins and reported a (post-)Achaemenid tomb, related to Cyros’ II tomb in Pasargadae, and ruins of two late Sasanian (or early Islamic) representative buildings (Kushk-e Bala and Kushk-e Ardashir). Recently, Askari Chaverdi (2014) indicated four additional sites which he dated to post-Achaemenid times. Still, satellite images reveal a number of ancient settlements and extensive water management features, notably 25 km of canals and qanat. Moreover, many of them appear to belong to Kushk-e Bala, a near palatial complex.A micro-regional study which combines survey, geophysical work, architectural analysis and target-oriented excavations offers excellent perspectives for(1) a detailed reconstruction of the valley’s history, land organization and water management through the ages with wider implications for transformation processes across Fars. Traces of nomadic activities might contribute to the current controversy about the role of transhumancy in the wider area in (pre-)historic times. The spatial relationship between several tepe and their relation to water resources might allow to model land-use by smaller communities, mostly in (post-)Achaemenid times.(2) Special emphasis is placed on the Sasanian/early Islamic period. The presence of monumental structures seems contemporary to a realignment of the valley’s irrigation system. This suggest a fundamental transformation of land ownership and land use, i.e., changes in its resource regime and of social institutions, probably as part of a political and social restructuring of large parts of the Sasanian Empire. The complex of Kushk-e Bala could thus be the first archaeological example for a country residence of a dehghan, the landed gentry, which in the 6th century became the backbone of Sasanian authority. Therefore, the Bozpar valley micro-study on resilience and social change could have intense repercussions for the historical description of Fars, and the poorly researched Western Fars region in particular.