Current Trends in Scholarship Regarding Achaemenid Material and Visual Culture

Recorded: April 12, 2023
Event: Achaemenid Workshop 1
Citation: Dusinberre, Elspeth. "Current Trends in Scholarship Regarding Achaemenid Material and Visual Culture." Pourdavoud Center: Achaemenid Workshop 1 (April 12, 2023).

by Elspeth Dusinberre (University of Colorado - Boulder)

The past two decades have seen an explosion of work on Achaemenid material and visual culture. New excavations and surveys at sites across the empire provide exciting new information, even as ongoing study of material discovered earlier offers fresh insights and ideas. Recent synthesizing studies have considered larger geographical areas as well as broader human interest issues. Among other subjects, scholarship has investigated landscapes and movement, power structures, gender, religion, imperial domination and resistance, and the knotty question(s) of identity. Communication of ideas and behaviors both within the empire and with peoples not under imperial hegemony has been of ongoing scholarly interest. The agency of non-elite individuals and groups, as well as the variety of their responses and actions in the context of imperial reality, have taken on a greater role in scholarship. With so many trends moving concurrently, this is a particularly rewarding time to engage with Achaemenid material and visual culture studies.

About the Speaker

Elspeth Dusinberre is Professor of Distinction in the Classics Department at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is interested in cultural interactions in Anatolia, particularly in the ways in which the Achaemenid empire affected local social structures and in the give-and-take between Achaemenid and other cultures. She is the author of Aspects of Empire in Achaemenid Sardis(Cambridge 2003), Gordion Seals and Sealings: Individuals and Society (Philadelphia 2005), Empire, Authority, and Autonomy in Achaemenid Anatolia (Cambridge 2013, recognized by the James R. Wiseman Award from the Archaeological Institute of America in 2015), and The Gordion Excavations, 1950-1973: Final Reports Volume II The Lesser Phrygian Tumuli Part II: The Cremations (Philadelphia 2023, co-authored with Ellen Kohler†). Most of her recent work focuses on pre-Achaemenid Gordion. Her articles have appeared in various venues, including the American Journal of Archaeology, Ars Orientalis, the Annals of the American Schools of Oriental Research, the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, and Anatolian Studies. She is currently finalizing publication of the seal impressions on the Aramaic tablets of the Persepolis Fortification Archive (ca. 500 BCE) and beginning study of the Early Phrygian destruction level at Gordion (ca. 800 BCE). She has worked at Sardis, Gordion, and Kerkenes Dağ in Türkiye, as well as at sites elsewhere in the eastern Mediterranean. Professor Dusinberre teaches primarily Greek and Near Eastern archaeology at CU-Boulder. She is a President’s Teaching Scholar and has been awarded twelve University of Colorado teaching awards.