What is this project’s purpose ?

The first urban centres appeared in Iran in the 4th and 3rd millennia BC, contemporaneously with the Sumerian civilization in Mesopotamia and the Indus civilization in Pakistan / India. On the southern Iranian plateau, this development was evidenced by the appearance of a Proto-Elamite city at Tal-i Malyan, in Fars province near the Achaemenid capital of Persepolis, and by the establishment of Konar Sandal, one of the main centers of the ancient State of Marhashi, in the Halil Rud valley of Kerman province.

Separated by 550 kilometers, the early to mid-3rd millennium cities at Malyan and Konar Sandal are represented by very different material cultures, showing the existence of an archaeological frontier between these areas. This frontier was apparently also political, with the presence in Southern Iran, as the late 3rd millennium BC Mesopotamian cuneiform texts confirm, of the contemporary States of Anshan and Marhashi.

Archaeologically, this frontier area is little explored and poorly known. Indeed, it currently represents one of the major voids in the Iranian archaeological map. Following our initial investigations in Eastern Fars in June 2015, in the Forg valley, where 5th and 3rd millennium BC remains were recognized, this project will extend archaeological exploration in Eastern Fars through a program combining regional surveys and stratigraphic excavations in strategically located sites.

Who will do it ?

I will be responsible for the organizing and carrying out this project, in conjunction with an Iranian co-director who will be appointed by the Iranian Center for Archaeological Research (ICAR) once funding for the research has been obtained. In addition to the project’s co-directors, a number of European and Iranian students will also take part to this project.

When will it be done ?

Following our preliminary reconnaissance of the valleys of Fasa, Darab and Forg in June 2015, the next step will be to expand our survey to other areas of Eastern Fars, such as the Kuydar (27°27’44” N; 55°25’24” E) or Shahnar (28°01’39” N; 55°05’40” E) valleys. If the necessary funds are obtained, a first survey campaign will take place during the winter of 2016-2017.

How the money will be exactly used ?

This is a ‘classic’ archaeological project, where a program of initial surveys will lead to the selection of a specific site that will be excavated through both stratigraphic soundings and broad areal exposures. Some of the expenses for this project are detailed here.

Our survey campaign will involve 5 to 10 persons working for 1 month.  In total, wages for the field crew, the cost of food and lodging, renting a vehicle, and hiring a person to process and draw the ceramics found during the survey, should cost from 5000 to 10000 euros.