The Iranian Highlands:

Resiliences and Integration in Pre-modern Societies

A cooperation among the DFG, RICHT/ICAR and MCTH
Funded in the framework of the DFG-SPP 2176

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The unexplored heartland: institutional landscapes and networks in eastern Fārs Phase 1: Building an archaeological and philological inventory

Applicants: Professor Dr. Wouter Henkelman
Freie Universität Berlin
Institut für Altorientalistik
Dr. Kai Kaniuth
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Fakultät für Kulturwissenschaften
Institut für Vorderasiatische Archäologie
Subject Area: Egyptology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies
Ancient History
Term: since 2019
Project identifier: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) - Projekt number 424380776

Project Description

In contrast to the intensively-surveyed western Fārs region, with its settlement clusters in the area of the modern city of Shiraz, the eastern part of the province has hitherto received much less attention. This is true for the available historical documentation as well as for the settlement history in pre-Islamic times. Particularly the critical evaluation of texts from the Achaemenid era (the Persepolis Fortification Archive) testifies to the importance of the area for this first Iranian empire.The aim of the project is to compare the pre-Islamic land use patterns of the valleys of Fasâ and Dârâb with the economically and politically integrated landscapes of the early empires. This will be done through a combination of philological and archaeological methods.Against the background of the natural conditions (availability of resources, hydrology, the potential of natural and artificial irrigation regimes), data gathered in earlier surveys from the 1930s to the 2000s will be systematized. This will be done in close cooperation with Iranian colleagues. The results will then be supplemented by original data collected in the field. Secondly, available textual sources for the Achaemenid and Sasanian periods will be critically analysed in order to describe 'institutional landscapes'. These, in turn, will be confronted with the archaeological data.The resulting set of data will be unique in its diachronic perspective. As it will include data on earlier and later periods, it will provide a wide context to test the hypothesis of systematic attitudes in the political and administrative traditions of Achaemenid and Sasanian Iran. Both in its central research question as well as in its specific historical-archaeological approach the project opens new avenues in the study of the Iranian plateau.