The Archaeology of Achaemenid Iran: A Glance at Recent Developments and Studies

Recorded: April 12, 2023
Event: Achaemenid Workshop 1
Citation: Mousavi, Ali. "The Archaeology of Achaemenid Iran: A Glance at Recent Developments and Studies." Pourdavoud Center: Achaemenid Workshop 1 (April 12, 2023).

by Ali Mousavi (University of California, Los Angeles)

A glance at the considerable number of studies focused on the Achaemenid empire in the past decades reveals the everlasting popularity of this period in the history of Iranian archaeology. Increasing archaeological field activities conducted in Iran in recent years have contributed to the enrichment of the archaeological record for this period. Published (as well as unpublished) results of excavations and surveys denote a wide array of evidence, including revisions and re-excavations of major sites such as Pasargadae, the discovery of new sites and structures, regional surveys, and the study of artifacts and ecofacts. Recent academic forays that combine a wider scope of archaeological methods and tools with broader and more interconnected research questions have revealed a complex and resourceful spatial organization adopted under the Achaemenid kings in the central regions of the empire. This paper will provide a reassessment of the major recent archaeological fieldwork and discoveries in Iran in the past twenty years.

About the Speaker

Ali Mousavi is a Senior Pourdavoud Research Scholar and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Iranian Archaeology in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles. He completed his BA in Art History and his MA in Archaeology from the University of Lyon, France. He obtained his PhD in Near Eastern Archaeology from the University of California, Berkeley. He has excavated in France, Turkey, and Iran, and contributed to the inclusion of a number of archaeological sites and monuments on the World Heritage List of the UNESCO. He is the author of Persepolis: Discovery and Afterlife of a World Wonder (de Gruyter 2012), and co- editor of Ancient Iran from the Air (Philippe von Zabern 2012) and Excavating an Empire (Mazda Publishers 2014). He holds a particular interest in the archaeology of Iranian empires, from the Achaemenids to the Sasanians, as well as the history of archaeology in Iran and the Near East. He worked as a curator of Ancient Near Eastern Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from 2006 to 2013. He teaches Iranian art and archaeology at UCLA and serves as the director of the UCLA Archaeological Gazetteer of Iran at the Pourdavoud Center.