Achaemenid Religious Monuments: An Archaeological Perspective

Recorded: February 19, 2020
Event: Contextualizing Iranian Religions in the Ancient World - 14th Melammu Symposium
Citation: Mousavi, Ali. "Achaemenid Religious Monuments: An Archaeological Perspective," Contextualizing Iranian Religions in the Ancient World - 14th Melammu Symposium. February 19, 2020.

by Ali Mousavi (University of California, Los Angeles)

Achaemenid Religious Monuments: An Archaeological Perspective

Much has been written on the religions of the Achaemenid empire, but scholarship centered on the physical places of worship and the practice of religious rites within those spaces is either scarce or embedded in discussions of other topics. In absence of temples, certain monumental structures of unknown function have been identified as loci for religious ceremonies. This presentation reviews those Achaemenid structures and their possible religious purpose in light of new studies and excavations at sites, such as Pasargadae, Persepolis, and Naqš-e Rostam, and will attempt at elucidating the complexity of Achaemenid royal monuments, some which have so far defied all possible interpretations.

About the Speaker

Ali Mousavi was born and raised in Iran. He studied in Lyon, France, and took his B.A. in Art History, and his M.A. in Archaeology, from the University of Lyon, France. He obtained his Ph.D. in archaeology of the ancient Near East from the University of California, Berkeley. He excavated in France, Turkey, and Iran, and contributed to the nomination of a number of archaeological sites and monuments for inscription on the World Heritage List of UNESCO. He is the author of a book on the site of Persepolis (Persepolis: Discovery and Afterlife of a World Wonder), co-editor of the book Ancient Iran from the Air, and a number of scholarly articles. He worked as an Assistant Curator of Ancient Near Eastern Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from 2006 to 2013. He teaches art and archaeology of ancient Iran at UCLA. He is the director of the Pasargadae Archaeological Excavations.