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DFG - SPP 2176 - Iranian Highlands - Resiliences and Integration in Premodern Societies: The unexplored Heartland: Institutional Landscapes and Networks in Eastern Fārs

Nov 01, 2019 — Oct 31, 2022

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 Fasā and Dārāb 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.

Institution: Institut für Altorientalistik / Institute for Ancient Near Eastern Studies
Project Management: Dr. Wouter Henkelman, Prof. Dr. Eva Cancik-Kirschbaum
Funded by: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
Duration: 2019-11-01 - 2022-10-31