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Announcement: The Institute of Persepolis-Pasargadae Studies


22 May 2002




LONDON, (CAIS) -- (BONYAD-E PAZHOUHESH-E PARSE-PASARGADEA) It is with great satisfaction that we announce to the scholarly world the re-establishment of an institute at Persepolis devoted to the promotion of studies in Achaemenid history, art and archaeology as well as to the preservation of the Achaemenid Persia's heritage. As is known, A.Shapur Shahbazi ( had founded the Institute of Achaemenid Research at Persepolis in 1973. It brought together all forms of research about Persepolis and related subjects: excavations, restorations, maintenance, and publications of scholarly works. In the five years of its existence, the Institute published eight books about Persepolis (in four languages), and Naqsh-e Rostam, and was about to distribute an updated and fully annotated version of Peter Julius Junge's Dareios I. Koening der Perser. It collected a rich library specialized in ancient Iranian studies with particular attention to Achaemenid subjects, from which many students and scholars benefitted substantially. The Institute also played host to a large number of scholars, among them David Stronach, G. G. Cameron, W. Lenzte, A.D. H. Bivar, Edith Porade and Fr. Krefter. The late G. Tilia and Peter Calmeyer as well as H. von Gall were at home there, and Michael Roaf was a guest researcher at the site for a long time. With the departure of the founder early in 1979, the Institute was abolished. 


Since then, the field of Accumbent research has grown substantially and the need for the re-establishment of that institute has become apparent to scholars and officials alike. Several scholarly gatherings in Europe and USA have produced eleven volumes of Achaemenid History, which contain valuable studies (particularly by Peter Calmeyer, Mark Garrison and Margaret C. Root), and many other scholarly contributions to the study of the Achaemenid archaeology in general and Persepolis in particular, have enriched our information about those topics and have shed lights on various controversial details and substantial problems which could not be tackled in 1976. Among these contributions we may instance David Storonach's Pasargadae (Oxford 1978), A. B. Tilia's Studies and Restorations at Persepolis and other Sites (Rome 1978), Michael Roaf's Sculptures and Sculptors at Persepolis (Iran XXI, 1983), John Boardman's Persia and the West (London 2000) and Margaret C. Millers's Athens and Persia in the fifth century BC, (Cambridge 1997) as well as many articles in Iran by J. Curtis and P. R. S. Moorey and in Archaeologische Mitteilungen aus Iran by W. Kleiss, Peter Calmeyer, Huberus von Gall and A. Shapur Shahbazi. The last-named scholar has incorporated the results of these research into his revised version of Persepolis Illustrated, which had originally appeared in Tehran 1n 1976 and served as the authoritative guide to Persepolis. In the meantime, the Iranian Organization of Cultural Heritage (Sazeman-e Mirath-e Farhangi) has endeavored to prepare the way for the establishment of a research center for every major archaeological site, such as Chogha Zanbil, Bisotun, Pasargadae, Hamadan (Ecbatana), Susa, Persepolis, Bishapur, Firuzabad and Bam. It has gathered scientific data and used the finest and most recent geophysical and photographic methods to investigate and map the sites and collect relevant data on them. Towards this goal, and as far as Persepolis and Pasargadae are concerned, the following measures have been undertaken. 


1. Pasargadae and Persepolis have been recognized by the UNESCO as "World Heritage" Sites" and received protection and promises of support from international scholarly institutions. A major international plan of research, called THE PASARGADAE-PERSEPOLIS PROJECT, is undertaken to provide venues of further investigations. For this reason, the former Institute of Achaemenid Research is being re-established (with the same logo) but on a much larger scale and with much more autonomy and financial provisions. It is now called The Institute of Persepolis-Pasargadea Studies (BONYAD-E PAZHOUHESH-E PARSE_PASARGADEA)l It will be housed on the Persepolis platform, under the directorship of Mr. Mohammad Hasan Talebian (who has been supervising operations at Hafdt Tape, Chogha Zanbil and Persepolis). A. Shapur Shahbazi serves as Scientific and Cultural Advisor to the Director. All inquiries should be addressed to: Director, "Projhe Parse-Pasargad ," Takht-e Jamshid, Fars, Iran.The Director could also be reached by e-mail: Mohammad Hassan Talebian <


2. In the National Museum of Iran , Tehran, a spacious area has been designated as "the Inscription Hall" and allocated to the housing of the Persepolis Elamite Tablets and related texts. Under the supervision of Dr. Majid Arfaee, who worked for years with Professor R. T. Hallock, this collection is intended to gather and scientifically maintain all the Elamite texts of Persepolis, and facilitate the completion of their reading and interpretation. It is our earnest hope that in this endeavor we shall receive scholarly help from such experts as Professors Matthew W. Stolper, Mark Garrison, Margaret C. Root and Heidemarie Koch. 


