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The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies

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CAIS is a cultural body founded in 1998, to promote scholarship and

research in all aspects of pre-Islamic Iranian Civilization



The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies (CAIS) is an independent not-for-profit educational programme, with no affiliation to any political or religious group dedicated to the research, protection, preservation of the pre-Islamic Iranian civilisation.


CAIS was established in 1998 by Shapour Suren-Pahlav and Oric Basirov (Department of Art and Archaeology), under the name of "Ancient Iranian Civilisation at the School of Oriental and African Studies" (AIC at SOAS) and later changed to "The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies" (CAIS at SOAS) of the University of London, to act as a forum for the exchange of information about the art, archaeology, culture and civilisation of Iranian peoples. CAIS no longer has any affiliation with SOAS.


The mission of the Circle  is to expand understanding and appreciation of pre-Islamic Iranian heritage as achieved through systematic investigation of the archaeological and historical records. 


The Circle seeks to promote and increase the existing body of knowledge relating to this important area, laying particular emphasis on providing up-to-date information to students, academics and cultural enthusiasts about current Iranian and international research projects and fieldworks.


Although, the Circle's title is about Ancient Iran, it also focuses on the early-Islamic era (as CAIS labels it the "Post-Sasanian period" or Farā-Sāsānī in Persian) of the Iranian art, archaeology, culture, history and languages of the area known as the "Greater Iran", stretching from the Western China to Near East and from the Russian Steppes to southern territories of the Persian Gulf.


The Circle's activities:

- Providing a "free access" website containing scholarly written articles and researches about the ancient Iranian civilisation.

- Daily Newsletter about the latest archaeological discoveries and related news from the Iranian world

- Hosting weekly lectures by scholar's of international reputes.

- Promoting the exchange of information regarding Ancient Iran by means of diverse activities of cultural and scholarly merit in culture    and civilisation of the Ancient Iranian Peoples, by forging ties with a number of major institutions throughout the United Kingdom and international educational and cultural establishments.

- Reporting on recently-completed or on-going fieldwork and new research.

- Weekly workshops for desirous and students.





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"History is the Light on the Path to Future"


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Encyclopaedia Iranica

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The British Institute of Persian Studies

"Persepolis Reconstructed"

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The British Museum

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Asiatic Society

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