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: Dr. Michael Brown, Ph.D.
Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
Zentrum für Altertumswissenschaften
Institut für Ur- und Frühgeschichte und Vorderasiatische Archäologie
Subject Area: Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies
Term: since 2019
Project identifier: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) - Projekt number 423891597

Project Description

This project will explore settlement and society in the central Zagros highlands of Kurdistan during the Parthian period (c. 148 BC – AD 226). Our knowledge of Parthian archaeology and history remains markedly incomplete, despite its evident significance as the longest lasting dominion in the Ancient Near East. The proposed research will provide the first detailed account of settlement within this mountainous region, which has always played an important role in structuring east-west interactions.The main component of the project will be an archaeological survey in the highlands of Iranian-Kurdistan, involving a combination of remote sensing, field survey and artefact analysis. Particular attention will be paid to the relationship between settled agricultural communities and semi-nomadic pastoralists. Analysis of ancient texts alongside archaeological and environmental data will help situate highland settlement within its wider geographical and historical contexts. Furthermore, survey in western Iran will be complemented by fieldwork at Rabana-Merquly, a large Parthian era fortress c. 25 km across the border in Iraqi-Kurdistan. These 2000-year-old ruins are remarkably preserved with many buildings visible on the surface. Extensive augmentation of natural terrain involved in the construction of these fortifications represents an anthropogenic extension of Mt. Piramagrun, which enhanced the defensive function of the western Zagros in protecting the Persian interior from invasion. It is hypothesised that regulation of passage through the mountains, by the fortress at Rabana-Merquly, will be reflected in contemporary patterns of settlement within the adjoining Iranian survey area. The influence of these overland routes upon highland populations will, in turn, provide an indication as to their connectivity, or otherwise, in relation to the wider Parthian Empire.Through complementary fieldwork on both sides of the Iran-Iraq border, this project is uniquely placed to address a disjuncture in scholarship, which currently hinders holistic reconstruction of ancient settlement landscapes across the Zagros Mountains. The overall objective is to comprehensively explore a highland domain of the Parthian Empire at the intersection of strategic communications between Mesopotamia and Persia. While the primary focus of the project will be on the Parthian period, survey data collected in Iran will provide information on longue durée settlement trends, thereby creating opportunities for further research.