3. The institute established as The Parse-Pasargadae Project will preserve and publicize the Achaemenid Persia's heritage with the following measures: 


i. An Internet site will be established to coordinated all details related to the institute, and to serve as a link with the scholarly world and interested public. It will have a catalogue of the library holding at Persepolis, a catalogue of the slide and photo archive at Persepolis, addresses of scholars, museums and institutions who are active in the Achaemenid studies, and it will have a page for questions and answers. 


ii. The enlargement of Persepolis Library. Already, some 300 additional titles on ancient Persian topics have been purchased and are on their way to the library. This addition would bring the library up to date and make it a major center of research for those who are studying at Persepolis or Pasargadae or related sites. We urgently appeal to publishers and scholars to send copies of their work (books, slides, articles, paintings, etc.) on Iranian antiquities to the Persepolis Library. 


iii. A " Persepolis Documentary Archive" is being created for housing good slides and photographs of every known Achaemenid monument, reliefs and artifacts. We appeal to Museums, libraries and scholars to help us in this undertaking , which, it is hoped, would greatly facilitate the study of Persian antiquities. This project had started by G. Tilia in 1971 and continued to be enriched till 1978. It was, however, neglected and scattered later. Already we have the good news that Professor A. Shapur Shahbazi will be donating his very rich collection of some 3600 colored slides to Persepolis Archive. Given his expertise and long years of service, this treasure should go a long way in creating a resource center for the documentary aspects of Persepolitan studies. 


iv. The perimeters of the sites will be firmly established and legal means will be employed for keeping them free from encroachments of urbanization and unauthorized excavations. In the area west of Persepolis, the "State tents" will be converted to or replaced by facilities necessary for visitors: a medical center, a book store, a recreation park, a few residences for guards and guest scholars, and an audio-visual center. Further to the west, the old Darius Hotel will be restored and refurbished for visitors and scholarly gatherings. 


v. Studies and restoration of the monuments will be conducted on the sites with the help of Iranian and non-Iranian experts, using the procedures established by the former Irano-Italian restoration team headed by the late G. Tilia. 


vi. After careful examinations, excavations will be undertaken at sites which promise to reveal important clues for the illumination of remaining problems in Achaemenid art and archaeology.


vii. The Persepolis and Pasargadae Museums will be refurbished, and catalogues of the holdings prepared. Also, attempts will be made to devote some space to the papers and picture of those who have worked at these sites, such as Ernst Herzfeld, Erich F. Schmidt, Ali Sami and others. 


viii. The new institute will welcome scholarly projects by professors and students, both Iranian and foreign, who want to study Achaemenid studies. It shall facilitate their progress by providing a place to stay and access to the library and archive. Stipends are not planned as yet, but it is hoped that other institutions would collaborate and help financially.


ix. The new institute will host, from time to time, scholarly gathering s of experts in the field of Accumbent studies with particular attention to those dealing directly with Persepolis, Pasargadae and Achaemenid tombs. Because our means are limited, we strongly appeal for help and co-operation to all interested museums, universities and interested institutions. x. The new institute welcomes scholarly contributions by the experts with the hope of resuming publications of its own. Its first publication, Persepolis: The Authoritative Guide by A. Shapur Shahbazi, is planned for August 2002. This incorporates the results of studies which have appeared since 1976, and it also fully documents details of the art and architecture in some 150 color illustrations as well as supplying a rich bibliography. The book is being published by Markaz-e Sanaye Farhangi-ye Iran (The Center for Cultural Productions of Iran) with the approval of the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization. The expected date of release is August 2002. We pay homage to the scholars who have advanced our understanding of the Achaemenid studies, in particular to Peter Calmeyer, A. B. Tilia, Carl Nylander, Matthew W. Stolper, W. Kleiss, Hubertus von Gall, Walter Hinz, Rudiger Schmitt, Margaret C. Root, Paul Bernard, M. Roaf, F. Vallat, E. Stern, R. Boucharlat, D. Stronach, Bernard Goldman, Amélie Kuhrt, , John Curtis, Heidemarie Koch, P. R. S. Moorey, Judith Lerner, John Boardman, Clarrise Herrenschmidt, and last but by no means least, Mark B. Garrison. The Institute is very much interested in the co-operation of these scholars and would very much like to be able to publish collected works by them. 


This is just a beginning. We hope that with the help of God and colleague we succeed in our duties and undertakings. 




S. Mohammad Beheshti, Director, Organization of Cultural Heritage

Mohammad Hasan Talebian, Director, "Parse-Pasargae Project"







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