DFG-SPP 2176: The Iranian highlands: Resiliencies and integration in pre-modern societies

+++ Funding for Iranian researchers available +++

The Iranian-German project 'The Iranian Highlands: Resilience and Integration of Premodern Societies' is a consortium of projects geared towards the elucidation of long-term developments in the Iranian Highlands.

We invite Iranian researchers (PhD; connection with an Iranian university or research Institute) to submit proposals for projects of one year in duration that can contribute to the goals of the program.

The deadline for submission is the 25th of February, 2020. Applications should consist of a brief project description (max. 2500 words) including project goals, methods to be applied, schedule and a budget (not exceeding 4.000 Euro). Proposals must be submitted in English.

Please send the application in electronic form to the following email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The scientific board of the "Iranian Highlands" project, consisting of three Iranian and three German scholars, will review the applications and announce results by March 14, 2020.

Further information

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.

Applicants: Professor Dr. Reinhard Bernbeck
Freie Universität Berlin
Institut für Vorderasiatische Archäologie
Professorin Dr. Susan Pollock
Freie Universität Berlin
Institut für Vorderasiatische Archäologie
Subject Area: Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies
Term: since 2019
Project identifier: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) - Projekt number 424609853

Project Description

Iranian excavations in 2006-2011 at the late 4th mill. BCE site of Tappeh Sofalin in the Varamin Plain of north-central Iran recovered numerous artifacts of a complex accounting system, including inscribed clay tablets, sealings, and seals dating to the Proto-Elamite period. Unlike neighboring Mesopotamia, where a similar administrative system was associated with the emergence of large urban centers, the appearance of Proto-Elamite administrative artifacts across the central plateau of Iran was accompanied by an overall decline in settlement and only modest increases in the sizes of the largest sites. A number of scholars have postulated that these settlement patterns attest to the fundamental role of pastoral nomadism in the development of complex societies in highland Iran.In this project, we re-examine mobility as an important factor in settlement and economic patterns of the 4th mill. BCE. In contrast to the nomadism thesis, we reconsider evidence for long-term patterns of mobility, examining their connections to a highly dynamic natural environment in the Varamin Plain. The project investigates the changing strategies used by 4th mill. societies to make a living in the context of challenging natural circumstances. We posit that varying rhythms, frequencies, and forms of social and economic mobility were crucial elements of resilience in this region.