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The Archaeology of Politics in the Highlands of Persia

Author(s): Tobin Hartnell

Year: 2015

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Summary

The case of the Neo-Elamite highlands is significant for understanding more about the potential of archaeology to reconstruct elements of political history through politicized landscapes. This project is particularly important in ancient Iran, which did not create the types of literary genres or historical narratives found in Mesopotamian or Greco-Roman civilizations. For archaeologists studying the Elamite dynasties and the early Achaemenid Empire, the central problem is the absence of significant traces of settlement in the Persian highlands during the late Neo-Elamite (750-550 BC) period, accompanied by an almost complete absence of indigenous texts. Some scholars emphasized disruptions to local Elamite society after 1000 BC, whilst others emphasized the continuity observed in certain forms of material culture and a sub-set of settlements. However, both of these approaches need to reconcile the evidence to a larger problem of what continuity to the Achaemenid Empire actually meant for highland society at large. Without large numbers of sites or texts, archaeologists must rely on the analysis of the political and economic dimensions of the landscape in order to investigate this transition. This project seeks to contribute to a larger discussion of how studying landscapes can help archaeologists understand political trends in Iran and elsewhere.

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The Archaeology of Politics in the Highlands of Persia. Tobin Hartnell. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 398019)


Keywords


Spatial Coverage

min long: 25.225; min lat: 15.115 ; max long: 66.709; max lat: 45.583 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America